I have loved the Kentucky Derby for a long time – I even had my bridal shower on the same day (4 years ago) and had it as a derby theme! Last year my husband surprised me with a trip to the derby for Christmas and we had the best time. I try not to hype things up in my mind too much in fear of being disappointed, but attending the Kentucky Derby was such a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone.
If you are not able to make it to the derby, but perhaps are attending a derby theme party to view the event, I have some outfit tips for you.
- Always pick the hat first, not the dress. There are limited hat options but endless dresses, it will be much easier to pick the hat first. I got my hat and fascinator for the derby (hat shown above) from Nordstrom and was really happy with it. Hats are something you need to try on before buying since everyone looks different in different styles, and I was so impressed that my local Nordstrom had so many to choose from! I was worried I’d match a lot of other women, but out of thousands of people at the Kentucky Derby, I didn’t see a single other person with my hat. There are more choices in the store than online, so make sure to check it out.
- After you picked out the hat, the dress will be easier to coordinate. A lot times you may have an existing dress that compliments your headpiece, but if you’d like to get something new I’d look for a fun shift or fit ‘n flare style. Longer dresses aren’t really the derby style, so look for something that hits at the knee or right above.
- Add lady-like jewelry and accessories to complete the look. The whole novelty of the Kentucky Derby is that it’s a nod to good ole’ fashion tradition. There’s nothing sleek or modern about it. Play up the lady-like look with pearls, lipstick, and perhaps white gloves.
A photo from Oaks Day (the races on the day before the derby) last year. We were able to see Kiel James Patrick, our favorite Instagrammer. 🙂 I wore a fascinator to the event and paired it with the pink as is the tradition for Oaks Day.
This is a photo from our time at the Kentucky Derby. We sat second row on the finish line, which was cool because Joe’s snap chat of the finish made the official Snap Chat story that day. 🙂
A photo from inside Churchill Downs.
If you’re attending the derby this year, you probably have your hat and outfit picked out but I do have a few tips that I had previously read online and glad I followed!
- Bring a larger purse. I originally wanted to bring a clutch, but am glad I brought a larger purse. It’s a long day and there are some essentials you’ll want to pack. Bring sunscreen with you as you’re in direct sunlight all day, also flip flops for the walk back afterwards, and cash to make buying items easier.
- Wear wedges if you plan on going on the infield at all or are on the infield. We were on the infield for Oaks day and got seats for the Derby, and I was glad to have comfortable wedges on. You do get tired the end of the day and will be thankful for the flip flops in your purse for afterwards.
- Buy water and make sure you stay hydrated. I would even recommend bringing hydration tablets to put in water to help this process. It will help keep your energy up throughout the day so you have a wonderful time.
This photo is from two years ago visiting Green Dot Stables in Detroit for their derby party. Planning on going again this year!
A derby look from a few years ago featuring the hat I wore for my bridal shower (from Brooks Brothers).
Have you ever been to a Derby Party?