How to Choose the Perfect Kentucky Derby Hat

Posted on April 9, 2019

Town & Country – March 2019

Start planning early.
Milliners say that a few die-hard Derbygoers will start planning their outfits just days after the previous Kentucky Derby. Others send the designer photos of their looks around January or February. “I get clients as early as December sometimes. There are people already getting their dresses, accessories, and everything,” says milliner Jenny Pfanensteil, who runs Formé Millinery in Louisville. “It’s a whole wardrobe, almost like planning a wedding.”

The dress comes first.

Your Derby outfit should be all about the theme. After all, if you’ve picked the perfect dress, your hat should flatter that dress, not clash with it or distract from it. “The hat is great, but it all has to flow together, it has to look good together,” milliner Kenzie Kapp of The Mill in Louisville says. “You don’t send a hat down the runway on a naked body.” Most seasoned Derby-goers will send hatmakers photos of their dresses, shoes, and accessories before even thinking about a hat design.
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