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DIY Derby Day

Updated: Nov 30, 2019


Spring is here in full force, and with that comes a whole lot of celebration for me! Between birthdays, anniversaries, and other holidays, my social calendar is packed to the brim. One festivity that I'm sure to celebrate every year is Derby Day! It's usually right around my birthday, the bubbles and bourbon are in a constant flow, and the more extravagant with your outfit you are, the better! Sign me up.

So let's talk derby real quick - the derby is a horse race that takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY and has done so since 1875! While the horses run, spectators sip mint juleps and enjoy benedictine spread (SO. GOOD.) while donning some epic hats. A sea of ascots, fedoras, top hats, fascinator, wide brims, and headbands are sure to steal the show. Back in the 1800's, your outfit's crowning jewel was the hat. I'm serious, if you read any news article from back then and the subject wasn't wearing a hat, that's the only detail that the journalist was going to focus on. Over the past 144 years, the tradition has stuck around!

There are no rules when it comes to your Derby hat, but one thing is clear - you want to make a statement! Every year, I love to make my own hat, so I'm going to share a couple super easy DIY methods. My first derby hat was as easy as 1, 2...that's it! All I did was buy my base hat (a wide brimmed floppy hat) and a faux floral garland. Wrap the garland around the hat and let the ends drape down for dramatic flair! So simple, but it definitely sets you apart from the rest!

My next Derby hat had a similar set up. They call the Derby the "Race for the Roses" because the winner is awarded a regal rose collar, so I like to incorporate red or roses in my outfit. If I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it right. I paired my rose print maxi (that ended up splitting at the seam, woops) with a two tone, asymmetrical brim hat. Again, I added the garland accent - this time with some neutral white calla lilies. But I wanted to kick it up a notch! I came across some delightful monarch butterfly clips, giving me some major 2000's vibes. I loved the little kiss of nature and pop of orange.

I loved it so much, in fact, that I carried it over into this year's design! I wasn't finding any roses or garlands that I liked, but I did come across some bigger and brighter butterflies and I couldn't say no! This year, I chose a black organza hat for my base. The butterflies were on a thin wire so I was able to poke through the hat and tie them off. The whole thing took me maybe 20 minutes, and it's without a doubt my favorite one so far!

This year's Derby is Saturday, May 4th and there are lots of places to celebrate in Milwaukee. You can't miss out on the largest Derby Day celebration in the city at the Iron Horse Hotel@ Bottomless mint juleps and a party in the yard? Yes, please! Now that you know a couple of my DIY tricks, your outfit will be a breeze!


Got it!


Photo Creds:

Parker Davis (2)

Colleen Kubiak (7)

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