Whether it’s your first time at kentucky derby or if you’re a ‘Run for the Roses’ regular and might need some new outfit inspiration for this year, we’ve rounded up some fashion tips to help you look the best for your Derby.
Let’s face it, the Kentucky Derby weekend in Louisville isn’t just about the horses, it’s an annual fashion event with few rivals.
Some trends, like hem length and various “it” colors, fluctuate from year to year during the nation’s longest sporting event. But in general, a basic tip stands no matter what year you attend the Kentucky Derby at the historic Churchill Downs Racecourse.
“Wear what makes you feel amazing,” said a Kentucky-based fashion consultant Joe Ross.
Here are some must-have fashion tips and tricks before heading to the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby hats are essential
Although you can’t wear them at any other time of the year, hats for women and men are a must-have item for Kentucky Derby weekend. There are loads of milliners who specialize in the style of hat worn at spring races, including Jenny Pfanenstiel and Christine A. Mooreboth featured modders for the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
“There’s definitely a nice Southern feel to the way Kentucky racing fans dress for the Derby,” Moore said. “It’s beautiful, elegant, and feminine, but at the same time, it also goes big or goes home. When it comes to hats and fascinators, women in Kentucky like it big and frilly. They dress to reflect the pageantry of the day but in an elegant way. .”
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Consider the weather when choosing your Kentucky Derby outfit
Once you have your hat, the weather is your biggest consideration.
This is not a joke.
May 7, the date for this year’s Kentucky Derby, could be 85 degrees and sunny or something like 2018’s wettest Kentucky Derby on record when it dumped 3.1 inches of rain throughout of the day.
“If you’re a local, you know that May in Louisville can be hot and sunny, cool and rainy, or somewhere in between,” Ross said. “Having dressed women and men for kentucky derby for decades I can tell you that the best choice is to wear clothes that breathe to be comfortable. So consider natural fabrics like cotton, gauze, linen and silk. And I always recommend that you have a plan for cold or rainy weather.”
What should men wear to the Kentucky Derby?
Guys, you can’t go wrong with a colorful tie or bow tie, a pastel shirt and a light sports jacket. Of course, a Seersucker suit will always pass the test with the Fashion Police.
“Absolutely yes,” Ross said. “Seersucker suits are a tradition at the Kentucky Derby and were originally designed to be comfortable in the heat and humidity.”
And you don’t have to wear a tie. The key is comfort. Going to the races is having fun while looking your best.
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What should women wear at the Kentucky Derby?
There is a southern charm that inspires the gaze of Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby weekend. You already know that you don’t want to be caught without a gorgeous hat or fascinator made of a lightweight material like straw. Pair your headdress with a beautiful floral summer dress.
Jumpsuits with pants or bermudas are a playful option in 2022. The same goes for jumpsuits and rompers, Ross said.
“Just be sure to choose one in a natural fabric or a blend,” Ross said. “If you’re wearing a 100% polyester suit, you’re going to roast if it’s really hot. »
Choose bright and vibrant colors for your Kentucky Derby outfit
We are crazy about color at the Kentucky Derby. As a result, you won’t find many shrinking violets on the trail.
Colors hanging in your closet that will impress on the race track include vivid shades of pink, indigo, orange, yellow and green and various shades of purple and blue.
The color combinations of the spectators are always classic during a horse race. Black and white or navy and white never go out of style – and don’t forget a pop of color in your shoes, handbag or accessories. It’s the Derby, after all.
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Do the couples wear matching outfits at the Kentucky Derby?
And while we’re on the subject of color pairing, many couples will be coordinating their wardrobes this year.
It’s not about matching suits but rather an elegant and subtle combination of colors and textures. Consider pairing your outfits with accessories like a pocket square and scarf that blend with the colors of her dress and headpiece.
What to know about Kentucky Derby props and footwear
When it comes to accessories, “shoes and the size of your handbag are two things to consider,” Ross said. “Your purse can’t be longer than 12 inches in any direction, it’s a rule of the track, but that gives you enough room to throw a pair of flats or flip flops in there.”
Kentucky Derby Day is a long day on your feet, and in the heat and humidity of a sunny May day, you’ll feel it all the way to your toes if you’re wearing stilettos.
Flip flops or ballet flats are essential for walking from the runway to your car and trust us, you’ll regret it if you forget this fashion tip.
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Have alternate Kentucky Derby outfits picked out and ready to go
You should be prepared with three different wardrobe options because we never know exactly what the weather will be like on Kentucky Derby day.
It snowed on Derby day, but heat or rain should be your priority
“The first option is your dress, pantsuit, jumpsuit or romper,” Ross said. “The second option is to add a shrug or wrap if the forecast calls for a drop in morning or evening temperatures – and if you have tickets to an air-conditioned section of the track.”
Dressing for rainy weather should be your third option. Lately it seems like it rains every two years on Kentucky Derby Day and sometimes it rains buckets. Come prepared with a transparent rain jacket or poncho in your closet. These are great choices because your Kentucky Derby outfit is still visible through the plastic. And remember, no umbrellas are allowed inside Churchill Falls.
One more note on rain weather wardrobe. Women may want to have cute matching rain boots on hand. Men can now find waterproof versions of their more formal shoes.
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Your goal on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Day is to look like a million bucks no matter if you’re sitting in the grandstand, the illustrious Millionaire’s Row, in the infield or at your house party. But of course, you can spend a lot less than a millionaire if you follow these tips.
It’s true that some women start planning for next year kentucky derby weekend outfit a few days after this one, but don’t worry if you’re just getting started. Wear something colorful, comfortable and pretty and you’ll look like a winner.
Contact Kirby Adams at [email protected] or Twitter @kirbylouisville.