Hats are a long-standing fashion statement at the Kentucky Derby. Each year, women (and some men) can be seen sporting hats ranging from very elegant to downright silly. Generally, the more expensive seats sport guests wearing more sophisticated hats, and the infield seats hold spectators wearing hats with a more whimsical design. While many boutiques sell hats uniquely designed especially for the Kentucky Derby, some people prefer to decorate their own hats.

Things You'll Need

Choose a theme. The theme could be based around a color, your favorite horse or even the Derby itself. Sketch your hat design onto a piece of paper until you are satisfied with the overall look of it.

Collect your materials. Ribbons, silk flowers and feathers are commonly seen on hats. You will also need a hot glue gun and hot glue to attach the materials to your hat. Finally, choose a hat to decorate. The wider the brim, the easier the hat is to decorate.

Glue the ribbon onto the hat. It is easiest to glue the ribbon on first, then create a bow and glue that onto the ribbon rather than trying to tie a bow onto the hat.

Add other items. Try creating a vertical “bouquet” of feathers on the front crown, or use hot glue to attach one very large silk flower to one side of the hat.


  • Choose ribbons and flowers that match the colors of your dress. Each year, different colors are fashionable, so find out which colors are in style for this year’s race before you decorate your hat.