Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fascinated with Fascinators

Fascinators for my daughter and me to wear on Kentucky Derby day.

After all the excitement of watching last year’s Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, racing at the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, I decided to go full-on racing fan this year—my grandmother was a big racing fan, so it’s in my blood!—and have a small viewing party for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. While I do like horses and think they are beautiful animals, I have a small confession to make—my drive to watch the Kentucky Derby among friends is probably more motivated by my desire to wear a fascinator and drink champagne—though I will cheer on the ponies and my pick to win the derby this year is Gun Runner! I was also inspired by racetrack fashion after an article I wrote on the subject. Who doesn’t want to get dressed up like that?

Love the swirling rosettes, feathers and paillette sequins on this one.

Picking out a bottle of champagne is easy, but I did not realize how daunting it would be to select a fascinator. There are so many on the market! I decided on a fascinator instead of a hat because most hats are too big on me and I want something to stay secure on race day, not flop around on my head. I decided to get my daughter a fascinator to wear too and found both of these on eBay. The navy fascinator is mine and I like the three swirly rosettes, the paillette sequins dotted here and there, and the slender feathers attached at different points. My daughter’s has a light blue flower in the center, iridescent midnight blue feathers, tiny gray-blue beads sprouting from it and black polka dot netting. I think I like hers a bit better! She likes it better than mine too though (darn it), so there will be no trading with Charlotte of Brooklyn!

Love this fascinator I bought for my daughter!

A side view. I am crazy for the polka dot netting.

Pearls and “Plumberry” by Essie.

I’m going to pair my fascinator with a navy dress, black satin peep-toe heels, lots of jewelry—probably pearls!—and pinky-red nails. This is “Plumberry” by Essie. I can hardly wait for May 7. Riders up!

My little pony! Gun Runner winning the Louisiana Derby, March 2016. Photo by Eliot Kamenitz.

Are you watching the Kentucky Derby this year? Have you been to the actual race before? Do you like a hat or a fascinator better? If anyone has tips on making a Mint Julep, please send them my way. I made a practice one last week and did not like it at all. If I can’t get a better recipe I am serving champagne or Maker’s Mark to my guests!


Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

First, I love that nail color!! This week is our big celebration in San Antonio called Fiesta...this year is the 125th anniversary...and it is a fascinator explosion. You see more during these two weeks than any other time of the year!

Jill said...

I know about Fiesta in SA from living in Austin for 3 years. I think we went one time! Love that fascinators are so big during that celebration. I found "Plumberry" at my local CVS so they probably have it at yours too. It would look great on you! xx

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Do you know I have had to give up bc I can't handle even a barrette on my head but I can see you with it! They are the thing here for weddings as it is less committal than a hat but I think some can just pull it off and others just tug at it! x

rosie said...

Blue is definitely your color. A fascinator & pearls, so beautiful. I'll ask my Kentucky girlfriends if they have a mint julep recipe.

Jill said...

Hi Naomi, I wonder if I will love wearing it or it will drive me crazy. I am not much of a hat person and I normally wear nothing on my head. I think if the barrette stays put I will be okay. x

Jill said...

Hi Rosie, thank you for the mint julep recipe! I will let you know if I give that a go. I have seen so many images of ladies wearing their fascinators alongside pearls that it seemed like fun to have a go at it myself. I can't wait for May 7! xx

Hermesmerized™ the duchessofH said...

I've never worn a fascinator, as hats were the de rigeur for any Derby party's I attended years ago. I still watch; but I have to admit, I think racing two year olds is cruel. Their legs aren't formed, and I think it's too much to ask of these young horses. All Thoroughbreds (no matter what month they are foaled) have a birthdate of January 1st. The foals born closest to January 1st have a bit more chance to grow and mature, than the foals born in late spring/ early summer.

Mint Juleps, are meant to be sipped Jill, so don't worry about the less than appealing taste. Have plenty of crushed ice in them, and you won't have a room full of drunks at race time. lol Maker's Mark is one of my favourites.

Jill said...

Hi there Duchess, thank you for your great comments! I did not know about the birthdate of horses, thank you for telling me that. I thought Kentucky Derby horses were three-year-olds? I honestly don't know. I do admit that while I love seeing these beautiful animals run, I cringe when I see them so close together or in the mud. I am always afraid they will be injured. As for a hat versus a fascinator, I didn't have time to go properly try on a bunch and I have a small head (yes a pinhead you might say, ha ha!) so I worried anything I'd buy online would flop all over the place. SO GLAD you mentioned the sipping part of the Mint Julep. I really did not like the taste at all, it was so sweet and cloying and I do not like bourbon to begin with. I may put my husband up as bartender that day, he likes Maker's Mark, let him mix the drinks! I am definitely sticking with Champagne for myself and anyone else who wants to join me! xx

Rafe's Hotel said...

Re mint juleps, being in the horse industry, I've had the good and the bad. Biggest factor is that you have good, smooth bourbon, which is usually the pricey kind (Woodford Reserve, Makers Mark, etc.). An oldtimer who made the best julep I ever had said the key is to use powdered sugar and fresh mint, and grind them together in a mortar and pestle into a simple syrup. Never use a pre-made commercial mix.

Just for the record, I'm not a big fan of 2-year-old racing either. However, research indicates that athletic training -- the stamina building jogging, with periodic bits of faster work -- is actually good for a young horse's development. It's the high speed competition that is controversial.

Have fun at your Derby party! One thing is a sure bet: you'll look great in a fascinator. :)

Jill said...

Hello Rafe, thank you for stopping by and thank you for your advice re Mint Juleps! I hope there is no rain in Kentucky this Saturday, I really have a hard time watching the horses run so close together in the rain. I don't want them or the jockeys to get hurt! Thank you for the compliment about wearing a fascinator! I can't wait, it will be my first time! xx

HappyFace313 said...

:-) Love your fascinators, so pretty.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for you to pick the lucky number(s).
Enjoy the day with Charlotte!
Go, go, go, Jill!
xo :-)

Jill said...

Hi Claudia, I am looking forward to wearing a fascinator for the first time at a Derby Day party. I don't know if my horse will win but the fun will be in cheering him on among friends and family! xx