A Derby reveler shows his style.


This Kentucky Derby attendee is a vision in pink.


A stunning Derby hat stands out in the crowd.

Royal Wedding

Earl Spencer’s daughters show a variety of hat styles at William and Kate’s wedding.

Royal Wedding

Queen Elizabeth wore a lovely yellow hat to her grandson’s wedding..

royal wedding

Justine Thornton, partner of Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband sports a lively hat.

If you didn’t get the hint from the Royal Wedding, than Sunday’s Kentucky Derby left no question. The hottest accessory of the moment is the hat—the bigger and more flamboyant, the better.

This year’s Kentucky Derby hats showcased America’s talent for taking something another country is doing and trying to do it bigger and better. Feathers? Of course! A brim that flops down to the ground? Why not? Strange shape? The stranger the better!

Hats and Curls?

Although hats may not seem curl friendly, curls actually are perfectly suited for hats if you choose the right hat styles and follow a few simple steps.

“Curly hair is actually better suited for hats than straight hair,” says Jonathan Torch of Toronto’s Curly Hair Institute and creator of the Curly Hair Solutions line of products. “One of the greatest joys of curly hair is you can get away with a greater variety of hats.”

Curls provide ideal support for a hat, Torch says. “You can tilt it any way, and it stays. The hat becomes an accessory rather than covering the head.”

Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl” and co-founder of DevaConcepts, loves hats of all kinds — “some with crown space, some close to the head.”

Find the Right Fit

Look for hats that fit the proportion of your hair. If it’s too tight on top, the hair can look clownish (think Bozo!”>. In some cases, it may mean buying a larger hat than your head size in order to accommodate the volume of your hair.

Christo of curl salon Christo Fifth Avenue suggests opting for soft fabrics that are breathable and easy to remove, without changing the shape of the curl. Some women with curls and kinks like looser-fitting hats such as berets, tams and sock hats.

Quick Tips

When wearing a hat, make sure your hair is completely dry. Otherwise, it will leave a strong demarcation line that is hard to correct.

To make a hat look its best, put your head upside down to get as much lift and support at the root area as possible. Then put the hat lightly on your hair.

“Gravity will allow the hat to settle on its own,” Torch says.

When Massey does wear hats, she makes sure to keep clips in her curls at the crown to keep it lifted. “It actually aids in frizz prevention because the frizz can’t rise up,” she says.

Torch stresses that the hair exposed should be frizz-free and defined. “Otherwise, tuck it underneath.”

Hat Head Fixes

On the days you wear hats, carry along some pomade or a curl rejuvenator to combat “hat head.” Some good ones to try include Curly Hair Solutions Tweek and Jessicurl Awe Inspiraling Spray.

“When you want to fix hat head, it’s about fixing from the roots,” Torch says. “Take some Tweek and start rubbing it around the crown. It creates volume. The more you play with the demarcation area, the more you can correct the indentation.”

Michelle Breyer

As co-founder of, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.

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