Choosing a Hat for Derby Day

It all began in 2015 when David and I decided to attend Derby Day, a fundraiser, at the University of North Alabama located in Florence, Alabama. UNA is my Alma mater and was my employer at that time. 

UNA Derby Day is such a special day filled with class, fun, and excitement. In the same spirit as the Kentucky Derby, the attendees dress to the nines in their best dresses and fanciest hats. As I prepared for the occasion, I told David, "I need a hat to match my very plain black dress." 

David replied, "I can make you one." 

I laughed. It wasn't that I questioned his abilities, but I just hadn't thought about him designing my hat. Since I was confident he knew what he was doing, I gave him full reign to do what he wanted with my hat with the preface that it needed to include red to match the red shoes I planned to don at the event.  

He worked on my hat, and the results were shocking. I think my initial response was, "That is WAY too big." He laughed, "Have you SEEN a Kentucky Derby hat? That's the point. They are crazy and outlandish." Obviously, I was a novice.  

The finished product included reeves pheasant feathers, greenery, hydrangeas and amaryllis. 

The finished product included reeves pheasant feathers, greenery, hydrangeas and amaryllis. 

If you are clueless like me, the Kentucky Derby got its beginnings in 1875. Although, elaborate hats didn't emerge until the 1960's. 

The extravagant hats that have become associated with the Kentucky Derby did not really come around until the 1960s, when social fashion norms loosened up and the presence of television gave women a reason to stand out. The hats became larger, brighter, and more extravagant.
— https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/traditions/hats

Many nice people complimented my hat and inquired on where to get their own unique hat, and of course we pointed them towards David Christopher's. 

The next year, 2016, David created a variety of Derby Day hats for ladies attending this special event. 

The beautiful and talented mother and daughter pair, Kay & Rachel Wammack wearing hats designed by David. 

The beautiful and talented mother and daughter pair, Kay & Rachel Wammack wearing hats designed by David. 

David Christopher's also partnered with UNA and offered a class so ladies in the community could attend and learn how to create their own unique hats. They each picked out a hat of their choice, floral pieces, ribbons and other accessories to complete the look. David led them through the basics of putting it together and gave advice on color combinations. 

Our friends did a wonderful job creating their own special hats for Derby Day! 

Our friends did a wonderful job creating their own special hats for Derby Day! 

This year, the Derby Day Committee had a new idea. David was asked and agreed to create three Derby Day hats to auction off in order to raise money for the cause. 

When creating a hat, David has to think about style and function. He has to ensure the hat isn't too heavy on one side. This can be quite a challenge, but he enjoys the physics of his design work as much as the artistic side. 

Photo Credit: University of North Alabama 

Photo Credit: University of North Alabama 

The hat shown in picture one was designed with popular colors in mind. The blush colored peonies pop against the navy blue background. The butterfly trail cascades down the back for a whimsical and fun look. This hat screams, "It's springtime in the south." 

Photo Credit: University of North Alabama

Photo Credit: University of North Alabama

The peachy pink hat boasts an aqua hydrangea and mini white roses nestled in greenery offering a soft spring palette perfect for a day on the lawn of Coby Hall. The hat compliments the many seer sucker suits you'll see at Derby Day. 

Photo Credit: University of North Alabama 

Photo Credit: University of North Alabama 

Southern charm at its best, this neutral toned hat includes cherry blossoms, magnolias, and a bird's nest nestled in greenery. Wear this adorable hat with a light colored dress or a darker dress for a contrasting dramatic flair. 

The key to picking a hat for the occasion is to choose a hat in which you feel confident. You should be able to walk around in your hat with ease without worry that it will fall off. You also don't want your hat to be so heavy that you leave the event with a headache. 

If you're starting from scratch, it's important to pick out your hat FIRST and then your dress. It's much easier to find a dress matching your hat than it is to find a hat to match your dress. 

In love with any of the three hats above? Visit UNA Derby Day's Facebook page and place your bid. The highest bidder wins. All proceeds benefit the event. 

Hands down, Derby Day is a tremendous, one of a kind event in the Shoals. By now, you should be chomping at the bit to get your tickets! To do so, UNA's website to get your tickets for May 6, 2017 from 3 p.m.-6:00 p.m.....and don't forget your hat! 

ROAR LIONS!