Derby hats: If you can find the perfect hat design your own


by Kelsey Starks

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 17 at 4:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS)--Whether you are fascinated by the fascinator trend or going for a more traditional look, ladies in Louisville agree that finding the perfect hat is the most important thing when it comes to derby fashion.

Dee’s crafts on Shelbyville road is a local tradition – a craft store turned into a hat Mecca during Derby season.  You can get a “blank” hat or bring in an old one and they will turn it into a custom hat to match anything. 

“I think the most difficult part is helping the customer see a vision that you see and be comfortable that we are going to create that vision," says Dee’s owner Kathy Olliges.

It’s all about creating something new and original.

“Everybody comes in with their dresses and compare opinions,” said Laura Duane, who is picking up her hat at Dee’s.  “It’s fun!”

The fun begins in a back room – a place few ever get to see.  They’ve made a thousand hats in just the last six months; this week they plan to make a thousand more.

“One hat at a time!  Focus! Focus! Focus!” – that’s the motto taped on the wall next to Lorie Laughead’s work station.  She fills the growing number of Internet orders pouring into Dee’s.

“We have done hats from the Virgin Islands, California, Las Vegas, down to Texas and Florida,” says Laughead.  “We stay really busy with them.”

It's a busy time.  Some call it crazy.  But most call it fun.

“Crazy fun,” is what Randee Norris calls it.  She is trying to decide on a hat for Oaks day.  “Every year I say I'm going to come early so I don't come when it's so busy; and every year I come within a week of going to the track!”

For more information about customizing your Derby hat and Dee's Crafts, click here.