What to Wear to the Kentucky Derby? 50 Outfit Ideas

The “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” season is finally here! Everyone must feel the atmosphere, experience, and traditions that make the Kentucky Derby so unique and memorable for the attending. But how to dress for the Kentucky Derby to make a lasting impression?

We’ve already talked in detail about What To Wear At The Races, but Kentucky Derby deserved a post of its own according to our editors, so here we are!

Dressing up for the derby is a sport in itself. You want to look unique, stylish, and comfortable simultaneously. Most attendings bring their A-game to the derby so it only makes sense for you to bust out all your special moves and rock your outfit!

After all, you will be making tons of memories at this event so make sure looking back on your pictures is worthwhile! You will find people dressed in the craziest yet classiest outfits, trying various drinks and enjoying fireworks, singing, dancing, and having the time of their lives.

What Attire to Wear to the Kentucky Derby?

This occasion is all about serving your finest looks and wearing clothes you have stashed away in the back of your closet for a special occasion. Dressing for men and women is different, but the fancy aspect remains constant. Do not worry because I am here to guide and take you through all the necessary steps.

All the beautiful ladies, it is time to channel your southern belle! A nice sundress, cocktail, midi, or maxi dress is the perfect pick. You can make it fancier by opting for vibrant shades and prints. You can also serve major looks by wearing a pantsuit and jumpsuits. And of course, the hat, which I personally love so a little disclaimer – I will be talking a lot about it!

Business formal is the best way to describe how men are supposed to dress up the Derby. A polished pantsuit that exclaims boldly is the way to go. You want to opt for bright colors, tropical prints, and plaid while keeping things trendy. A vest and pant set will look right on brand for the event!

Styling Tips for Her

  • You can plan your entire outfits around your hat. Skipping it is out of the question because you would be missing out on the experience. Thus, if your hat is bright, bold, and statement-worthy, keep your outfit simple & straightforward to contribute to the uniqueness of the hate.
  •  Opt for a smaller fascinator that can be clipped or attached to a headband if you have short hair.
kentucky derby outfits tips 1
  •  Pull your hair back in an elegant bun or side ponytail to make the hat the statement piece of your fit.
kentucky derby outfits tips 2
  •  Wedge-heeled sandals are your best bet for staying comfortable and classy simultaneously. If you wish to wear stilettos or other kinds of heels, go for it! You can keep a pair of flats or flip-flops in case your feet get tired from standing around all day long.
kentucky derby outfits tips 4
  •  I always preach accessories can make or break your outfit, and similar is the case here! You can elevate your look to the next level by opting for the appropriate accessories that complement your outfit. Keep it simple and dainty if your clothes and hat are doing all the talking. Contrarily, you can go all out with bold earrings and necklaces if your dress and hat are simple, demure, and soft.
kentucky derby outfits tips 3
  •  When planning an outfit, think bold and outside the box. Unusual prints and colors are most likely to be a hit if executed correctly!

Styling Tips for Him

  • It is probably for the best to leave your jeans behind. Instead, opt for breathable fabrics, including linen, cotton, and seersucker.
  •  If you plan on wearing shorts, complete your outfit with a fancy blazer or suit jacket, or at the very least polished vest.
kentucky derby outfit tips for men 1
  •  You can get as creative as you want when choosing your suit. You will find a huge variety of prints, and colors when choosing your suit. Head on to Vineyard Vines or Shinesty to find the suit of your dreams. And maybe even match with your significant other!
kentucky derby outfit tips for men 2
  •  Make sure to add character and finishing touches to your outfit with the appropriate accessories! You can go for unique watches, suspenders, ties and bowties, lapel pins, sunglasses, and belts. The options are endless!
kentucky derby outfit tips for men 3
  • If all else fails and you can not decide upon an outfit for the life of you, opt for a pinstriped suit, and you are good to go! Pair it with a bright-colored shirt if the suit is neutral, or make it pop with complementing accessories and shoes to blend right in.
  • Please make sure to keep a handsome amount of cash on you. You might end up placing bets or buying snacks and beverages.
  • Kindly go through this list of prohibited items at the venue before you leave for the races!

Women’s Outfits

50 – English Tea Party Meets Kentucky Derby in Pastel Hues & Delicate Embroidery


49 – Opt for Brightly Colored Stripes to Stand Out in the Summer Sun


48 – Do Not Forget to Carry Flats to Swap Those Heels

kentucky derby women's outfits 15

47 – Add a Bright Red Lip to Contrast Against the White Jumpsuit

kentucky derby women's outfits 14


46 – Go All Out in Various Shades of Pink for the Oaks Day!

kentucky derby women's outfits 13


45 – Swap the Sandals for a Pair of Heeled Cowboy Boots to Show Off


44 – Match Sparkly Shoes & Accessories to Make this Outfit Stand Out

kentucky derby women's outfits 12


Shop the dress below:

Marta Mini Dress

43 – Opt for a Solid & Bold Dress & Pair it With a Hat in Complementing Shades

kentucky derby women's outfits 11


Get the look:

Kentucky Derby Hat

Draped Skirt Knit Dress

42 – Get Extra Fancy & Add Opera Gloves to Truly Stand Out

kentucky derby women's outfits 10


Scalloped Mini Dress $160.00

Evening Gloves in Champagne $12.99

41 – If Hats Are Not Your Thing, This is the Way to Make a Statement


40 – Maroon, White & Black is a Match Made in Heaven!

kentucky derby women's outfits 10

39 – Add Uniqueness With an Eyelet Dress

kentucky derby women's outfits 9

38 – A Pearl Choker Exudes Just the Right Vibes

kentucky derby women's outfits 8

37 – Add a Fun Scarf to the Bag to Make the Look Brighter

kentucky derby women's outfits 7


36 – Pair a Bright Yellow Hat With a White Plaid Fit to Stand Out


35 – This Floral Dress is How You Slay at a Derby!

kentucky derby women's outfits 6


Rosalind Dress $370.00

Twist Strap Mule Sandal $54.60

34 – This Orange Number is the Perfect Way to be Distinct

kentucky derby women's outfits 4

33 – Swap the Printed Clutch for a Shimmering Silver One to Complete the Look


32 – Choose a Hat that Matches the Colors of Your Dress Perfectly

kentucky derby women's outfits 4


31 – Lime & Pink is a Combination That Always Slays!

kentucky derby women's outfits 3


30 – Printed Blazers & Flared Pants are the Way to Go if Dresses Do Not Work For You


29 – The Accessories Elevate This Fit to an Entirely Different Level

kentucky derby women's outfits 2


28 – Get Comfy & Stylish in a Complementing Scarf & Pant Set

kentucky derby women's outfits 1

27 – Swap the White Crop Top for a Blouse with Collar Details


Couple Goal Moments

If you like coordinating your outfit with your S/O then you must check out these Celebrity Couples Matching Outfits.

26 – Go All Out With the Prints to Match Your Boo & Exude Couple Goals


25 – Opt for a Similar Dressing Style But Make it Unique Individually

kentucky derby couple outfits 6

24 – Match The Color of Your Shirt to Your Woman’s Dress for Subtle Cohesiveness

kentucky derby couple outfits 5


23 – It Does Not Get Any Easier to Twin Than in Similar Printed Clothes

kentucky derby couple outfits 4

Get the flamingo suit:

Tropical Print Suit

22 – From the Glasses to the Shoes, Matching Your Significant Other is the Effortless Way to Complement Each Other

kentucky derby couple outfits 4

21 – This Shade of Blue is Summery, Bright & Just Right to Attract Attention Towards Yourselves

kentucky derby couple outfits 3

20 – Keep it Subtle, Classy & Elegant by Matching Your Lady’s Dress With Your Bow Tie

kentucky derby couple outfits 2


Shop the looks:


Tweed Golf Hat

Ivory White Shirt $109.00

Hutson & Genius Slim Fit Pants $248.00

Bow Tie $55.00


Rhinestone Headband $53.00

Valerie Dress $675.00

Metallic Mules $395.00

19 – And Decking Out in Pink is How You Nail The Oaks Day & Honor the Cause

kentucky derby couple outfits 1


Men’s Fits

18 – A Pastel Blazer With Bright Plaid Pants is the Ideal Combination for the Races

Yellow Derby Seersucker Suit

17 – Match Your Shoes to Your Hat in Neutral Tones to Make the Suit Eye Catching

kentucky derby men's outfits 13


16 – Color Blocking Done Effortlessly!

This look has so much going on that breaking it down became a must! The hat matches the shirt effortlessly; the matching suit does its job phenomenally, and the belt complements the shoes immaculately. And finally, the printed bow tie is just what this outfit needed to complete it!

kentucky derby men's outfits 12


15 – Add Distinctiveness & Individuality With the Right Accessories: the Hat, Suspenders & Shoes!

kentucky derby men's outfits 11

14 – The Polka Dot Shirt Complements the Striped Pants & Abstract Shoes Phenomenally

kentucky derby men's outfits 10


13 – Add a Blazer or a Funky Vest to Keep this Outfit Fun & Make it Derby Appropriate

kentucky derby men's outfits 8


12 – Sage Green & Shades of Cream & Ivory are What Summers are All About!

kentucky derby men's outfits 7

11 – A Floral Lapel Pin Adds Just the Right Amount of Character to Knock this Look Out of the Park!

kentucky derby men's outfits 6

10 – Exude Major Squad Goals by Opting for the Craziest & Brightest Outfits to Slay at the Derby

kentucky derby men's outfits 5


09 – A Shimmery Jacket Might Not be Everyone’s Cup of Tea But When Done Right, Looks Fantastic!

kentucky derby men's outfits 4


08 – Add a Hint of Color to a Neutral Toned Suit With a Vest & Unique Hat

kentucky derby men's outfits 3

07 – Get the Appropriate Shoes that Tie Your Entire Look Together

The brown aspect of the shoes complements the pink suit and vest, while the ivory matches the white shirt of the outfit, uniting the ensemble.

kentucky derby men's outfits 2

06 – Pair a Mustard Yellow Vest With a Brown Suit to Make Your Fit Pop

kentucky derby men's outfits 1

Celebrity Looks

05 – Joey Fatone Looks Incredible in This Blue & White Plaid Set

Swap the black bow tie for an olive green or navy blue one to make it blend better with the clothes and accessories!

kentucky derby outfits celebs 5

04 – Frances & Smokey Robinson Exude Major Goals in these Bright Red Pieces

Frances’ printed suit is to die for!

kentucky derby outfits celebs 4

03 – Victoria’s Secret Model Georgia Fowler Stuns in a Pale Blue Versace Dress

kentucky derby outfits celebs 2

02 – Rachel Platten Looks Dreamy in an Abstract Matching Suit

kentucky derby outfits celebs 3

01 – It Does Not Get Any Sharper Than Chris Pine in Fine Lines!

kentucky derby outfits celebs 1


What makes the Derby so popular? What are the three traditions of the Kentucky Derby?

kentucky derby

If you are looking for a phenomenal time, this is the way to do it. The entire experience is what makes a Derby so special. And contributing to the experience are the races, the vibrancy, and the livelihood of the event.

The Kentucky Derby stands out among all the Derbies because of the very famous mint julep drinks that everyone looks forward to! There are cocktails made of ice, mint (of course!), sugar, and bourbon. Secondly, women wearing fancy and crazy hats are a must for this event.

And thirdly, the race itself, where the winning horse is draped with a blanket of roses and is also called the “Run for the Roses.” All in all, you will find immense history, cultures, and traditions at this event, and that is what makes it so special!

Why do people dress up so nice for the Kentucky Derby?

kentucky derby

One of the organizers for the Churchill Downs, where the races are held, wanted it to be a high-class and fashion-forward event targeting the elite society. He was heavily inspired by European dress standards and wanted to bring that home.

Thus, he began by approaching and encouraging the elite class to dress up and attend the races. Eventually, it became a place where all the latest trends began debuting to show off the outfits. And the rest is history! The organizers left behind the mark they wanted to and carried the tradition to this day!

What are the colors of the Kentucky Derby?

kentucky derby

While there is no specific rulebook on the color guide for your outfit for this event, there are certain colors that are encouraged more than others. The Oaks Day – also known as the Ladies Day – which occurs before the Derby, itself is all about pinks to spread awareness and support the survivors of breast and ovarian cancer.

The day when the horses Run for the Roses is when red dominates! People find clever ways to include red color to their looks to support their favorite horse. With that being said, there is no compulsion to follow a color code. Instead, you can wear whatever feels best to you, even if it is mint, orange, yellow, or any other outrageous color.

Can I wear jeans to the Kentucky Derby?

kentucky derby outfits

You might get away with wearing jeans, but it is frowned upon and may cause distress to you because this event is all about pulling out your finest fits. Thus, I recommend swapping the jeans for a nice pair of formal pants.

If you must wear jeans, leave behind the skinny ones. Instead, opt for a flattering pair of flared pants and style it with a formal shirt and fancy pair of shoes to avoid being underdressed and blend right in.

Add Comment