The highly-anticipated Kentucky Derby is just around the corner and you’ve probably been invited to at least one Kentucky Derby watch party. This invitation may have left you scratching your head as you try to figure out what to wear to such an event. If you’ve never been to one before, a Derby watch party is exactly what the name implies: a daytime party to watch the Kentucky Derby. The best part of the event will obviously be the fashion – the whole intent of this party is to have fun and dress up like you’re headed straight to Churchill Downs for the races!
Kentucky Derby fashion is legendary. Everyone in attendance is dressed to impress. The men wear their finest suits and the women dress to the nines and top off their ensembles with a unique hat or fascinator. The hats come in all shapes and sizes, from the simple and off the rack to the custom-made designs. This means that for your style for any Kentucky Derby watch party, you’ll need a great dress, some fantastic heels and a fabulous hat!
For your dress, I recommend something monochromatic and more conservative that something you would wear to an evening event. Leave the shiny and silky materials in your closet, stick with something more matte, preferably something cotton, which will breathe well if you’re outside in the sun and photograph well in daylight. I love the clementine colored Suzi Chin dress. The skinny belt adds a little interest to the piece and the flared skirt gives it a flattering fit. The crème colored Lace and Pleated Dress by Pim + Larkin is just adorable and a fresh take on that old white eyelet dress. I especially love how well the accordion skirt pairs with the demure lace top.
Shoe wise, I recommend sticking with some lovely wedges that you can easily wear inside and out. Stilettos are harder to wear in someone’s home (they can ruin a beautiful wood floor) and won’t help you fare well on grass if the party moves outside. Now for the most important piece of your Derby day style: your hat! The big brimmed hats are awesome. They add a little bit of drama to your overall look and are especially great if you’re going to be out in the sun. Plus, you can continue to wear them throughout the summer when you head to the beach. I love multi-functional fashion.
This wide-brimmed floppy hat from Nordstrom (left) is perfect for Derby Day. It will mix well with whatever dress you choose, whether it’s a print or solid, colorful or neutral. The Oversized Rosette Floppy Hat by Jessica Simpson is just adorable! The structured flower is fun and the tan and taupe striping reminds me of Julia Roberts’ outfit at the horse races in Pretty Woman. It’s a classic piece.
Finally, the Shell Segal ‘Rachel’ Sun Hat by Laundry has a fun floppy brim and packs a punch of color, it’s the perfect addition to any neutral summer dress you find. It comes in multiple colors, perfect for finding the right addition to your Derby look.