Ladies’ Day at Monmouth Park is this Saturday, August 1.

It’s a fabulously fun day at the races, with an excuse to dress up and wear a fancy derby hat! Considering all the anticipation of American Pharoah running in Sunday’s Haskell Invitational, Ladies’ Day is sure to be extra exciting this year!

One of my favorite parts of the day happens at 1 p.m.: the fashion show courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer at The Shops at Riverside.

The Lilly Pulitzer store at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack. (Laurie Cataldo)

Lilly Pulitzer is all about fun, bright, colorful prints in amazingly flattering cuts. (I swear, I always feel incredible the second I put some Lilly on!)

Of course, nothing completes the look like a fancy derby hat!

Emilee Carton, general manager of the Lilly Pulitzer store at The Shops at Riverside, has an incredible eye for hats (and a derby hat shop on Etsy!), and has some tips on how to make your own derby hat for this weekend’s event!

A custom hat from Sugar Magnolia Hats (Emilee Carton)

You’ll need:

  • Hat base
  • Hot glue gun (and glue)
  • Embellishments (flowers, feathers, ribbon)
  • Small piece of masking tape
  • Strong scissors or wire cutters

Emilee says the best places to look for hat bases are lower priced big box stores in the accessories departments. If you find one but it comes with a flower or some other embellishment you don't like, they're usually easy to remove. The embellishments can be found at any local craft store.

Some tips on embellishments:

  • Choose wired, colored ribbon. This will be easiest to work with if wrapping around the head of your hat because you can pull the wire at the top and bottom to ensure it lays flush all the way around your hat.
  • Flowers look best if you choose a few different sized ones that compliment each other and follow your color theme.
  • Using a few feathers will create wonderful height and movement on your hat. You can use many for a very dramatic effect or a couple just to add some dimension.
A white hat from Sugar Magnolia Hats (Emilee Carton)

Once you have all your materials and general design ready, it’s time to put it all together!

  1. Choose where on your hat you would like to start your embellishments. The most popular choice is on the side.
  2. Use a piece of tape to mark where you would like the middle of your embellishments to be.
  3. Take your ribbon and connect it where your tape is placed with your hot glue.
  4. Place your flowers over the seal of the ribbon, so the seam is hidden.
  5. Use strong scissors or wire cutters to snip the stems off all the flowers.
  6. Choose your two largest flowers and have the bottoms face each other so that you will have flowers facing out, no matter which way you look at the hat.
  7. Glue the biggest flowers down. Take the smaller flowers and stick them under and above your big (already glued down) flowers on all sides.
  8. Take the feathers and choose where they can poke out of the flowers to create your desired look. You can place them on an angle or straight. (Note: You can use a curling iron on feathers for a dramatic curl!)
  9. If you have any remaining 'holes' or openings in your design, you can use any leftover small flowers to fill them in or use fewer flowers and create a bow with the ribbon.

Now you have your finished hat and you're off to the races! (Need some color inspiration? It’s all about taking a few colors from your outfit and using the hat to pull everything together.)

Keep in mind, that the ladies from Lilly Pulitzer will be bringing plenty of merchandise to purchase before and after the fashion show on Saturday, from dresses, to tops, to accessories including bags, scarves, phone cases, and more! (Plus, you’ll get a Lilly beach towel with any purchase of $100 or more!)

Look for me at the Point table from noon-2 p.m., fancy hat and all, with your chance to win awesome prizes!