Fashion of The Kentucky Derby

By Lizzie Sexton

Hit the track!

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the annual Kentucky Derby is right around the corner. As a Kentucky native, this is my time to shine. Whether you’re attending the horse race at Churchill Downs or tuning in remotely, there’s no harm in preparing. Think of it like reading the program before you place your bet. Derby fashion is truly one of a kind, so here are some ideas to get you in the spirit!

Rain, Rain, Go Away

More often than not, it tends to rain on Derby Day and if not during the day, definitely leading up to the day. This makes the track, infield, etc. extremely muddy and gross. Not ideal conditions for your favorite maxi sundress and sandals. If the weather looks bad, opt for a short dress and rain boots! That way you can stomp in the puddles all throughout Churchill Downs without a care in the world. It’s also super easy to find rain boots in bright pastels for a more springy look. 

Free People, Hunter Play Short Nebula Wellies, $120


Free People, Hunter Play Tall Wellies, $120

Moncler, Blue Loftgrip Ankle Boots, $495

Beat the Humidity

Unfortunately, with rain comes humidity. While most of the track is undercover and racegoers are separated by boxes, if you’ll be in the infield this Derby, definitely dress for high temps. A lot of people crowded in the small center area in the May humidity creates an undesirable environment, to say the least. The best outfit for these conditions is a breezy sundress or romper. And if the sun does decide to shine, don’t forget your sunscreen!

For Love and Lemons, Clementine Mini Dress, $248

Princess Polly, Yara Mini Dress, $62

Reformation, Noha Dress, $148

A Common Misconception

Many people who see the Derby on TV or in the movies think every woman has to wear a hat. This could not be further from the truth. While Derby hats are a long-standing tradition for The Kentucky Derby among women, most young attendees either opt for a fascinator, a headband with a setting on the side, or no hat at all. Though it can be strange to wear a seemingly obnoxious headpiece, it’s fun to try new things, even if they seem wacky. Fascinators come in all different qualities from Amazon to Revolve. With enough dedication, you can even make your own!

Amazon, $18.99

And now you’re set! Though finals and Derby tend to overlap around the same weekend, be sure to take a well-earned break from your studies for the best two minutes in sports. And coming from someone who’s fallen victim to finals on Derby Day, watch parties can be just as much fun. 

Lizzie Sexton

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