Pink sports coats, feather bow ties and classic fedoras with satin ribbon accents.
The way men dress for a day at the historic Churchill Downs racecourse has become as fashionable as their female counterparts. While we know a few women who start planning next year’s Kentucky Derby outfits as soon as the winning thoroughbred crosses the finish line, in the last decade or so, men have also started taking the time (maybe not worth 365 days) to create a look. elegant worthy of the most exciting two minutes in sport.
“In addition to being the most famous horse race in the world, the Kentucky Derby is also a giant fashion show,” fashion expert Jo Ross told The Courier Journal. “Men show up as much as women in the fashion department.”
Having dressed women, men and couples attending the Kentucky Derby for decades, Ross expects the 148th Kentucky Derby race to produce more jaw-dropping than ever now that fans are returning en masse to Churchill Downs, which is allowing a captive crowd for the first time in two years due to the pandemic.
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Based on Kentucky traditions and the trends of New York Fashion Week designers, five-time Kentucky Derby featured milliner Ross and Christine Moore evaluate the best trends for men ahead of the rose rush.
The difference between fedoras, boaters and panama
The well-dressed gentleman understands that a hat is more than just an accessory to keep the sun out of your eyes.
“Men’s hats are extremely popular at races in Louisville, Lexington, Del Mar Pimlico or Belmont,” Moore told the Courier Journal. “I travel the runway all year round and today men buy hats as a fashion accessory with ribbons around the crown that tie to the bow tie, sport coat or shirt. They also accent the hats with small feathers tucked into the ribbon to add a a little more pizza “.
Straw fedora is the most popular style you will see in Churchill Downs. This type of hat is typically folded lengthwise in the center of the crown, then “pinched” near the front on both sides.
You can further break the fedora down to a wide, regular and “stingy” brim. The “trilby” has a narrower brim often curled at the edges, along with a more compact but taller hair. The “pork pie” is a round hat with a raised brim and a flat crown.
Some men will opt for a yachtsman. This style is a men’s summer formal hat made from stiff sennit straw. It features a stiff brim, flat top, and wide grosgrain band that is often striped or solid black for traditional formal summer occasions.
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Moore suggests trying out different styles to determine what your best look looks like, and it coordinates with the rest of your outfit.
What colors should men wear for the Kentucky Derby?
The weather is Generally starting to heat up when the Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May, so you’ll want to dress up for the occasion. Replace your sweatpants with something lighter and more breathable in hot weather, like white chinos or linen pants.
Once you’ve nailed the comfortable fabrics, it’s time to add the vibrant color trends of Spring 2022.
“I’ve never seen so many bright, fun colors in stores,” Ross told The Courier Journal. Designers aren’t shy with their color palate for 2022. You may find suit jackets or pants in bright pink, lime green, purple, popping blue, sunset orange, and electric yellow.
Total white is another popular trend for 2022. If you think you can keep your whites white all day, Ross suggests pairing a jacket and pants with a floral or paisley shirt, a pocket square and a pair of festive socks for a pop of color.
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“There are so many bright socks in stores right now, you might as well have fun and wear a pair that will add some color,” said Ross. “In Louisville, you can find horseshoe socks, mint Julep and red roses in a rainbow of colors.”
Because men can’t go wrong with a Kentucky Derby seersucker suit
Expect to see a sea of this quintessential southern fabric on the track. Seersucker suits in baby blue, sage green, soft yellow, pink or red with white stripes are a comfortably light tradition that you’ll also find in shorts, pants, and jackets.
Alternatively, swap your traditional seersucker for something eye-catching like a patterned jacket and pants. You can also add a fresh touch to your Kentucky Derby ensemble with bright pants in coral, blue or purple paired with a horse-themed or patterned sports coat.
“The designers offer so much detail in the patterns and accents this year in their fashion,” Ross told the Courier Journal. “It’s almost as if everything is fine and what better place to embrace that fashion than at the Kentucky Derby where the sky is the limit.”
Coordinate your Kentucky Derby outfit with a partner or friend
Coordinating the components of your outfit with your partner is a trend that continues to gain popularity at the Kentucky Derby.
“People are dressing up as couples,” Moore said. “The man’s bow tie might match his wife’s hat or his fedora might coordinate with her charmer, which is a good choice because they’re both small.”
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The milliner said bow ties continue to be a big trend in race day style and have become a fashion staple at Churchill Downs year-round.
Are you headed to races with a group of friends or your family? It is not uncommon to see well-dressed packs of race fans wandering the paddock, inside the pitch and sitting together in a trackside box. Friends communicate in advance of competitions, making clothing choices based on color themes and accessories.
“People are counting on the Kentucky Derby to be a fashion show and part of the fun of the day is seeing how everyone else is dressed,” Moore said.
How to buy your Kentucky Derby outfit without spending a lot of money
Not everyone wants to invest several hundred dollars in a bright sports coat that they will likely only wear once a year. You can still dress fashionably for much less by simply accessing yourself with a fun bow tie, boutonniere with lapel, embroidered belt, handkerchiefs, or a light floral or patterned shirt. All of that can cost a lot less than a $ 800 jacket or tracksuit.
Whether you’re dressing to sit on a stage at Churchill Downs or to attend a themed party at someone’s home, what you wear should reflect your personality. Above all, remember that the Kentucky Derby is an event where you can have fun putting your outfit together and the rest of the day will fall into place.
Reach out to Kirby Adams at email@example.com or Twitter @kirbylouisville.