Hats Off! A brief History of Derby



The colourful, wide-brimmed hat is a statement piece. Sailing around premiere derby events like The Packwood Grand atop the heads of well-heeled guests, this iconic accessory has made a name for itself that dates back to the late 1800s. Before its time, the racetrack left little to be desired. It was a place of vice, not fashion. Gambling and drinking went hand-in-hand lending itself to a dodgy crowd. It was no place for the socially affluent.  With the help of a few business people and the likes of Kentucky Derby founder Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., by the early 1900s horse racing events were a regal affair – a place to show off your wealth and affluence.



The colourful, wide-brimmed hat is a statement piece. Sailing around premiere derby events like The Packwood Grand atop the heads of well-heeled guests, this iconic accessory has made a name for itself that dates back to the late 1800s. Before its time, the racetrack left little to be desired. It was a place of vice, not fashion. Gambling and drinking went hand-in-hand lending itself to a dodgy crowd. It was no place for the socially affluent.  With the help of a few business people and the likes of Kentucky Derby founder Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., by the early 1900s horse racing events were a regal affair – a place to show off your wealth and affluence.



When the television became a mainstay in North American homes in the 1960s, the subtle and refined derby hat evolved to suit. Fashion and societal customs relaxed and the preponderance of television gave women an added incentive to stand out in the crowd. The over-the-top, bright - monumental even - derby hat was born. 

Today we see an array of hats and fascinators from hand-crafted, wild concoctions to the classic, posh, well-brimmed (if you will) pieces. Fashion contests are a staple at derby events to establish a hierarchy among the various designs. This year, Calgary-based Stylista and The Packwood Grand will hold the second annual Style Stakes Fashion Awards, giving spectators the opportunity to win a personal shopping tour (and the tab's on us).

We’re so excited to announce that Cross Iron Mills will be the official fashion provider for The Packwood Grand 2015. Stay tuned to more tips and tricks from Stylista, The Packwood Grand, and Cross Iron Mills by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. See you July 1, Calgary! #ADayAtTheRaces

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