Dressing for the Derby

The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.

So, you’re headed to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby and the Run for the Roses. Two words: super jealous. For the last 8 months I have been talking about the Kentucky Derby to anyone who will listen, so like 5 people. I wanted to go for my 30th Birthday, but with a packed May schedule, full of photo shoots and meetings, and friends who were less than excited about the idea, it looked like it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe next year. Or better yet, I’ll hold out for the Royal Ascot. Yes, good plan.

Anyway, by now, hopefully, you have done some research and have a little knowledge of what to expect for the day… because I can’t really help you on that subject.

But what to wear? Oh, that is where I can help you.

For The Ladies

1. Wear a hat
You may feel like a moron wearing one, but you’ll feel like a huge idiot not wearing one. It can be simple or grandiose, an elegant fascinator or a quirky sunhat, just make sure to have one perched atop your head. End. Of. Story.

 Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - The Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Derby Fashion, Derby Hats

2. Wear a dress
If your hat is the focus, keep the dress simple. If you are rocking a killer dress, wear a classy hat. Wearing jeans and sweater is as bad as wearing white to a wedding; no one will kick you out but you’ll feel like a royal prat. Lastly, don’t forget to wear layers. That first Saturday in May has been known to have scorching sunshine and chilly snowfalls.

3. Wear Heels
But bring flats! Unless you find hobbling on cobblestone fun and you like sinking into the grass, bring flats. Depending on where you are sitting (ie: General Admission seats are in a big grassy field) you will be swapping out your heels for flats sooner than you think. Plus, after a long day on your feet, stepping into flats = heaven.

4. Simple Jewelry
Since the Derby is all about the hat, keep your jewelry simple and understated. There’s no need to look like a Christmas tree on drugs, tottering around attracting every flying creature within sight.

5. Bring 2 Bags
Bring a chic clutch to house your betting money and lipstick. Have a stylish tote to store all those just-in-case items including those aforementioned flats.

A few important tips

1. Unless you are a member of the British Royal Family, do not perfectly match your hat, dress and shoes (Coco Rocha).

Grand Rapids lifestyle, style and fashion blogger and designer - The Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Derby Fashion, Derby Hats

2. Think preppy pastels and playful prints. This will keep your outfit looking young and fresh and not like you raided your great Aunt’s closet.

3. Keep black to a minimum.

4. Match your man. If you are wearing a sky blue dress, have him sport a pastel bowtie with pops of blue. Avoid looking like you took extra fabric from your dress and made him a tie.

5. Mind your manners. Having a big hat with a wide brim is all fun and games until the person in front of you blocks your view or pokes your eye out in the crowded clubhouse. Please always remember your Southern manners and be mindful of your neighbors.

For The Men
Some men sport 1920s-style hats, but headgear isn’t as popular for men as it is for women. What is important for men is color and fabric. Classic seersucker suits, creamy white sport coats, colorful silk bow ties, and bright pastels for days.

Enjoy your Derby experience and the fastest two minutes in sports.

Spring Trend: Wallflowers

“Florals? For spring? Ground breaking.” Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada

Never has the concept of florals for Spring felt fresher: Big and beautiful or minute and abstract, this season, flowers are boldly feminine and here to stay.

Spring Trend: Floral

1. Maxi Dress
2. Mini Skirt
3. Pencil Skirt
4. Cardigan
5. Sweater
6. Pleated Skirt
7. Short Sleeve Blouse
8. Blouse
9. Skater Dress