BreedersCup Hat Tips!

2016 Kentucky Derby Hats and Fashion Trends

Fashion Trends and 2016 Kentucky Derby Hats, continued!

Why do women like to be Southern Belles?  I think it is the time to be feminine, have fun and turn those male heads!  Enter the Kentucky Derby!  As a girl born in Kentucky, I can totally understand the Southern Belle mentality.  While living in New York City for over 13 years, I was endlessly pursued by men wanting to hear my Southern accent.  I have lived in Kentucky for 18 years and am only now getting my Southern accent back. 

For the 2016 Kentucky Derby, we pulled together the latest fashion trends, suggestions and combinations, and combined them with beautiful Derby hats

Picking out a classic dress is the first step on your Kentucky Derby fashion journey, and choosing your Derby hat is a close second.




Simply Demure
Simply Demure












I think Simply Demure would be perfect with this dress.  The flow of this dress lends itself to a relaxed, feminine hat.  Wearing a longer dress to the Derby is definitely different.  I would personally do something like this.  Derby is a very long day. At the end of the day, I could hardly walk.  I am drooling over these sandals as I remember women taking off their high heels to walk out of Churchill.


















I love the idea of a black and white dress.  It is classic and gives a hat designer so much to work with!  The black and white hat with a vivid pop of hot pink is classic Polly Singer!  So much so, that I designed my hat boxes in the same colors.  Better hide the credit card because I would purchase this dress in a heartbeat.


















For an elegant vision, I would pair Kathrina with this dress.  Perfect for the Kentucky Oaks, it is simple and elegant.  Classic Chanel and smooth.  I love fashion simplicity because it allows the client to really look amazing.  Hats that are over the top take away from the client’s own beauty in my opinion.  You will notice that celebrities always tone their outfits, not over do.
















This one of my classic hats.  Mischa would look amazing with this dress.  The structure and angles of the hat complement the geometric design of the dress.   As a young designer, I was often baffled working with patterns like those on this dress.  A simple, classic hat design is the best remedy.

I hope these ideas have helped, and given you some idea of how to match a hat with this year’s fashion trends, especially as we near one of my favorite events, and I will bet you can guess what that is.  Any questions, please contact me and we will help you pick out your special hat, or create a gorgeous custom hat exclusively for you.

But hurry! The Derby is just around the corner! 

Contact us now to design a beautiful Kentucky Derby Hat for you. 




Custom Ladies Hats for the Kentucky Derby

Custom Elegant hat to match dress in 2014
Hat was designed for this dress.

Custom ladies hats for the Kentucky Derby.  About 25% of the ladies hats that I do are custom.  Many Kentucky Derby clients will request this as they want that unique look for Derby Day.   A custom hat can range anywhere from changing out the trim (flower or feather) on one of the existing hats on the website to designing an entirely new hat.  Often times, the client will email or actually mail their dress to me.  I will then design two or three different versions of the hat or fascinator. I will email them the photos.  Depending on the direction that the custom design is going, a decision will be made and the hat/fascinator done. 

Hat for Derby 2014 to match necklace.
Hat for Derby 2014 to match necklace.
Custom Hat to complement dress
Hat was designed to pull in the colors on this dress.












As you can see, there is so much that can be done to pull the dress together with the hat.   I have designed hats around jewelry, shoes, almost anything.




Derby hat done to complement necklace.
Derby hat done to complement necklace.
Love the colors on this custom hat.
Love the colors on this custom hat.












The good thing about my hats is that everything is sewn on by hand.   Often times, I will take the existing trim off and sew on new flowers or feathers, creating an entirely different look.  Buying a hat is an investment, so I like to give my clients many options for later use.


February is Custom Hat month.  Customization fees are $50/hour but this month the fee is waived.






Pantone 2015

2015 Spring Pantone Colors
2015 Spring Pantone Colors

Each season, Pantone releases colors that will appear in clothing designs and accessories.  The colors shown above are for Spring 2015. 

My personal favorites are the Glacier Gray and Tangerine.  We have seen the classic blue for awhile.

How does this all relate to picking your hat? 

A safe general bet is to choose a neutral base color and then add the pops of color.  As many of you know, everything is sewn on by hand, so hats can be retrimmed later on.

Below are some hats that would work well with the Spring 2015 color palette.

Samantha's Tropicana
Samantha’s Tropicana

Opening Day At Del Mar

People often think of the Kentucky Derby as the big event where ladies where hats and fascinators at the races.  If you have ever travelled to San Diego’s Del Mar Race Track on Opening Day, you will see a plethora of big hats and unusual fascinators.

Del Mar Turf Club.File Photo©Benoit Photo


Del Mar is one of the nation’s loveliest  race tracks in my opinion.  It’s phrase is “where the surf meets the turf”.  Bing Crosby was one of the founders of this racetrack.  Hollywood royalty often frequented this track.  The address is Jimmy Durante Boulevard.


Over the years, I’ve done many hats for Del Mar Opening Day.  Here are few of my favorites.



Maureen Dunfee 2

christina tvg



Singer Designs and Donates Ladies Hats to the Kentucky Equine Humane Center

 Spring with Espirit as featured on the cover of the Hamburg Journal.

I designed and donated three ladies hats to the  Kentucky Equine Humane Center.  This worthy organization captured my heart last year when I went to visit.  Being a long time champion of animal welfare, I was taken by these lovely horses and the mission the of the KYEHC to rescue, rehabilitate and adopt out these horses who had not had the best of lives thus far.

These three hats are available on ebay.  The bidding ends at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 6th.

Any of these hats would be great for Easter, the races, an event or even the Oaks or Derby.

Donna 1 Esprit 1


Headley-Whitney Stitching Art Exhibit

stitching art

I was excited to be selected to have my work in the Stitching Art exhibit at the Lexington’s Headley-Whitney Museum. The show opens on March 23rd. Featured in the above photo is Simone, a sculpted fur felt fascinator with curved peacock feathers.


The hat above is called Matisse. I designed Matisse in 1996, while studying at F.I.T. in New York. I was given the subject Matisse and asked to design a hat around that theme. In 2003, the hat won best of show at the T.L.D. Design Center in Chicago. I absolutely adore the outfit the hat is paired with. The dress is a very intricate design by Monica Magdangal. All photography by Anna Esposito.


Polly Singer Hat Raises $5,000 at Auction

This hat brought $5,000 at a charity auction.


Imagine my surprise to hear that a hat I had designed for a charity auction brought $5,000.00!  I was so shocked upon hearing the price that I almost drove off the road! It was quite an evening.

The event was the AHC Opening Gala at Churchill Downs, in the 4th Floor Suite.  The beneficiary of the evening was Angelheart Arabians in Lexington, Kentucky.  The organization focuses on aiding children with chronic illness by working with horses.  Tracey, the Executive Director, suggested that I do the hat in black, white and silver.  She suggested doing a classic design.  The hat style is one that I call Holly at Churchill, so I guess it was fitting that the hat did so well at Churchill!

Kim Jarvis with the Arabian Horse Celebration was responsible for promoting the hat and also getting the amazing photo of it that you see below.  Her lovely daughter modeled it.  So as you can see, it was a group effort!  The event staff at Churchill was a pleasure to work with, so professional and helpful. 

The hat is shown in the blog below.