2012 Kentucky Derby logo2012 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby 2012: Hat Monstrosities Continue a Goofy Tradition

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05:  Women wearing decorative hats pose for a picture prior to the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMay 8, 2012

Too many mint juleps can apparently lead to horrible judgment in cranium accessories. At least this is the conclusion the Kentucky Derby drives us to. 

The Run for the Roses is a unique event. And that isn't because of the actual race. It is in the way people approach it. 

It is a fashion show operating on its own rules. And, of course, that all starts with the hats. There is no way it could start anywhere else. Some of the hats are so big, loud and obnoxious that they make Las Vegas seem like a quaint, tasteful little desert town. 

Enough words without pictures. Let's look at the hats. 

Photo Credit: Elsa, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Elsa, Getty Images

This lovely redish-pink hat is perfect for the Kentucky Derby patron that wants to spend big money to get into the race but not actually see it. Perhaps she is just a nervous, big bettor. "I can't watch!" 

Let's just hope she didn't drive herself there. 

Photo Credit: Mark Zerof, US Presswire
Photo Credit: Mark Zerof, US Presswire

What strikes me about this hat is the wearer's commitment to the motif. Her expression mimics the awkward shape of her hat! Look at the shape of mouth! This hat gets big bonus points if it curves up when she smiles. 

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey, AP Images
Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey, AP Images

This gravity-defying number is designed to stay put and adjust to the sun's angle so that an outgoing lady can enjoy a day at the track. 

However, there is an inherent flaw in this: The sunshine will flow right through the transparent hat. 

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire, Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jamie Squire, Getty Images


Photo Credit: Mark Zerof, US Presswire
Photo Credit: Mark Zerof, US Presswire

And, finally, we have these two hats side by side.

These hats don't even pretend to be fashionable (which I consider a huge plus). 

Both of these wearers went for the skyscraper approach. These hats display not only an upper-level class but the need for an impeccable posture just to keep them on their wearers heads.

The gentleman's hat gets bonus points, too—if the camera actually works and he has a button extension with which he can snap a photo. 

In this instance, the camera really should be a Polaroid. That way the picture would slide right out in a timely fashion. 

And the lady's hat is just pure genius.

She took one of the true icons in tackiness—the pink flamingo-yard decor—and applied it to one of the all-time tacky traditions in sports.


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