Kentucky Derby Style and Tips for the Race (links included!)

Hello friends! We’re nearing a very special date in May! No, not Cinco de Mayo- Derby Day! This annual event is probably one of the most prestigious things to attend every spring. People come from all over to sport their big hats and bet on their favorite horse. Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend with a friend of mine. We had ourselves a grand ol’ time!

kentucky derby style tips

For me, the fashion was the most exciting party of the day. Shocking since I’m a fashion blogger, isn’t it? The year we went it poured the entire time and we only had infield tickets, meaning that there was no covering or seating. The grand stands would have been lovely if they hadn’t been $600 a ticket. That’s another story though! Anyone who was in the infield inevitably got wet or muddy in some way. The fashion down there was a little lacking, however everyone else looked smashing!

I’m convinced the the best styles there were the most classic. Vineyard Vines is the official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby and for this event they were kind of my go-to for dress ideas. You’ll need something cute to wear during the countless renditions of ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘My Old Kentucky Home’! I’ve included a few of my style favorites for this event below (or a viewing party if you’re attending one!)//shopsensewidget.shopstyle.com/#/?options=%7B%22widgetId%22%3A%22571fc91661d1dd359ed11bc4%22%2C%22version%22%3A1%2C%22pid%22%3A%22uid3025-28872695-82%22%2C%22size%22%3A200%2C%22columns%22%3A3%2C%22rows%22%3A1%2C%22url%22%3A%22https%3A%2F%2Fapi.shopstyle.com%2Fapi%2Fv2%22%2C%22iframeHeight%22%3A275%2C%22iframeWidth%22%3A705%7D
For comfort’s sake, I included wedges instead of stilettos as an option for shoes. You’ll be standing a lot and unless you have a great pair of Manolo’s, the pain in your feet isn’t worth it. However, wedges or a cute little sandal is a suitable, stylish alternative. When I went to the race a few years ago, it rained most of the day and I was so glad I didn’t wear high heels! I would have just sunk in the mud.

Also another little tip- you can’t take anything bigger than a clutch. Security won’t let you in! Given that most people get there before noon and the races don’t start until late in the afternoon, it really sucks. My suggestion is to take a small battery operated phone charger and cord, keep credit cards in the clutch (no wallet) with a few band aids for blisters, and a sample size tube of lipstick and perfume.

If you’re simply going to a viewing party, you’ll luck out with a bigger bag for your stuff! Enjoy!

-Liz

Kentucky Derby 2015 Style

kentucky_derby_outfitHappy hump day lovelies! I’m counting down days until the weekend when all of my fun can start! In the mean time, let’s focus on something important that will be here before we know it: the Kentucky Derby. One of the oldest sporting events in America, this year horse lovers, millionaires, and preppy college students will flock to the racetrack on May 2nd!

In a previous post, I talked about my trip to the Derby in 2013. While it was memorable, I won’t be going back until I can get in an executive club suite to wait for the races to start. For those of you who are going this year, I suggest wearing this new Lilly Pulitzer shift that just came out! Bright, flamboyant colors are very appropriate for this day as ladies (and a few gents) go big or go home for the event. If there’s no rain in the forecast, try wearing espadrille wedges in a muted color like these Jack Rogers. Accessories wise, you can never go wrong with Kendra Scott! These earrings bring out the green in the dress beautifully.

Here’s the most important part of the outfit: the hat. Women wear some pretty incredible hats as part of the Kentucky Derby tradition. As someone who spent more time hanging out with other college-aged girls under the Vineyard Vines tent in the infield, I can tell you that this age group stuck to their monogrammed, wide-brimmed floppy hats. Older age groups wore more eccentric hats. The hat I featured is from The Palm Gifts.

Let me know if you plan on going to the Derby this year! I’d love to know what you’re wearing!

Signature

What to Wear: Kentucky Derby Edition

Tradition with Style!

Kentucky_Derby

Meghan and I at the Derby

One of the most loved traditions in America is the Kentucky Derby. The big hats, mint juleps, mingling, and the fabulous outfits are signature to this revered event. And I was lucky enough to go last spring! I went with a good friend but we weren’t prepared for the true style of the Derby. Being the first timers that we were, we made a few little mistakes. Namely, assuming the general admission meant our seats were in the grand stand (ha, we were in the infield, grand stand seating was $600 a ticket). We had a nice time despite the chilly rain, mud of the infield, and nowhere to sit. It was still a memory worth making! We ended up standing around under a big tent with a bunch of frat boys and sorority girls singing ‘Sweet Caroline‘ with the band that was playing. Shout out to Vineyard Vines for this lovely experience! By the time the race started we were exhausted and wet. And fair warning to anyone thinking general admission tickets will get you a nice view of the race- it won’t! We couldn’t even see the horses except for the 2 seconds they ran by (and that was at a distance of about 150 ft). Anyway, my point in all this is to be prepared! You’ll be glad you were.

Tips for Derby Day

Hunter_bootsFirst off, check the weather. Like I mentioned earlier, it was pouring rain last year and it didn’t stop. Security also wouldn’t let you take umbrellas in so as you can imagine most people were sopping wet. Luckily, my friend and I brought rain ponchos and believe me they were a life saver. If the race gets rained on again this year I recommend a cute pair of Hunter rain boots. I saw several girls (and a few guys) sporting these last year and I was so jealous! Not only did they look adorable even with a nice dress or sport coat, they also kept your feet warm and dry. I wore a pair of nude flats last year (I almost wore heels) but something warmer would have been lovely. This might not be as important if you are in the grand stand or an executive club box but for anyone in the infield its vital!

Secondly, a small clutch is a must! I took a 1930s vintage black clutch that was my grandma’s. Security won’t let you take in a full size bag so a cute clutch is what you’ll have to live with. Put credit cards, lipstick, cell phone, hair spray, and if you plan to sport stilettos, a very small pair of  matching Tory Burch flats (the kind that fold up). This goes for no matter where you’re sitting! 

Third, pick a classic outfit! The guys can get away with a navy blazer, white button up, and nantucket reds. But ladies, we Kentucky_Derby_Hathave a standard to live up to! Last year I found a pink and white dress at a Banana Republic outlet in central Florida (originally $125, I paid $20, little victories!) that I wore. A trend I noticed with most of the women was a classic cut and style. A lot of reds, whites, blacks, tans, and yellows were being pulled off by attendees. There’s a reason for the subtlety and I’ll explain later. 

Fourth, accessories are important. They just are. Gents, a leather watch is really all you need. Ladies, wear pearls. They’re a classic and always will be. Plus, they match almost everything!

Kate_Middleton Finally, the hat! This is the reason for the subtle, classic look women wore. You don’t want your outfit competing with your hat. There are several styles of hats to choose from. A smaller hat like the ones Kate Middleton dons (called a fascinator) are nice if you plan on doing something a bit flashier with your hair. Otherwise, the bigger the better! Bright colors are a must as long as the base of the hat is a solid, subtle color. This isn’t something you need to spend hundreds on unless you’re the wife of someone important or a leading lady yourself. 

Well, that’s all I have for you! Have fun, take pictures, and memorize the lyrics to ‘My Old Kentucky Home‘ (you’ll be glad you did)!

Do you have any tips? Comment, like, and share!

-Liz