We’re welcoming Derby with a warm embrace, and because it’s just a few weeks away, we wanted to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible for Kentucky’s most fashionable events! We all know that Derby week is about the hats, but in recent years, it has become so much more. We wanted to give you the best fashion advice possible, so we solicited the expertise of our beloved stylist Shannon Kessler of Primp Style Lounge, but we also have some very special guest models — Rachel Bell and Kate Smith, a.k.a The Hat Girls! These ladies know Derby fashion inside and out, and they’re ready to help you find the ensemble that reflects your personal style. They even shared with us their expert tips for picking the perfect Derby hat.
We also turned to the fashion gurus at Work the Metal, Liv Boutique and Collections to provide today’s gorgeous Derby looks and the makeup and hair artists at Omagi Salon Spa to bring out these ladies’ natural beauty. Blooms Boutique even provided some truly beautiful Derby-themed floral arrangements. The results of all these floral, fashion and style experts’ work is simply stunning! Enjoy!
The Event: Brunch
Describe it in one word: Sophisticated
What to Wear: Louisvillians love their brunch, and when it comes to Derby week brunch, it’s just another reason to dress to the nines. Brunch will forever be the place where iconic Derby fashion thrives. No matter if you’re headed to the Mayor’s Derby Brunch on the River, eating at one of Louisville’s best restaurants for brunch or if you’ll be feasting at the track during Derby week, a conservative dress with a classic fascinator is the way to go. Here are a two perfectly Derby-esque dresses from Work the Metal with matching fascinators from The Hat Girls.
The Hat Girls‘ styling tip: These fascinators are both nice, small, lightweight options that can be worn with a headband or an elastic string, which is so comfortable, you’ll probably forget you’re wearing it.
The Event: Thurby
Describe it in one word: Fashion-forward
What to Wear: Fashion-forward clothing is the name of the game when it comes to Thurby. It’s just begun to make its way into the hearts of the locals, and it’s got a hip vibe unmatched by the other days on the track. Shannon chose to put the girls in two rompers from Collections — one with a 1920s fella-in-suspenders vibe, and the other with a whimsical, boho feel — and fascinators from The Hat Girls.
The Hat Girls‘ styling tip: We’ve noticed Thurby is a big day for fascinators. All of our fascinators are on an elastic string or designed to slide on the headband so you can wear them on either side.
The Event: Oaks
Describe it in one word: Pink
What to Wear: The girly girl side of us absolutely loves that people choose to don our most beloved color for the sake of breast cancer awareness. We love any chance to wear pink, but the fact that it’s for a great cause makes it so much sweeter. We’re partial to fascinators for Oaks, but if you want to wear the biggest, boldest pink hat you can find, we’ll be cheering you on! Here are the pretty-in-pink styles we chose for Oaks from Collections, Work the Metal and The Hat Girls.
The Hat Girls‘ styling tip: Our hand-sculpted crinoline fascinators are a great option if the weather calls for rain, as they are 100% waterproof. Also, the growing trend in Europe — and one we love — is to wear them smack dab in the middle of your head, resting forward on your forehead, like the one pictured below.
The Event: The Kentucky Derby
Describe it in one word: Iconic
What to Wear: “What’s the Derby?” Said no one. Ever. It’s where we get the best phrase to describe Kentucky, “The land of fast horses and beautiful women” — and you better not get those two things confused! For the fastest two minutes in sports, it’s time to dress like you’re ready for the Winner’s Circle. With Derby fashion taking a turn to a more modern look in recent years, we wanted to give you some ideas for different options to fit your personality and taste. Shannon chose fashion-forward jumpsuits as well as classic Derby dresses from Collections and Liv Boutique with hats from The Hat Girls. But before we dive in, we need to know: How do you pick your Derby hats?
Tip #1: If you’re getting a custom hat, get your dress first.
What The Hat Girls say: This is a question we get almost every day, and luckily there is no right answer! We would say it’s about 50/50 with our clients, but if you are getting a custom hat, we generally recommend getting the dress first. Most women are not getting a custom dress made, so when you get the dress first, that allows us to completely customize the perfect creation for your overall look. Now that we have our shop in Norton Commons, a lot more women are coming in and finding their dream hat and then going to get a dress that will match.
Tip #2: The hat should match the overall look.
What The Hat Girls say: We think it is amazing when the hat is perfectly matched to the overall look. We both have a very strong eye when it comes to color matching, and we are both perfectionists! We think this is one of our strongest attributes that will set our custom pieces apart from the rest. When you see our clients at the track, you can tell that she has really put a lot of time and thought into her entire look and gone above and beyond with her headpiece.
Tip #3: Understand what goes into custom creations.
What The Hat Girls Say: Our custom hats are one-of-a-kind creations made to match your dress, style and personality to a T. We start with a 30- to 45-minute custom appointment where we get to know the client and what they really like. We spend anywhere from 5 to 30 hours on custom creations, which is why they tend to be a little pricier than what you see in the store. We tell our clients to bring the dress if they have it already and pictures of any accessories they are considering. We are essentially styling our clients from head to toe in the custom appointment, along with designing the hat, and we discuss what accessories and shoes would go best to complete the look to perfection. Another important thing we ask the client to do before the custom appointment is to look at our website and Pinterest to get inspiration for things they do and don’t like. Seeing what a customer doesn’t like helps as much as knowing what they do like.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
- To our boutiques: Work the Metal, Liv Boutique and Collections for providing the perfect looks and accessories
- To our photographer: Christine Mueller Photography for shooting absolutely breathtaking photos
- To our stylist extraordinaire: Shannon Kessler from Primp Style Lounge for making our models look incredible
- To Omagi Salon Spa for providing hair and makeup services for this shoot
- To Blooms Boutique for providing beautiful flower arrangements
- And last, but certainly not least, to our models and hat providers, The Hat Girls, Rachel Bell and Kate Smith