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A Milliner’s Guide to Derby Hatting

  • Caitlin Ganswindt


With part one of the Triple Crown kicking off next weekend, we endorse man’s greatest accessory: the hat.

But this, this is no ordinary day of hatting. Put away your five-panel cap, the sport of kings deserves more consideration.

We caught up with Alex Mroz, veteran shopkeeper over at Goorin Bros.’ West Village outpost. And he’s laying down the hard-and-fast rules on how to don your best this Kentucky Derby.

Herewith: a milliner’s guide to derby hatting...

1. Think Beyond the Derby. For first time hat wearers, an everyday hat is needed. My go-to for beginners is the Snare. Post-Derby it’s good for that backyard BBQ or the beach.

2. Get Fancy. For bolder heads, I recommend the Big John panama. The wide brim may be a bit intimidating but the panama is a classic for a reason.

3. With Great Risk, Comes Great Reward. They who dare, win, and the Pierre Renoir will reward confidence with style points in spades.

4. Don’t Play it Straight. Sinatra said it best: “Cock your hat—angles are attitudes.” Place your fedora straight on and you look like a taxman, so don't do it.

5. Race-Day Flair: Go Big. Derby hat flair is like Christmas sweaters: the louder the better. No one is going to bat an eye at your wide-brimmed peacocking creation.

6. Your Suit Should Follow Suit. If you’re wearing a panama hat you better be wearing a proper summer-weight jacket or seersucker.

7. Consider the Forecast. Don’t rule out light wool yet, either—it’s still spring. Depending on the weather I may opt for a cream wool fedora to make that dandy statement.

8. There Are No Rules. Rules are made to be broken, but it is important to know the rules first. Consider yourself educated.

For those enthusiasts local to NYC, stop by Goorin Bros. tonight for booze, music and professional styling on all things Derby.

Goorin Bros. West Village Derby Wardrobe Party 6-9pm, April 24, 2014 337 Bleecker St New York, NY 10014