Since college, the Kentucky Derby has been a really big day of the year. No, not an emotional connection, or a great memory from being there, I’ve just always known there’s going to be a great party where I get to dress up. So I’m here with some Kentucky Derby party outfit inspiration for you today!
I went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio which resides in the southwest corner of the state just across the river from Kentucky. While I never went to the Derby, it was a big thing, especially in Greek life. Fraternities and sororities would have derby parties, some would organize trips to the Derby, hang out on the lawn, and tailgate. Then, when I moved to Dallas, I realized how big Dallas did Derby Day, too I was thrilled to take part in the festivities.
Kale and I have been going to Derby parties since we started dating years ago, and this year, we actually have a wedding! (See what to wear to weddings.)
Where to Watch the Kentucky Derby in Dallas (to be updated for 2022)
The Kentucky Derby starts at 5:50pm promptly, but you’ll want to head to the watch party earlier, around 4pm so you can get a good spot. For that minute or so, the entire bar’s focus will be 100% on the television, and rooting on a horse they might have bid on, or felt like they bid on.
Talk Derby to Me: The Rustic
Presented by Angry Orchard + Costume ContestD
Derby De Mayo: HG SPLY
Derby-themed cocktails, raffles, and more
Dallas Love List’s Derby Party
Featuring Makers Mark and Lonestar Beer
Dress up in hats or head to the INFIELD for the tailgate either way, you’re in for a treat at Mama Tried!
Kentucky Derby Party: Circo Beach Lounge
Best Dressed Contest, and bets!
Starting at 10:30 am
Derby Hat Contest, Petting Zoo, and Pony Rides
Kentucky Derby Outfits for Women
A dress or a jumpsuit will be your best option. You’ll see a lot of Lilly Pulitzer, so break it out if you have it! Any other bright colors, pastels, or even white is acceptable. Typically Garden Chic dress code, you can’t go wrong with florals, everyone will be dressed their best and you know you have to wear a hat!
A hat or fascinator is a MUST for Derby Day! I’m not really in the market to purchase one so I typically DIY it day-of. Hat’s don’t really fit me or stay on my head, so I’m probably better off with a fascinator, but in past years I’ve taken my straw beach hat and tied a pastel ribbon around it creating a large bow. It’s worked out although I’m not usually best dressed. That’s reserved for the crazy hats, big hats, and very loud hats if you can imagine, that’s just not my style.
Kentucky Derby Outfits for Men
The guys will all be in some combination of pastel, linen, and bow ties. It’s not so different than their normal dressed-up look (at least in Dallas) save for the tie. Derby looks are usually a little brighter than their usual outfits, much like the ladies’. My favorite mens’ looks are the full linen suits in a tan or pastel color with a classic dress shirt. Always with bow ties. Hats are not as necessary for the guys, but most do break them out if they own one. Kale usually opts for a bright shirt with a tie and his hat!