Time for the toppers! The Arkansas Derby, hosted by Hot Springs’ Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, takes place the weekend of March 31. Dress up, dress down — but know that the word derby is synonymous with hats. No worries, the Hot Springs Hat Company, the state’s largest hat store, has hats that rival the thoroughbreds for attention.

 

 

Whittall and Shon is an iconic brand that tends to place first with the ladies. Feathers, sequins, rhinestones and swirls of ribbon adorn its creations. Flirt from behind one of the wide brims, go royal with a fascinator, or do an elegant pillbox, such that the Duchess of Cambridge recently wore. The boldest of women take to the field with these looks. But know, too, that there are tamer temptations to be had here as well, if you so please.

 

Want to show off your true bloodlines? Nothing like a great top hat. It, of course, is used to going to formal events, but it really rocks with denim, leather and boots. This gender-inclusive topper is also open to your own styling. Right there, begging to be the perfection on your hat, are the individually crafted headbands by the local 1445 Hatband Company. Some toppers strut it out with vintage pins available here, too.

 

 

For the man keen to make his mark, there are more options than horses on the track. A slight tilt of the crown, a flip of the brim makes for a powerful statement with a Dobbs Cavalier straw or wool fedora. Partner that with a great cane to mark your confidence. Another classic for gentlemen of all ages is the Kangol Wool 504 flat caps. Here, too, are other styles favored by the men — the newsboy, pork pie and driver hats.

 

Like your suits with boots or your denim with spurs? The Hot Springs Hat Company knows how to dominate the field with its lines of Western wear. No introduction needed for the legendary Stetson brand, whose high demand is putting a crunch in its season. Not to worry, American Hat Makers has a product offering that store manager Lacy Mayfield describes as “super popular, good quality hats.” For the Derby and beyond, the great looks of Gone Country’s palm leaf hats hide their practical nature, which adds value for the wearer by drawing heat away from the head. Feel more comfortable going beyond standard sizing? They can offer that, as well.

 

For those wanting a functional hat for outdoor activities, the Tilley Classic comes with a lifetime guarantee. Mayfield vouches for their value — hers being 15 years old, although its looks aren’t owning up to that. The durable fabric of Tilley’s hats also offer the highest-rated sun protection, making it your best buddy at the Derby.

 

Don’t leave the kids out of the fun! The Hot Springs Hat Company definitely hasn’t. From fedoras to the stuff that princesses are made of, those toppers will put smiles on little faces. You’ll be smiling, too. After all, who doesn’t love a good hat that guarantees you a win, place and show?

 

 

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