Derby Day Inspiration: Vintage Hats and Horses

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Audrey Hebpurn in a promotional still from the classic film My Fair Lady.

We may not be headed to the racetrack this weekend, but Derby Day certainly serves as the perfect excuse to pull on a fancy topper while sipping on an ice cold Mint Julep. And while we can always look to the Royal Family for plenty of hat-spiration these days, we thought we’d take a gander at Kentucky Derby looks from decades past for truly original inspiration.


Image via Kinetic Corp.

Fashionable ladies and gents enjoy the clubhouse view of the 1926 Derby at Churchill Downs.

Elizabeth Taylor in a promotional still from the 1940s film National Velvet.


Image via Kinetic Corp.

Flappers study the racing program in the Churchill Downs paddock (image circa 1926).

Do you have plans for Derby Day?

About Erin

Erin is our resident California girl with a love for everything vintage. She’s the creative force behind Calivintage.com and she’s joined the ModCloth blog team to share her passion for vintage-inspired style, cycling adventures, and silly hats!

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9 Responses to Derby Day Inspiration: Vintage Hats and Horses

  1. Eliza 05/03/2012 at 12:26 pm #

    While I haven’t any special plans for the Derby, I will be checking out the different hat fashions that the lovely ladies will be wearing this year. I love the photos, guys! :D

  2. Lindsay 05/03/2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I will be attending Derby for the first time this year. I’m extremely excited to see all of the hats up close (and will, of course, be wearing one myself).

    • Eliza 05/03/2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Wow! What a great oppurtunity! :D

  3. Alyssa Pritchett 05/03/2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I love how extravagant and glamourous these fashionistas got for the races…very inspiring. Hopefully I am lucky enought to attend in my lifetime!

  4. TheBigForest 05/03/2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Love the the first photo – I forgot how wonderfully tallented cecil beaton was with the costumes

  5. hexedame 05/03/2012 at 4:20 pm #

    The headline for this blog entry has two of my favorite things in it: vintage hats and horses. I love these pictures. I especially love the second one. In the lower right corner there is a gentleman wearing a boater hat with a polka dot ribbon on it. I DREAM of owning a hat like that. I am so glad to know that it can be unisex….or was at one point in fashion history.

  6. Laura @ The Joyful Fox 05/03/2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Oh man – National Velvet was my favorite movie when I was little :) Love all these hats. Audrey Hepburn shines above the rest, in my opinion!

  7. Valerie (all mussed up) 05/05/2012 at 12:26 pm #

    I happened to be in Liverpool on the day of the Grand National, a few weeks ago…my eyes were popping out of my head. I saw the craziest hats, tight dresses, and coattails!

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