Kentucky Derby: Women’s Style Guide

Trends come and go, but the timeless looks of the Kentucky Derby never fade. When it comes to Derby fashion, formal dresses, clutches, and heels are popular in the stands, while the infield uniform tends to be more laidback — think flowy sundresses, cotton skirts, and colorful shorts. Wearing a hat on Derby day is considered good luck, which is why the infamous horse race is synonymous with lavish cloches and wide brim hats.

Looking for the perfect Derby day outfit to fit your style personality? Whether you’re a casual, bohemian, or vintage-loving lady, let our guide be your source of inspiration for the big day:

Do you love a certain look? Scroll down to read the details on pulling off each ensemble! 

kentucky derby fashionCasual

 For the casual lady, look for a lightweight cotton dress and a statement necklace. A no-frills, wide brim hat and pair of oversized shades will help protect against the sun, and a leather backpack will complement your easy-breezy style, while providing you with plenty of room to stash all of the essentials. Just be sure to check the Churchill Downs website for any bag restrictions!

Bohemian

If you gravitate towards a carefree style, a maxi dress or skirt with a bold pattern is right up your alley. For a free spirit like you, earthy, vibrant accessories will accent this boho-chic look, along with a floppy hat for keeping the sun out of your eyes.

Glam

For the glammed-up gal, Millionaires Row is the place to be. Channel your inner Derby diva with a dress in a classic silhouette that shows off your figure! Add a hint of glitzy, Old Hollywood style with sequins and metallic jewelry. With a pair of white cat eyes, the spotlight will be all yours! Searching for the perfect hat to complete your ensemble? We’re loving this classic B&W beauty!

Southern Belle

While slightly more understated than a glamour girl, the Southern belle is just as elegant — and a lot more girly. Pastels and floral prints paired with feminine details like lace, bows, and pearls work wonders — and don’t forget a wide brim hat for extra charm. Choose a classic A-line skirt or dress that cinches at the waist for a lovely, delicate look.

Vintage

If you’re a vintage kind of gal, try a tea dress, or channel your favorite time period with an era-inspired dress. Whether you’re sporting a curve-hugging dress straight from the ’60s (think Mad Men‘s Joan) or a flapper-inspired dress from the ’20s (think Gatsby‘s Daisy), make sure to add a few modern touches to freshen the look up a bit. And don’t forget a ladylike cloche to top it all off!

Need a little help dressing your date? Check out our tips on men’s Kentucky Derby fashion!