There’s no horsing around when it comes to choosing your Kentucky Derby outfit. Whether you’re heading off to Louisville or throwing a posh party in your living room, you need to pony up for an elegant ensemble. Consider the rich fashion history and tradition behind this horse race when choosing an outfit. Women have worn feminine frocks with eye-catching hats since the race’s inception, while men put out some serious swagger in stylish suits with candy-colored shirts. Add a mint julep to your outfit, and you’re sure to look peachy.
Prepare for Preppy
Pair a vibrant yellow sleeveless sheath with a fitted tangerine-colored cardigan, or wear a teal skirt suit with a simple shell and a strand of pearls. Men look distinguished in brightly colored pants with citrus-colored shirts or seersucker suits with crisp white shirts. Gingham and stripes give a punch to khaki or navy pants, and colorful, tasteful ties are a necessity for the derby. Flamboyance is fine as long as it makes sense.
A Twist on Traditional
Think southern belle when dressing for the derby. Women should keep flirty in the forefront with a well-fitted silhouette such as a strapless dress with a peplum flair or an A-line dress with a fun halter-style top. Men look polished in fitted suits featuring straight-leg pants that stop at the ankles. Pair the suit with a neatly pressed patchwork madras shirt and a canvas belt, and your classic outfit catapults to cool.
A Shoo-In at the Races
Women look put together in a pair of neutral T-strap heels like the Naturalizer Montee or flirty flats with a bow or rosettes on the vamp such as the Adele by Fergalicious. You can also pair your outfit with ultra-feminine heels that feature a dainty toe or ankle strap, such as the Delphine by Report. When men suit up, they should be sans socks. Wear a pair of slip-on penny loafers or tassel wing tips, such as the Atticus by Stacy Adams, and there will be no contest in the fashion race.
Hats Off to Churchill Downs
From feathers and bows to lace and tulle, hats up the ante on your derby outfit. Women love to top each other with a wild, eye-catching pillbox or large-brim hats. Wear a floppy hat with feathers shown off by recent celebs, or a sophisticated electric blue hat, with a veil in front. One caveat: The more intricate and flamboyant the hat, the simpler the dress should be. Men look dapper in demure hats that are solid in color and inspired by the 1920s, such as fedoras, straw hats or cowboy hats.