by Summer Stanley

Time is ticking. You may only have a few days to find an Easter bonnet, but lucky for you April brings spring races just around the corner, and Virginia Gold Cup (Derby Day) follows closely in May. Triple the fun for your crown! So where can you find the sometimes dainty and sometimes show­stopping accessory that fits your personality?

Photos provided by Tops of Old Town and Forget-me-Nots

Grab a friend and pop on over to Tops of Old Town, a high fashion boutique in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. Try on an array of styles, fabrics and colors to get yourself race ready.

“Tops’ priority is customer service; we strive to make every customer excited about their purchase. Whether you are a first time hat wearer or an experienced one, Tops’ staff will ensure that you not only get a hat, but you get YOUR hat!” promises the shop owner of 29 years, Willie Mae Mitchell. They even have chapeaus for the beaus!

Check out Middleburg’s Forget­-me­-Nots to have a custom­ designed hat just for you. Patty Milligan embellishes hats using exquisite pieces such as vintage brooches, pins and feathers. Send her a picture of your dress and she’ll work with you to find the perfect hat.

“As a milliner, it is always fun having the challenge to create something original, spectacular, and well suited for my client!” Milligan says.

This is especially enticing for those of you planning to enter the “Best Bonnet” competition at the next Point-to-Point! With hats ranging from casual to dramatic, there’s something for every budget.

In addition to custom orders, Patty also has an inventory of ready-to-go hats, with a selection of them carried at Patina, an antique, jewelry and gift shop located in the heart of Middleburg.

Where to hunt:

The Fun Shop, 115 W Washington St., Middleburg, 540-687-6590;

Patina, 103 East Federal St., Middleburg; 540-­687­-6620; patina­

Forget­-me­-Nots, Mountville Rd, Middleburg; 571­-218­-5901;

Tops of Old Town, 2400 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703­-836­-4511;

Piccadilly LTD., 80 Main St., Warrenton; 540-­347­-5300;

Tri­-County Feeds, Fashions, Finds, 7408 John Marshall Hwy, Marshall 540­-364­-1891;

Horse Country Saddlery, 60 Alexandria Pike, Warrenton; 540­-347­-3141;

Special tip: Browse through the online store at under “country clothing” to find a brilliant assortment of fascinators in every color to match your frock or tailgate theme! So while the kids are hunting eggs, you’ve got your eyes on another prize. On your mark, get set, go!