The dress code for the Kentucky Derby is deceptively simple: Wear your best, boldest hat or fascinator with a cute little dress. (Or, if you want to try something a little different, a floral jumpsuit.) The race, which takes place in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 150,000 attendees every year, not to mention countless TV viewers all over the country, and it's a chance for guests to show off their best springtime looks.
If you're not sure what to wear on race day, I've put together five outfits for the event. The ensembles even work for polo matches, should you want to channel your inner Kate Middleton, or your couch if you're feeling fancy. Even better, if you take out the hats and fascinators, you can wear any of these outfits to that spring/summer bridal shower or wedding.
It might feel a little dangerous to wear a white dress to a Derby (stains! spills!), but nothing will feel more feminine and springtime appropriate than a crisp white ensemble. The dress on the left has all those feminine and preppy details the event calls for. This look will also serve as the perfect backdrop for pastel accessories like blush-colored sandals or a pink Cult Gaia handbag.
Over 150,000 people attend the Kentucky Derby IRL, so to stand out you’ll have to dress in your boldest springtime prints. Enter this Rhode Resort dress with its oversized marigold floral designs. You’ll be spotted from a mile away. Pair with a floppy hat that says “you’re blocking my sun,” and everyone will take note, making a path for you to walk by. Espadrille sandals and a woven clutch add the finishing touches to your sunny outfit.
Though wearing your brightest brights to a race is suggested, you can still get away with an all-black look. (The classic hue works for any occasion, including races.) Keep it classy with a square neckline dress and make sure your hat or fascinator has some combination of feathers and lace or other embellishments. This will give your dark outfit some extra style points.
A smart jumpsuit works just as well, if not better than a dress, for the day's activities. This strapless piece from Zimmermann checks off all those Southern Belle vibes for race-day attire. It's sweet and feminine without feeling overly cutesy. Top it off with a floral pink hat to match the print on your one piece.
You'll find the middle ground between vibrant florals and plain black with this navy dress. The romantic lace keeps it Derby-appropriate while the darker hue looks classy. The statement piece in this outfit will be the blue hat, which almost perfectly matches the dress. It has the tiniest pop of pink for color and style. Accessorize with black accessories and take your seat to enjoy the race.
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