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Big hats, Derby-inspired attire steals the show at races

Kerri Bartlett

Susanna Keller, retail manager
and stylist at Jondie.

Whether a traditional wide-brimmed hat adorned with bows and ribbons, or something more bold with soaring brightly colored feathers and netting, finding the perfect outfit is an important component to horse-related events such as Steeplechase, the Tennessee Equine Hospital Grand Prix and the Music Country Grand Prix.

“It’s fun to shop for the dress, shoes and hat,” Ginna Campbell said, president of Soroptimist of Franklin, which celebrated the organization’s Kentucky Derby party May 4.

Judging from the fashion in the box seats at the Kentucky Derby last weekend, boldness seemed to be the trend this year, especially with hats.

“Bigger is better when it comes to the Derby,” Campbell said.

“The traditional Kentucky Derby hat is a floppy hat with a girlie bow,” said Kentucky-native Susanna Keller, retail manager and stylist at Jondie on Franklin’s Main Street. However, she said, fedoras and their narrow brims and dents on top are gaining in popularity.

“You can wear it more than once, take it to the beach this summer, and wear it at other times to look stylish,” she said.


Although the hat often takes center stage, Abby Palmer, owner of Emmaline Boutique on Main Street, said the dress should be the fi rst consideration. It’s also a chance to stretch your fashion boundaries.

“If you are not usually preppy, it gives you an excuse to wear pearls and more structured, classic attire that you might not normally wear,” she said. “It lets you play a different role.”


Think classic wedge, which can guard against sinking into soggy grounds.

“Wear wedges made from material that you can wipe off if it rains such as patent leather – no cloth material,” said Keller. “If there’s grass and mud, wear Wellies [Wellington rubber rain boots] or a wedge,” Palmer said.


“Focus on earrings for emphasis,” Palmer said. “Statement jewelry such as a heavy necklace could be bothersome in hot weather.”

Boutique MMM located on the Franklin’s town square has a collection of handmade woven bags – some even with gold horse medallions – to accent a race outfit. The store also offers a wide selection of wedges in all shapes, heights and colors.

For Rodeo Attire, check out


Posted on: 5/9/2013


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