Southern Chic: Kentucky Derby Style


The Kentucky Derby brings to mind thoughts of galloping hooves, mint juleps, the Garland of Roses and "My Old Kentucky Home." However, what truly sets the Derby ahead of the pack for many is its elegant fashion tradition. Read on to learn more about how to execute spot-on Kentucky Derby style with a little help from Nantucket Brand.

Ring that Southern Belle

While the racing is exhilarating, many attendees don't see much action; instead, they prefer to congregate in the infield for another type of spectator sport: people watching. The sartorial selection rarely disappoints: from bold colors to crazy hats, "restraint" is not part of the Kentucky Derby vocabulary. The only hard and fast rule is that there are no rules, although typically those with reserved seats -- in the clubhouse, grandstand, suites and other areas -- dress more formally than the party-seekers below.

Our pick for the ultimate in easy, breezy Kentucky Derby style? The Seersucker Shift Dress1. In crisp, classic blue, this sophisticated frock is a serious style standout. The Women's Cable Tennis Sweater2, meanwhile, nostalgically nods at classic Americana thanks to its timeless design and patriotically hued accents.

Dapper Duds

But getting fancy isn't just for the ladies at the Kentucky Derby. Men also have the chance to unleash their inner dandies in everything from immaculately tailored khaki suits to jaunty seersucker. Vibrant colors and playful patterns deliver true standout style, like Nantucket Brand's selection of festively colored Madras Shorts3. We also adore the goes-with-anything savoir-faire spirit of the lightweight yet substantive White Men's Linen-Cotton Button Down Sport Shirt4.

Tie One On

Whether you're knotting up a bon vivant Kiel James Patrick necktie5, embracing whimsy with one of Loren Hope's fanciful pieces6, or donning a pair of candy-colored Knockaround glasses7, smart accessorizing is the key to fashionable Kentucky Derby dressing for both men and women. And don't forget footwear: laid-back ladies can show off their pedicures in a pair of casual-chic Eliza B sandals8, while both men9 and women10 can follow in a thoroughbred tradition with Category 5's luxe loafer collection -- worn sockless, natch.

Top Down Style

The crowning glory to any Kentucky Derby ensemble? A topper! From jockey caps to feathered fascinators, anything goes at Churchill Downs. Casual men can put a lid on it with one of Harding-Lane's brightly hued caps11, while scene-stealing leading ladies seek out bow-bedecked, wide-brimmed beauties.

A refreshing mint julep may run a close second, but the ultimate accessory to any Kentucky Derby look comes from within: confidence. So whether you're headed to Churchill Downs or hosting a Kentucky Derby bash of your own, a little Southern swagger gives you the inside track on that rose-bedecked victory lap.

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