Most of the time, sporting event ‘dress codes’ involve team colors and face paint. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good tailgate as much as the next fan. It’s just that the Kentucky Derby is a special weekend for us because it combines spectator sports and sartorial flexing.
Whether you’re down in KY or watching on the big screen, Derby & Oaks festivities are a great chance to flaunt your favorite springtime looks.
The elephant in the room, and almost as big? Hats. Ladies, if you’ve dreamt of adorning your head with an extravagant or elegant lid, this is the time to do it. Flowers, feathers and fantastical themes are more than welcome, so follow your heart and pull out all the stops.
The Derby is the perfect time to debut for that flowy sundress you’ve been waiting to wear. Other great options include pastel pantsuits, printed shirts with a wide spread collar, or a black-and-white ensemble if you want to channel My Fair Lady.
Guys, just because your brims won’t be as wide doesn’t mean you should slack on headwear. A simple straw hat with a colored band can coordinate with the rest of your outfit and have you looking like a real gent. A seersucker suit with a colorful bowtie is a smart traditional option, but consider making a statement with a bold Italian sports jacket.
Our most important advice for your Derby party? Assess the guest list and stock mint julep supplies accordingly. Okay, there are plenty of other priorities for hosting, but this classic cocktail is a must. Use fresh mint and true Kentucky bourbon, lest you jinx your horse’s chances. New-school mixologists might toss in some rosemary or ginger for extra flavor.
Let your guests get creative with a sandwich bar featuring warm biscuits and salty country ham. An array of spreads, from Dijon mustard to raspberry jam, will give plenty of flavor options for this brunchy treat.
For sweet-toothed partygoers or a treat for the winners, serve up one of our favorite bon-bons, the bourbon ball. Try to score some of the originals from Rebecca Ruth, all rich chocolate and crunchy pecan.
The most important part? Picking a horse, of course. Whether your choice is based on sire or silk colors, this is a chance to cheer on an American pastime and celebrate in style. If your pick wins, then you just might have found a lucky outfit.