Learn about the lavish styles of Kentucky Derby hats from Brim owner, Amelia O'Dowd.

Dayton shop’s derby hats make you feel like you are the party

You’ll need a hat Saturday if you are heading to the Kentucky Derby or a local bash celebrating the annual horse race tradition.

Amelia O’Dowd may just have your winning lid.

O’Dowd and her husband Brian Eastman have amassed a collection of 2,000 hats since opening Brim, a colorful boutique located at 64 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. The shop celebrated its grand opening in October with 500 hats for sale.

Brim has drawn derby party shoppers in search of tailored looks as well as looks featuring “a lot of stuff, some flowers, a couple of feathers,” O’Dowd said.

Her specialty shop features works from a dozen hat companies, three local milliners, and two dozen Fair Trade or small American accessory companies.

When it comes to the derby, O’Dowd said rules are meant to be bent and broken.

“You want to wear a cocktail hat? God love you, go ahead and do it,” she said. “It is really about having something fun on your head so that when you are walking around in Dayton you feel like you are the party instead of you are going to the party.”

The New Jersey native said many customers gravitate towards looks that express their personal style and that are not too cumbersome.

“The girls are going for a lot of fascinators and a lot of light airy, sinamay hats,” she said.

The shop has a good selection of bow ties and men’s hats as well.

O’Dowd said fedora and boater style hats featuring striped or/and brightly colored ribbon are popular.

“Pastels are generally what men are going for which is hard to find,” she added.

Hat sale

Friday might be the ideal time to buy a hat — even if you are not going to the derby or a derby party.

Buy an in-stock Kangol brand hat at Brim after 5 p.m. Friday and get a free Kangol hat while supplies last.

Why hats?

O’Dowd and her husband, a minister at Beaver United Church of Christ, met in Boston and became spoiled by a nearby hat store.

They could not find an equal hat shop within driving distance of Dayton so they decided to open their own when the opportunity to purchase the building that houses Brim presented itself.

Before Brim, the builing housed an menacing-looking adult book store.

Now you can’t miss the building. It is bright yellow.

O’Dowd said she simply loves hats.

“They are this expression of your personality. Accessories in general are kind of a lost art,” the graduate of Antioch University Midwest with a background in fiber arts said.

She wears a scarf nearly everyday and favors fedoras, pork pies or fascinators.

“All winter I basically live in little fascinators cocktail party (hats),” she said. “I look like I am going out for drinks at 3 0’clock in the afternoon.”



464 E. Fifth St., Dayton

Tuesdays to Fridays 1 pm to 8 p.m.

Saturdays noon to 8 p.m.

(937) 222-4287

The shop is open Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. For more information, call (937) 222-4287 or go to www.brimonfifth.com or www.facebook.com/brimonfifth.

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