It might be the most exciting two minutes in sports but the Derby is also one of the best parties you'll ever attend. (I should know) Going to the Derby is something every horse lover or fashion lover should do at least once because it is at the Derby where the two worlds collide and there's just as much excitement around the hats as the horses. (If we are being totally honest, it is really just another excuse invented by Southerners to drink bourbon in the middle of the day without people thinking you're a big lush.)
THE FASHION: Whether you are wearing a giant, custom creation costing a month's salary or sporting a fashionable fascinator that you made yourself, (you know, that little "sprig" of a headpiece made popular by the Duchess of Cambridge) the hats are always part of the fun at Kentucky Derby parties. The more outrageous and over the top the hat is, the better. I've seen hats with all sorts of crazy embellishments and some so tall, I don't know how the person walked around. See more fashion tips and crazy hats on KentuckyDerby.com
Having been in the fashion/wedding industry for most of my life and a horse lover to boot, people always ask for my help with getting their Derby day look together, whether they are partying at home or lucky enough to be at Churchill Downs.
If you are going to the actual Derby, here are a few fashion tips:
1. Don't wear spiked heels. You will sink into the grass or stumble on the pebbles. Select a thicker heel, a platform, or a wedge instead. This is especially important if you're in the infield where it is all grass. Be sure to ask your host exactly where you'll be sitting... just in case you aren't.
2. Bring a purse with essentials: a small umbrella, wipes, sunscreen, those little toothpaste loaded brushes, a band-aid or two, and of course, your normal essentials like lipstick and powder to freshen up. I also keep a large zip-top bag in my purse in case it rains or gets incredibly humid. My Hermes scarves are my prized possessions so I zip them up if one rain drop hits my head.
3. Bring a scarf or a wrap in case the sun shifts. It can get chilly in the later part of the day.
4. Have a designated meeting point and time in case you get separated from your peeps. The phones don't always work well at Churchill Downs. Stuff a battery charger in your bag so you don't run out of battery after all the selfies and Instagram posts.
So... below are some of the looks I pulled together for friends this year... I do have the designer names if you want them. Take a look through them and see if you can guess which one is mine! Post your favorites in the comments and I'll know what to wear on Saturday! Hope you have a happy Derby Day!
DETAILS: The Kentucky Derby is run in Louisville, Kentucky at Churchill Downs. You can find start times, contenders, wagering, and everything else you need to know from the Kentucky Derby website. Go there...
DECOR: So simple. Red roses and pretty silver containers and trays.
MENU: According to my good friend, fellow foodie, Louisville resident, and Derby girl Traci Badenhausen, here's the perfect Kentucky Derby menu...
Here are links to some of my favorite party recipes to make hosting your own Derby Day party so easy and a link to Jennie Benedict's Benedictine Spread!
AUTHENTIC KENTUCKY DERBY MERCHANDISE: If you order now, you might still get your licensed Kentucky Derby merchandise like caps and silver mint julep cups before post time. Here's the link to all things Kentucky Derby.