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I look like a Muppet. Or maybe a murderer. 

This hat seriously makes me look like I wrung Big Bird’s neck and wrapped his feathered carcass around my forehead. I give up. No one can make twenty pounds of feathers look stylish. 

...OK, maybe Jennifer Lawrence.

But even then, the sheer weight of the hat would tip her off-balance and we’d be stuck looking at GIFS of J-Law falling at Derby every time we scrolled through Facebook. It’d be like the Oscars all over again.  

Why are Derby hats even a thing? At what point did Kentuckians decide that bourbon, gambling and ornamented sunhats were a natural combination? 

Pillboxes. Fascinators. Bonnets. It’s just overwhelming, especially since I don’t even look good in hats. The last time a hat did something positive for my appearance, I was two years old and I had an inexplicable bald spot that my mother was attempting to cover with a purple floppy hat so people wouldn’t stare. 

I’m sorry, what? Do I have my dress with me?

Should I have brought a dress with me? Should I have a dress for Derby picked out by now? 

I don’t even know what I am wearing tomorrow until I get up at 6 a.m. and spend my first hazy, disgruntled 15 minutes rummaging through my closet, bemoaning the fact that I have nothing to wear.  What makes you think that I have a dress for an event that’s not taking place for another 17 days? 

Besides, knowing Louisville weather I may end up wearing a raincoat. Or a snowsuit. 

That’s it. I’ll bring in my marshmallow snowsuit and have one of the hat-decorators here feather and bedazzle its hood. 

Oh—I should see one of the designers in the create-your-own section for that. 

That place looks kind of intimidating actually. I’ve not seen that much tulle since my kindergarten ballet recital.  Wait. Are those berries in that box next to the fuchsia sequins?  Why would I put berries on my head? I’m going to a horse race, not a Halloween party dressed as Carmen Miranda. 

You know what; I just need a plain hat. No frills, no lace, no rickrack. Just unadulterated... hat.  

This plain “base hat” will do the trick, priced at a moderate...$98.99?!

Well, Hunter S. Thompson was right. The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved—especially the hat shopping. 

cover photo courtesy of shutterstock: image 

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About Ashlie Danielle Stevens

Freelance writer based in Louisville, Kentucky. Writing curator of eclectic experience.

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