What to Wear to the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is an exciting event for horse lovers; however it is also a very big social outing for Louisville residents and horse lovers from around the country. The most popular horse race in the United States, the Kentucky derby is one of the oldest also. It is the first of the three races that make up the Triple Crown and is an annual event. This race that is held the first Saturday of May has its own share of traditions which are not just about the horses. It is imperative that you know about these traditions if you plan to take it in this spectacular event.

Fashion is a huge part of the Kentucky Derby. Just about everyone who is everyone, even celebrities, come out to see this exciting 2 minute race. The rest of the time they are socializing, seeing what others are wearing and being seen. Therefore you must dress for the Derby. For men, the race is definitely a suit and tie occasion. In fact, the man who is not wearing a suit and tie is conspicuous because of that fact. Many gentlemen gravitate towards summer weight suits and lighter colors than one would wear for work. Tuxedos and bowties are also seen in the Millionaire’s Row section of Churchill Downs.

For women, fashion is a little more complicated, as usual. Women attending the Kentucky Derby will of course wear cocktail dresses for the occasion. However, beyond this it is a commonly known fashion guideline that those dresses must be sleeveless. Typically this provides comfort for a warm Kentucky spring day, however even if the day is unseasonably cold, fashion dictates that you wear a sleeveless dress regardless. Those years when there is wind and rain on the day of the big race, there are many ladies who are quite chilly.

The biggest fashion trend for women attending the Kentucky Derby is the wearing of wide brimmed hats. In fact for many people the wider the brim the better, but it definitely has to match the rest of the outfit. Big ribbons and bows add interest and details to the derby hat. Getting dressed for the Kentucky Derby is akin to preparing for a summer wedding. You must be dressed up and comfort is sacrificed. You’ll be standing in those high heels that go perfectly with the sleeveless dress for hours despite how quickly the race is finished.

Whether you are looking forward to enjoying a mint julep or two from a souvenir glass or a bowl of burgoo, the tradition Derby stew made of pork, chicken, beef and vegetables, you must be dressed for the occasion. The Kentucky Derby is recognized far and wide as a major social event and as such attendees must dress appropriately. You never know who you will see there.

Get started now looking for that perfect suit and tie for the men and the irresistible sleeveless dress and wide-brimmed hat for the ladies. You’ll blend in seamlessly with the other well-dressed horse racing fans at Churchill Downs on that lovely first Saturday in May.

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