The Kentucky Derby has been called the fastest two minutes in horse racing, but everyone knows that it’s way more about the fashion than the horses. So, how do you pack for your long weekend in the bluegrass state? Don’t worry, I’ve been a Kentucky girl for most of my life, so I’ve got you covered.
Be Prepared For ANYTHING
When you go to Seattle, you expect grey skies and rain. When you go to San Diego, you expect sunshine and comfort. But when you go to Louisville, KY, you have to expect EVERYTHING. It can be 80 degrees and sunny one day and then drop to 40 and grey the next. This means that your wardrobe has to be as versatile as it is stylish. If you’re spending all of Derby Weekend, make sure you have at least one pair of long pants and a cute cardigan or light moto jacket. Also, while open toes and pretty pedi’s are the foot uniform of Derby festivities, make sure you have at least one pair of shoes that cover your feet (and keep them warm) just in case the Ohio Valley weather decides to rear its ugly head.
Layers are always useful in Louisville, KY. This cropped cardigan could be worn over a tank top of sundress to help you be ready for anything!
An umbrella is a necessity. The horses may love the rain, but your hair wont. Pick a see-through model like this one on Amazon so that you don’t hide your fabulous Derby hat!
Pack in the COLOR!
In some cities, the attire for upscale events is all black (and white and grey) all the time, but not at the Kentucky Derby. In Kentucky, we celebrate with bright springtime colors that are meant to get noticed. At Churchill Downs on Derby Day, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone wearing muted hues. So pick a couple of bright colors that look great on you, and rock them!
The Kentucky Derby is all about sophisticated style like this dress, which would look great with a green or white derby hat. It could also be paired with a cute white cardigan if the temperature drops!
Keep a Pair of Flats Handy
If you can’t help yourself but wear high heels to Derby, I get it. But keep a pair of flats–either a great pair of walking sandals or a cute pair of ballet flats–handy in your purse or tote. (Travel Fashion Girl has a great piece on Walking Sandals!). Parking is extremely limited at The Kentucky Derby (The people with the best spots pay big bucks for them) and you are likely to be walking over a mile to the main event. If you are spending the day in the infield, I’d recommend skipping the heels altogether. No matter how long it’s been since the last rain, the infield at Churchill Downs seems to always stay muddy.
Don’t forget your HAT!!
No, I don’t mean that ratty baseball cap that you pull your ponytail through. A good Derby hat is less about practicality, and more about looking fabulous. Find one in a bright color (Stoplight Red is gorgeous but a very common color at Derby) and wear it like a boss. A lot of women at Derby get custom-made hats, which is expensive and time consuming. You can find a great Derby Hat on Amazon for a fraction of the price.