Kentucky Derby Style: A Day at the Races

By Ashley Hargrove – April 9, 2013

The Kentucky Derby isn’t all about the horses; it’s also a place to see and be seen, especially when it comes to fashion. The best thing about Derby fashion for both men and women is that anything goes. There are the traditional styles that carry over from year to year, such as big hats for women and seersucker for men. Hats at Churchill Downs are said to bring good luck and whether you're in Millionaire's Row rooting on your prized horse or taking a gamble on a long shot, luck is all-important. The race also celebrates the arrival of spring and the season’s lift of the ban on wearing whites for both women and men, even though that fashion faux pas is quickly fading.

Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby for luck is a long-established race fashion among women but over the last few years many men have begun to take part in this tradition as well. Wearing a hat is much like getting into costume; there are no fashion rules or limits. In the clubhouse, men and women of charm and taste sport sophisticated, yet fashionable styles. These hats can be decorated with flowers, feathers, bows, and ribbons of any color to express creativity and individuality. Men's Derby hats are generally solid in color and inspired by styles of the 1920s. Classic seersucker suits, pants in shades of red, green, yellow, and orange, and dress shirts in bright hues are all perfectly fitting for the occasion and gentlemen can top this look off with a colorful neck or bow tie.

The Derby is a unique way to celebrate sports, fashion, style and Southern traditions, but not everyone can attend. What to do if you can't make this spectacular event? Throw your own Kentucky Derby party! Whether you prefer a traditional Derby theme, something a little more modern, or just want friends and family to get together for an afternoon of fun and relaxation, make it a day to remember. The Kentucky Derby is a chance for every woman to express her inner Southern belle, so don't hold back when planning your party hat, especially if you are the hostess or heading out for a night on the town! Invite your friends to dress up in gowns, seersucker suits, and hats, or make the event casual with skirts and flip flops. And it's never too early to practice your own spin on a classic mint julep.
  earlytimesmintjulepThe Early Times Mint Julep Recipe
(served at Churchill Downs)

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep Cups

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

This year’s Kentucky Derby will be run on May 4, 2013 (time and broadcast to be announced).  To place your bets, get party tips, and view photos of celebrities, fashion, cuisine, and—yes—hats, visit

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