Kentucky Derby Weekend

Kentucky Derby style with friends.

A couple of weeks ago, I checked off one of my fashion, bucket list experiences.  Yep, I was smelling roses, sipping mint juleps, and of course, showing off my style at the 145th Kentucky Derby.  At the invite of my fashionista cousin, Sonya Jenkins, Publisher and Editor at Sonya’s Spotlight Web Magazine, I had a behind the scenes access to all the Derby had to offer.  As a newbie, this is what I found out.  Essentially, the day of the Derby there is 12 races with a big race that occurs around 6 PM.  While the track has tons of action, the infield, stands, and private suites are where you can see all the fashions. 

All styles are a go at the Kentucky Derby. I saw divas in elegant gowns with cowboy boots underneath, and handsome dudes sporting floral three-piece suits and cigars.  Of course, the show stopper of the day were the HATS.  A guide for picking a hit – the bigger, the better.  The Kentucky Derby is not a time to be shy. 

A tip that I got was just as there is Rent the Runway for evening wear; there is a Rent the Races ( for rim hats and fascinators. I also was impressed by the number of individuals that got creative with fake flowers, feathers, and boas.  Tip:  the Dollar General is a great spot to grab these items.  While you are there, pick up a glue gun to give your design a professional look.  However, my Derby veterans all knew about Dee’s Hats (5045 Shelbyville Rd., Louisville, KY) for the most elaborate, head-turning hats.  Just in case you were wondering, Dee does a massive sale the day after the Kentucky Derby.  

Coming up roses at the Derby…

These are my tips on how to max your style on Derby Day.

  1.  Since the majority of the day is spent outside, I recommend that you wear an outfit that is comfortable like a flowy sundress or even a jumpsuit.  There were quite a few fashionistas with jumpsuits in vibrant colors like fuchsia.  While I am a red fan, Pink was the dominant color of the day.   
  2. Accessories are welcomed.  To add pop to your look, try a long string of pearls or go fancy with a pair of dress gloves.  Remember, you want people to stop and say WOW.
  3. Footwear is key.  Whether you are in the stands, strolling the perimeter or enjoying the Turf Club, wear shoes that will allow you to be comfortable and stylish.  It also doesn’t hurt to keep a pair of flip flops in your bag.
  4. Security will not allow you to bring in umbrellas, so PONCHOS are a must.  In talking with my Louisville peeps, rain tends to fall during the Derby.  Be prepared.
  5. Lastly, have fun with your look.  Everyone at the Derby is very complimentary, so make the most of it.  Go big or go home

Fashionistas, see you at the Kentucky Derby next year.   

Jacqui J

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