Really big hats, like white gloves and corsets, are largely a thing of the past. That is, until the Kentucky Derby rolls around, and then you’ll be lucky to make your way to the bar at your favorite bistro without getting a face full of feathers and tulle.
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We’ve spotted prime derby fashion from San Fran to Brooklyn, but real tip of the hat, as always, goes to the ladies of Louisville, and their guests, at the actual event at Churchhill Downs.

This year saw the usual smattering of pastel and plenty of big, wide, floppy brims, but the real show, of course, is seeing the normally bareheaded celebrities trying on their best chapeaus.

Kim Kardashian was surprisingly reserved in her choice – a delicately folded concoction of black and white straw, merely the size of a pie plate, with a single giant ostrich feather in black on its crown. To make up for the uncharacteristic restraint, she wore the tiniest dress she could find, and mesh gloves.

LeAnn Rimes, on the other hand, went old school Derby, wearing a giant white straw hat with a wide red ribbon. Her dress was sweetly flowered and quite ladylike, but short enough to escape looking matronly.

Aretha Franklin, of course, wore whatever she damn well felt like. Her hat looked a lot like a white straw mushroom cap, but when you’re Ms. Franklin, you can wear whatever you want.

Derby watchers more interested in sartorial trends than racing horses noted that many ladies at the derby were sporting bare arms and legs. So, of course, Murphy’s Law of Fashion dictated that it had to rain.

Guess those wide-brimmed hats make practical sense after all.

Photo courtesy of Velo Steve/Flickr. Some rights reserved.