Derby Fashion & Pageantry

Pageantry & Kentucky Derby Hats

1875, Opening Day of the first Kentucky Derby...a time when everyone wore hats, and race track patrons wore their finest! Kentucky Derby hats are not only a fashion tradition; they're also said to be good luck!

Known for their wildly extravagant size and vivacious colors, Derby hats can come affixed with exquisite, ribbons, flowers, laces and silks. "The bigger, the better" often seems to be the mantra for the Southern Belles strutting through the grounds of Churchill Downs, dressed to impress, with their lavishly exotic hats.

Derby hats are not only reserved only for the ladies, many a gentleman have come dawning a Derby original or a hand-crafted Derby statement piece!

Derby Attire...What to Wear, What to Wear...

The Kentucky Derby is the style event of the year! For many, the perfect Derby attire may be a life-long dream or, for the more regular Derby goer, an agonizing year of what they will wear to the races to achieve their individual “look”.

Dress Code for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks

It is important to note that, in the majority of the seating areas, you do not have to be “Dressed to the Nines” to be admitted into the races. Here are some great guidelines for achieving the perfect Derby look:

Business casual is required for the The Derby Room:

  • Jackets and Blazers
  • Vests, collared shirts, and sweaters
  • Dresses
  • Pantsuits
  • Slacks

Casual Attire is permitted in the Turf Club, Trophy Room and Millionaires Row:

  • Jackets optional, Blazers
  • Vests, collared shirts, and sweaters
  • Dresses, Pantsuits
  • Slacks, golf shorts, dress shorts, khakis and capris

Denim, jeans, shorts and tennis shoes are not allowed. Torn or frayed clothing is inappropriate and not allowed.

Casual Attire is permitted in all other seating areas, including the Grandstand.

Tips for the Ladies!

While high heels are certainly part of the total Derby ensemble, experienced Derby divas also pack a pair of fashionable yet comfortable flats or flip flops to wear home. Who says the high price of fashion has to include blisters?

Derby Experiences is here to make sure you have the best style when entering Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. We put ourselves up to the task of creating a Kentucky Derby® hat for our upcoming trip to Louisville.

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