A Woman's Guide on How to Dress for the Kentucky Derby®

Posted by Jaclyn Harris on Thu, Apr 3, 2014

The Kentucky Derby® is one of the flashiest events of the year, and you should dress accordingly. We are going to help you plan the perfect Kentucky Derby® outfit so when the first Saturday in May rolls around you’re ready.

Read on to get an idea of how you should dress for the Derby this year, and don’t forget to bookmark the page so you can come back to it when you’re packing your bags in a few weeks!

The Gentleman's Guide on How to Dress at the Kentucky Derby»

It All Starts with the Hat!

First up on your Kentucky Derby® fashion must-have list is an famous Derby hat! Horse racing draws in a unique and high fashion crowd, and since American horse racing is drawn from its British ties, there is a large amount of pageantry aligned with the sport. There is just as much interest regarding who's attending the race and what they wore as there is about the actual race!

So what does this mean? It’s time to bring out your most elegant attire and polish it off with a hat!

Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby® will not only add an extra something to your outfit that will help you fit in around Churchill Downs®, but it’s also a great way to show your creativity! All kinds of hats are seen at the Derby; hats donned with ribbons, bows, flowers, tulle, frills and flowers alike can all be seen inside Churchill on Derby day. And remember, the bigger the better!

Not to mention, your hat will work dual purposes to protect you from the Kentucky sun while you’re outside at the track on race day.

Hats at the Kentucky Derby

What to Wear!

Women’s Kentucky Derby® fashion continues to change with the ages and becomes more modern year after year. But with that said, there’s always a sense of class and elegance to the attire to keep with the tradition of the Kentucky Derby®.

Whether you’re in the mood to wear a maxi dress, short dress, flowy skirt, pencil skirt, pants or a romper, they will all be seen at the Derby. However, there are two things to remember when picking your outfit:

  1. Pick something cool and comfortable – the Kentucky Derby® is held in May so the weather is likely to be warm, and once you get to the track, changing isn’t an option. You’ll want to make sure you select an outfit that you’ll be comfortable wearing all day.
  2. Plan around your Kentucky Derby® hat – don’t forget that your hat is your biggest feature at the Derby! Spring patterns are fun, but you’ll want to select an outfit that doesn’t contrast with your hat. When in doubt on whether or not your outfit goes with your hat, it’s safer to go with solid colors.

If you're also attending the Kentucky Oaks ®, include the color pink in your outfit choices!

Kentucky Derby Fashion

Don’t Forget to Accessorize!

Accessories are a big part of dressing for the Kentucky Derby® to complete your outfit! When choosing your accessories, it’s important to remember to compliment your outfit and don’t select anything too loud and draws attention away from your main accessory, your hat.

You'll want to bring small purse to hold your personal items nothing too big that you won't want to carry all day, sunglasses and jewelry! When selecting your jewelry, it should make a statement, but not pull focus.

Lastly you'll want to think about what you want to put on your feet. When you’re seeking an outfit that screams class, it’s natural to want to pair it with your best pair of heels. However, Churchill Downs® is a large track and you’re guaranteed to be on your feet all day long, so search for shoes that go great with your outfit, but also offer comfort. Opt for a pair of flats or wedges that will be kinder to your feet than stilettos. If you are determined to wear those pumps, purchase some gel insoles to add cushion throughout the day. Trust me, your feet with thank you!

Kentucky Derby Fashion

You are Kentucky Derby® Ready!

Show Off Your Style at the Kentucky Derby® 2018

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