By Megan M. Seckman

Whether she’s pulling together a Derby outfit or planning a party, Soon Bahrami doesn’t settle for less than the best.
Photos by Patti Hartog

Soon Bahrami wears many hats. This 41-year-old Louisville resident is a certified dermatopathologist, a full-time faculty member at the University of Louisville’s School of Medicine, a practicing physician with Associates in Dermatology, and a fitness guru. But her favorite hat this season? The Derby hat, of course.

Soon also works as a celebrity host for the Unbridled Eve Charitable Foundation’s crowning event, Unbridled Eve, which takes place the Friday before Derby. This role gives her a chance to be an ambassador for our town and to show celebrities where they can find a great dinner spot or a gym. A perk of the job? It gives Soon a chance to dress up in sparkly heels and a fancy gown. “This is the best party in town on Friday,” she says. “The celebrities aren’t roped off — they are seated in the main dining area — and there is excellent live entertainment. It’s such a lovely way to showcase our city to an oftentimes international audience, and it also benefits many charities like Blessings in a Backpack.”

A couple of Soon’s Derby hats from previous years. 

As a child, Soon’s favorite pastime was designing couture from her Fashion Plates kit (remember the little plates you could mix-and-match with the rubbing crayon?). Today, she is able to celebrate her love of fashion during the Derby season. “There is no excuse to not go to Derby!” she says. “I go to Thurby, the Unbridled Eve Gala on Friday, Derby on Saturday, and then fall over on Sunday.”

For the Gala, she tends to wear a gown found online; for the Derby she wears a simple sleeveless sheath dress. Shopping is the doctor’s therapy, so she checks the fashion featured in local boutiques or on the discount designer boutique sites or But the hat? That’s a different story altogether.

Soon and her husband Joe Workman enjoy collecting different types of art. This European horse carousel is from the 19th century. 

“One place you can never go overboard, or get at the last minute, is your Derby hat. More is never enough,” Soon says. “My hat lady, Mary Anderson, starts designing my hat in April, and I work the rest of the outfit around the hat. She always asks me ‘Is this enough?’ and it never is. I’m into big, vertical height because I’m petite, so between the hat and my wedges, I can gain six inches easy! I have kept every Derby hat over the years because I see them as a work of art. I’m a hat purist.”

Before I go… I have a cup of coffee, check my calendar, shower, apply makeup and pack two bottles of water to stay hydrated. I try to stay as low-maintenance as possible — I’m out in 45 minutes to an hour. Unless it’s Derby, and then it’s all about my hat and some very comfortable wedges, or rainboots, depending on the weather.

Product she’s loving? I apply Clinique facial serum to my face and hands every day and Aquaphor to my lips. I love Lancôme’s eye products and Bare Minerals for makeup. As a dermatopathologist, I recommend Obagi as a high-end product line and Neutrogena for over-the-counter. But most importantly, water and sunscreen should be in everyone’s skin care regimen.

Latest purchase she’s praising? Well, that’s hard because I shop every day! I love my Beyond Yoga leggings and stores such as Clodhoppers and Modern Elegance that text me when they get my favorite brands. I love the personal connection of a boutique store.

“I wear workout leggings from Beyond Yoga for my Barre3 classes. They are super comfortable.” Soon uses her Garmin sports watch to track her miles when she runs. 

Fashion she’s wearing? I love French Connection, Black Halo, and BCBG clothing lines and L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani for shoes.

Jewelry every woman should be wearing? For the Gala, I like a big cocktail ring with my diamond tennis bracelet. For everyday, I like to mix statement jewelry with casual clothing (a sweatshirt and distressed jeans with a blingy necklace or earrings). My number one go-to accessory, though, is a great watch. I must have 25 or 30 watches. I never leave home without a watch and a smile. Smiles look good on everyone.

“I love statement necklaces and champagne is my favorite adult beverage, which I don’t feel should be saved just for special occasions.” The necklaces are from Chloe & Isabel.

Soon loves wearing her Michael Kors (left) and Fossil (right) watches.