The week of the Kentucky Derby is a spectacle for many reasons. The beauty of the South is found everywhere from our thoroughbreds to the rolling hills of the bluegrass, and never is it celebrated more colorfully than the first Saturday of May.  Amongst all the pageantry and fanfare of the occasion, one thing is for certain: The show-stopping fashion of the Kentucky Derby is like nothing else on earth!

The race’s founder, Colonel M. Lewis Clark Jr., had a vision for an experience that would be both comfortable and luxurious. We feel that his dream has held true to this day in authentic Southern fashion.

While the big race is enjoyed across the globe by up to a staggering 18.5 million viewers worldwide, not all race fans are dressed up for a big day at historic Churchill Downs. Many are hosting soirees of their very own! Here is an inspirational guide to help you decide what to wear to your next party!

Party Fashion Tips

Brunch Social

Here in Louisville, Kentucky we take our brunches quite seriously and they are known to last the better part of the day.  If you have the immense pleasure of being invited to one of these delicious opportunities, it would be a mistake to pass it up!

Express your personal style with something elevated yet easygoing.  Pair with kitten heels and chic accessories for a result that will be appropriately formal, yet relaxed enough for mid-morning.  Consider a fascinator to top it off your look. The smaller headpiece will make it easier to navigate in an environment while dining.

Garden Party

What could possibly be more fit for a Southern Belle? Garden Parties are the perfect occasion for a gingham sundress or other lightweight, breathable fabric. Gravitate towards light and bright color palettes. Extra points for a perfectly themed floral print!  Choose low sandals or a wedge heel for any occasion that you may find yourself taking a stroll through the gardens while sipping mimosas. Last and potentially most important… a wide brimmed sunhat will be the cherry on top.

Backyard Party 

Ah, the comforts of sweet tea, BBQ and homemade pie…  what could be better? The food, the low-key vibe and the outdoor setting is the ideal opportunity to make great memories with family and friends. Comfort is key! Keep things easy and breezy with a tunic and shorts, airy sundress or skirt with a fun top. Low, comfortable sandals will be ideal for backyard games and festivities.  Hats are not expected, but a small sun hat or straw fedora can complete your look.

Formal Soiree

Whether being held in an upscale venue or a private home, this is your opportunity to really play it up big!  If the event is a daytime affair, large, dramatically decorated hats are par for the course. The sky is the limit! If the event is in the evening and potentially going past sundown, choose a fascinator or headpiece that will not obstruct those around you. Pair with a lovely cocktail dress, heels and a clutch for a look worthy of Millionaire’s Row!

What will the dress code for your party be? 

Visit for the Official Style of the Kentucky Derby and to get inspired!