Whether you’re attending or just throwing a themed party, the Kentucky Derby (and many other horse-themed events) have a very iconic fashion code.
The official Kentucky Derby website says it best:
In the reserved seating areas (grandstand, clubhouse, suites and corporate hospitality areas), ladies typically wear pastel-colored suits, frilly dresses or bold separates that coordinate with their Derby headwear and accessories.
I think finding a hat is the hardest part of putting together a Derby outfit, so I definitely recommend starting with the hat and then thinking about the rest of your outfit.
Again, from the official website:
Most often in this case, matching the dress (or outfit) to your hat involves personal preference, however keep a few things in mind in getting dressed:
* If your hat is having a pattern party, keep the dress design simple.
* If the hat is simple and elegant, keep the outfit simple also for a classy look.
* If you want a funky outfit, keep it consistent and accent the hat most of all!
* If you have long hair, showcase a ponytail slightly to side or keep it down to one side to highlight the color on your face.
I’ve never been to the Derby (but it’s on my bucket list!), but I have attended several equestrian events here in Virginia. (I live near Middleburg, VA which is the heart of horse country.) I know special events tend to make you feel like you need heels, but absolutely do not wear high heels. You’ll be on your feet all day and walking through grass–the last thing you want is your heels to keep sinking into the ground!
I would recommend finding a beautiful pair of flats, but if you need the height, then look for a wedge with a very broad base.
Lastly, I would keep it classy. No super tight or low-cut or short dresses. Despite the presence of certain reality TV stars and other “celebrities” at the Derby, this is still a traditional, classy event.
Here are a few outfits to inspire your Derby Dressing! I included a lot of items from Vineyard Vines because they are one of the official sponsors of the Kentucky Derby.
If you still need inspiration, here are some pics from the official Vineyard Vines Derby look book!