I love the hat fashion attached to the horse culture here in Fauquier County. Fauquier County is home to one of the hunt country’s most celebrated events, the International Gold Cup held at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. The best part of Gold Cup is soaking in the fantastic hats. The small ones with lace, feather, or fabric are called fascinators or “cocktail hats.” The giant ones with the very wide brims are called “portrait” or “picture” hats. I leave the race every time wondering why women don’t wear them more often.  Hats are a great accessory.

Why Do Women Wear Big Hats to Horse Races?

According to Recycled Rags: “In the early 1900s, horse racing was the sport of the elite and affluent. With high bids on the table, the spectators took an opportunity to showcase their wealth and status through couture fashion.  At the time, hats were fading out of mainstream fashion. This only made wearing a fabulous hat more iconic and exclusive.  Despite the fluctuation of trends, hats continued to be a mainstay for derbys.

In addition to being an opportunity to display their place in society, women and men found that wearing hats at such public events gave them the chance to show off individuality and carefully thought-out personal style. The Derby became an exhibition of fashionistas, both classic and cutting edge.”

Here are some of the lovely ladies at the International Gold Cup, Great Meadow 2015.