Observations at the Kentucky Derby

1. Women who aren’t A) southern or B) black don’t know how to properly rock a finger-licking hat. Maybe it’s because northern white women don’t wear a hat anywhere. In the south, if you’re of a certain class you still wear a hat and black women, north or south, love hats and still wear them to church. My mother rocks a hat almost everywhere she goes. To her (and my Granny) it sounds nutters to go places all dressed up sans hat.

But since The Kentucky Derby requires a hat at least half the people there screw the whole hat thing up and either buy hats that don’t match, are too ridiculous to be worn by anyone not named “Scarlett O’Hara” or are flat out, horrible hats.

2. I’m sick of seeing Z-grade celebrities at the derby. Drew Lachey? Joey Fatone? Larry Birkhead? Molly Sims? This Heidi Montag person? What the hell, Derby? Real celebrities would take the time to learn how to select a proper hat or suit. (Like Julia Roberts or Reese Witherspoon.) Of course, what’s really scary is that Montag person actually followed the rules of hat being proper for face and outfit. And if this Montag person could bother to learn how to rock a hat properly, what was Chelsea Clinton’s problem? Just look at the pictures below.

Former First Daughter, Chelsea Clinton looks almost exactly how her mother did when she was her age. She’s usually adorable, but what the hell is this? She looks like she was attacked by light blue cellophane. Or wrapping paper. Or like she’s being choked by a silk bed sheet. At least her hat matches. I don’t like the hat. But it matches. She gets C for matching correctly.

Oh, Gabrielle Union, is there no party you won’t crash? The dress is cute. Not quite fancy enough for the derby, but I’ll let it slide. And the hat is acceptable. Of course, I would expect nothing less from a black woman. You are supposed to know how to pick out a decent hat. Well done. You get a B minus.

I like Michael Strahan’s suit. He’s looking so fresh, so clean. As for Nicole Mitchell (nee Murphy), she is looking a bit of a mess here. One: Where’s your hat? Two: That is a cocktail dress, not a derby dress. Three: What is wrong with you smile? Did you get attacked by the Botox fairy? My word! That said, I do think Michael and Nicole make a cute couple in their own way. Plus, Strahan seems down right folksy compared to her high maintenance ex, Eddie, who looks like he could drive a bitch to drink. Strahan: A minus. Mitchell: D minus.

Lynn Whitfield. Nice hat. I don’t really like wearing black at the derby because you’re supposed to wear spring colors and look festive. This, again, is basically a cocktail dress, not the appropriate flowery ensemble. But you didn’t mess up the hat part and that’s the most important. B minus.

Larry Birkhead? Why are you here? And why did you bring this Anna Nicole clone? And why do I even know who you are? Your hair gets an F, Birkhead, but your suit is pretty awesome. I’ll give you a B plus. As for your date. I’m sorry. She looks like trash and that hat is terrible. Fail!

What’s with all the black hats? Are we going to a fu
neral? It’s the DERBY, people! Be festive! That said, Lennox Lewis’ ladyfriend is wearing a good hat. The dress looks like something you could pick up for under $30 at Marshalls, but hey, it’s flowery. That has to count for something. And it’s flattering to her figure. I still hate it, but it matches. Lennox Lewis looks fucking awful with the five-head and frizzy dreads. And I’m not feeling that suit. I give you both Cs.

See? This is what I’m talking about. Smokey Robinson and his wife Frances know how to dress for a true Southern affair. The white. The light yellow. The pearls. The perfect matching hat. The open toe-shoes. The matching. Watch and learn, people. Watch and learn. A plus!

Dwyane Wade. Where’s your tie? Why are you wearing a hat? Not that men can’t wear hats to the derby. It’s just men’s hats usually are throwbacks to the 1940s when every man wore a Fedora or a gentlemanly cap. This bucket-style number is not derby approved. Also: I really don’t like that you didn’t try to dress up. Most black men like to show out at these sort of things. No tie. No vest. No scarf. No cane. No fancy. No dandy. No fop. No nothing. You get a C.

I still don’t know who this Heidi Montag person is, but she appears to have gotten the derby dress memo. She chose a hat that was more understated, therefore it worked better with her face and hair and didn’t make her look ridiculous. She chose a flattering dress with spring colors which matched said hat. Her purse is too big for the derby. You’re supposed to go for a clutch, but at least it matches, as do the shoes. So you get an A, Montag person. Good show, I say. Good show.

12 thoughts on “Observations at the Kentucky Derby

  1. I am LOVING this post! And, I agree with you on most of your choices, but… I liked Chelseas outfit. It looked trendy yet traditional enough for the Derby. And the Robinson family – A++ They did the durned thing!L

  2. You said, “That said, I do think Michael and Nicole make a cute couple IN THEIR OWN WAY.” Is that a legitimately revered way we should emulate? No. I love how you dis’d them nicely.Danielle, you are so biting! The devil made you do it! LMAOThey need to be schooled…people tease The South and try to change it. And look at ’em. They can’t possibly understand.

  3. lola: I liked the color and fabric of Chelsea’s dress, I just didn’t like the execution. The neck tuff looked awkward and the side bunching looked awkward. I just didn’t think it was very flattering on her.andrea: Most people don’t seem to understand the southern dress code. Mostly because up north there is next-to-no dress code. People just wear whatever everywhere. It’s not that southerners don’t wear whatever, they just don’t wear whatever to church, funerals, fancy parties or the derby. That’s why celebrities often look the most messed up at the derby. They’re more often not southerners, so they don’t quite understand how they’re supposed to dress. All the other “no name,” high fallutin’ southerners who can afford seats in the stands are dressed fairly nicely. They were probably the best dressed group of drunk people in America that Saturday.

  4. chelsea sure is looking like her mother these days…i agreed with most of your grades, bur why is nicole looking like she has a stick up her you know what?and i hate to say this but heidi did it right… please, please, please, let’s not ever mention heidi montag’s name on here again…

  5. @TBSBut isnt that the style nowandays? To have your dress look like its all gathered and bunched up and clinging to you? Ive seen that style in many other dresses. I dont like it much either, but as my grandmother used to say,”Its ugly, but thats how theyre wearing them now.”L

  6. Tis true, Lola. That is the (ugly) style nowadays. Why the bunching to the side, though? I’d rather have seen it in an umpire style than that, even though if it were umpire Chelsea would have looked like a 1920s flapper.

  7. Sorry, I disagree. Looks like you and I won’t be fighting over clothes =). Let’s just do lunch instead.Chelsea looks fine.Gabrielle Union’s dress is an inappropriate length. Plus, it’s hard to wear a black hat that doesn’t look funerial. It’s also too formal for her dress.Michael and Nicole look fine, especially Michael. A hat on Nicole would have been interesting.Lynn Whitfield’s hat overwhelms her in addition to being funerial.And the dress doesn’t exactly flatter her curves. Not at all actually. Too many are popping out weirdly. The entire outfit ends up looking rather blaaaah.Larry Birkhead looks wonderfully sportif. Yes, “Anna Nicole” looks a bit, um, cheap. She could have gotten away with the dress, but the hat is horrid, plus it clashes with her whitish hair.Lennox Lewis looks like he should be in an office not at a Kentucky Derby. His girlfriend should not have accented her delightful dress with black! Again, the funerial look.Yes, Smokey and Francis look amaaaaazing.Dwyane Wade gets away with his look.Heidi Montag’s hat needs a smaller brim. Yes, her dress is fanTastic.See? You and I can do lunch, er, people watch.

  8. moody: Well, the criticism was based on what’s traditionally appropriate to wear to the derby. Which is why the funeral black had to go and dresses that were not flowery were bad and things that looked like evening wear were bad.It is also why Dwayne Wade should have worn a tie, a bow tie, any tie, even a bolo, to the event. You’re just supposed to have a tie. The South has rules! And women should wear hats! Rules! People, rules!Which is why that Montag woman got so much credit. And yes, the brim is huge, but in the south the more hat, the better. It’s usually the over abundance of fluffy crap on the hat that brings you down. Some ruffles are good. A lot of ruffles = nightmare.And Chelsea’s outfit would have been great, but I cannot get over the side bunching. It looks ridiculous and I’m standing by that opinion.That and Nicole is inappropriately dressed for a derby.And she can’t smile properly. She looks like she’s in pain. Hence the Botox crack.And, agreed, Gabby’s dress is a wee too short. It really should come to the knees.But that is all. Derby rules! Wear a tie! Wear a hat! Don’t wear dark colors! Someone should be in a nun’s habit at the gate with a ruler in their hands, screaming what I wrote in a thick German accent. “Nien! Nien! Nien black at a derby! Nien!”

  9. You are so right Snob. Most of those people looked a HAM.It’s a sad day when Heidi gets it right over the real celebs…

  10. Great Derby post! yes, being from the South must make one naturally affectionate for the Derby and a stickler for the rules..Pooh pooh on all of the black.And a huge moment of silence for Eight Belles. She did a spectacular job (the first philly in 20 years who had a shot at winning). I was so proud she took 2nd. I’m still choked up about her.Bye, bye big beautiful girl.

  11. DN Lee: I was actually bummed over Eight Belles too. I hate how so many race horses like her are hurt, then put to sleep, for running. It was hard for me to be happy for Big Brown, even though he’s a huge and fast horse. My father kept commenting throughout the Derby Saturday that he was at least as big as Secretariat and that Secretariat was the biggest horse he ever saw.He’s from Texas. He likes his every sport … but soccer.I’m not a PETA person wanting to kill horse racing, but I’m definitely for stricter rules to spare the horses some grief. Never mind all those “loser” horses who just end up being slaughtered for dog food.I have the same issue with cows on factory farms. Cows should be on grassy hills, not in feces filled dirt farms. If it’s going to have a short life would it kill people to let that short life be nice? My word!That said. People need to give the South its do. My peoples can dress. They know what looks good. They know what you’re supposed to wear to the Derby. And black men (when they give a crap) are such elegant dressers, hence my issue with Dwayne Wade.

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