Once you have your tickets booked, start planning your outfit right there and then! The shops start stacking their racks with Summer Fashions from February, and online retailers have summer wear all year round, so start planning now. PLEASE, as a Milliner I ask you, “Don’t leave until end April to hectically throw something together and get delivered in time.
The most important element of your Kentucky Derby or Oaks Day outfit is the Hat, and there is a high probability that your perfect Hat will need be handmade to order, with a few weeks MINIMUM to be made." You are likely going to be buying from Overseas (the widest selection of Racing Fashion Hats are by UK or Australian Milliners, where Millinery is worn more often). So, please make sure you plan ahead in time for production and delivery. The other great thing about doing this is that you allow the Milliner to make customizations for you, specific for your outfit. Almost all Etsy, or other independent sellers will work with you to make such customizations. Your Derby outfit can be fun and full of character, less matchy matchy than a Mother of the Bride or wedding guest outfit would be. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your color accents, and build a punchy outfit you wouldn’t normally wear for a formal event. Here are my style tips on how to pull together your Kentucky Derby Day, Oaks Day or Derby Party outfits.
This post includes affiliate links - suggestions of items I've hunted out on the Internet for you. If you see anything you like, click the links and decide to buy the suggestion, then the retailer will give me a little commission (maybe even enough to buy a latte) to thank me.
Yes, I’m a Milliner, so you may think I’m bias! But honestly it’s so much easier to find a dress to go with an already chosen Hat, than to go out and find a hat for a chosen dress. There are zillions and zillions of dresses to choose from across Stores and the Internet but significantly less hats – The Derby is all about the Hat, so find the Hat of your dreams first, without being in the limitations of the dress, and you will be able to find a dress afterwards for sure – I promise.
The Red Rose has been the official flower for Kentucky Derby since 1904 - "Garland of Roses". Each year, a garland of more than 400 red roses is sewn into a green satin backing with the seal of the Commonwealth on one end and the Twin Spires and number of the race's current renewal on the other, and is draped over the winning horse. You don't HAVE to dress in a Garland of Roses, but many will choose to encorporate this flower in their outfits.
For Oaks Day you should think pink - "Lillies for the Fillies". The Stargazer Lily has been the official flower of the Oaks since 1991, when the Kroger Co. was asked to craft a feminine garland for the winning filly in the Derby’s sister race. The stargazer lily was picked to represent femininity and strength. Follow the theme in pink outfits, and hats with the beautiful big pink and white lillies.
It’s so much easier to find a dress to go with an already chosen dream Hat, than to go out and find a dream hat for an already chosen dress.Fact
You can’t go wrong with a sophisticated Floral Dress for the Kentucky Derby, matched with a complimenting large hat, headpiece or fascinator that is of course an essential for your Kentucky Derby outfit. Solid colors, color blocked look great for racing outfits, but, I personally find simple lines and colors worn with big headpieces are more for Royal Ascot. The Kentucky Derby, is more florals in either bold prints or sweet pastels like Mint, Baby Pink, Cornflower / Serenity Blue and Pastel Lilac.
I adore the below outfits for a day at the races. A long A Line skirt in a Bold Floral print is the perfect skirt for a day at the races, and in a print that also features dark shades and black, you can bring those colors in the other pieces too, like the shoes or jacket.
The headpiece and bag keep in the pastel and candy pink tones, especially if going to Oaks Day where pink is the encouraged color.
The Headpiece is: Dress-2-Impress.com. Click to see Floral Headpiece.
Dress is: Parker Black. Click to see Dress.
Nail Polish: Deborah Lippmann. Click to see Nail Polish.
Champagne: Receive, or get bought for you on arrival, and again, throughout the day!
Shoes: Gianvito Rossi. Click to see Shoes.
Bag: Nina Pacey. Click to see Bag.
The headpiece illustrated with this outfit above is available to buy from the www.dress-2-impress.com online shop.Click Here.
Dress is: Coast. Click to see Dress.
Shoes are: Jimmy Choo. Click to see Shoes.
Bag is: Chi Chi London. Click for Bag.
Nail Varnish: Essie. Click for Nail Polish.
The Perfume is: Hugo Boss. Click for Perfume.
I love the fashion-forward combination of a mixing your hues, for a day at the races.
The pastels trend is going nowhere fast, but going all pastels is something most of us haven't attempted since we were 10 years old. Pastels work brilliant with Florals, where you can find multi tonal floral pieces. The outfit below brings in regal purple, ultra violets, and pastels. A winning combination for a Kentucky Derby or Royal Ascot Ladies Day outfit idea.
The headpiece illustrated with the outfit above is available to buy from the www.dress-2-impress.com online shop.Click Here for headpiece
Lilac Dress: St John, Nordstrom. Click to see Dress.
Nude Shoes: Aldo. Click for Aldo Shoes.
Bag: Ebay. Click for Clutch Bag.
Nail Varnish: Deborah Lippmann. Click for Nail Varnish.
Below is a Gallery of other Dresses, and Accessories I've found but not included in the above outfits. All perfect for the Kentucky Derby .