What to Wear to the 2012 Kentucky Derby

April 14, 2012

Heading to Churchill Downs this year for the 2012 Kentucky Derby? If you are like most first timers you have a lot of questions, most importantly what to wear. For starters, your ticket will dictate your attire.  If you will be hob-knobbing with celebrities and socialites in Millionaires Row, your dress code should be more elegant and classic.  A hat is a must, although fascinators are also en vogue.  For the first edition in our Going to the Races series, we will be giving you some tips and tricks of putting your outfit together effortlessly before the big day.

How do you find the perfect hat for the Kentucky Derby? Some start by finding the perfect dress, while others go in search of the perfect hat before putting their outfits together.  There is no right or wrong way but one thing I would suggest is to check with your social network of friends to ensure that no one will be wearing the same hat.  There are a plethora of milliners in the US, especially in New York City and Kentucky, to choose from.  Some of them can create a custom hat for you with advance notice.  You can spend as little as $20 on a floppy hat that you can embellish yourself with silk flowers and ribbons or splurge on a $1200 Philip Treacy creation.

The dress code for the Kentucky Derby isn’t as stringent as that of the Royal Ascot but you still must look presentable and red carpet ready, especially for those paying big bucks for a corporate suite or the Millionaires Row.  It’s alright to wear colorful clothing but remember that the simpler the more elegant.  You can add drama to your outfit with a big hat.  Black and white is always chic and pearls add that classic elegance that is traditional to the derby.

Some of the hats featured in this article are sold by British brands so if you really want them, you will have to order in advance to allow time for shipping.  Keep browsing through for a few simple outfit ideas.  Got questions or need to find that special hat? Feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment.

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