Tradition with Style!
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
First 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 have 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!
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!