The nation’s most famous horse race is rich in tradition so, think classic with a twist when it comes to men’s Kentucky Derby fashion.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with the typical navy blazer and light colored pants but here’s your chance to crank it up a notch. Understated elegance and fun accessories are perfect for the Derby’s festivities.

Kentucky Derby Fashion: What to wear to the derby

Are you lucky enough to have a seat in a suite? Then a summer suit would be more appropriate. Natural fabrics such as linen, linen blends, silk and cotton are loosely woven to make them lightweight and breathable. Don’t be surprised if you see some “fresco” suits out there. Although 100% wool, they are quite lightweight with highly twisted threads for more durability than linen or cotton.

Spring Fabrics From Scabal For Men's Kentucky Derby Fashion SW Wilson Bespoke & Custom Clothiers

Show off spring’s palette with bright pastels and saturated purple, blue, green and tan spring suits. Create an outfit that has no more than two colors that complement each other.

Scabal Rhapsody purple men's Suit for Kentucky Derby Fashion

Pair a solid colored sport coat with a cotton pinpoint shirt that is gingham or has bold stripes. Add a patterned pocket square and socks with Derby motifs for extra “bling” but keep it in the same color family.

Casual Kentucky Derby Fashion

If you’re in the “cheap” seats and don’t feel like wearing a dress shirt, you can get away with a polo shirt and a sport coat for the most casual look. Pictured is a great window pane check tan suit fabric that we offer from Dormeuil which is perfect for the Derby!

Dormeil Tan Window Pane Check Men's Suit For Kentucky Derby Fashion in Phoenix AZ
Hats in the Belfry Men's Hat For Kentucky Derby Fashion in Phoenix AZ

Derby Hats

If you choose not to wear a dress shirt, you’ll miss out on all the fun bowties but men’s Derby hats are a must. All have sweatbands and some have water repellant finishes…just in case. Choose an inexpensive, seersucker driving cap or a derby-style hat with a round crown and narrow turned up brim for a vintage look.

For a mix of classic and contemporary, choose a fedora with a crease down the center of the crown and a wide rim worn down in front and up in back. Made of straw, cotton, linen or lighter weight felt, they commonly have a decorative band and that all familiar colorful feather.

The important thing is to stay cool and be comfortable—it’s a long day and you’ll be moving around a lot whether it’s cheering for that long shot or waiting in line for another bourbon or mint julep. Whether attending in person or watching amongst friends, you’ll want to be up on the latest Kentucky Derby fashion.

Find more information about the Kentucky Derby held on May 5, 2018.

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