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The Complete Guide to Men’s Fashion for Derby Season

May 21, 2022 5 min read

The Complete Guide to Men’s Fashion for Derby Season

Are you planning on attending the Run for the Roses?

If yes, besides brushing up on your betting skills, you'll also want to give some thought to your attire. Since time immemorial, the Kentucky Derby has been just as much about fashion as horse racing. However, Kentucky Derby men's fashion is niche and specific. This is not the venue to arrive in a wife-beater and a pair of ripped jeans, even if they were designed by Kanye West.

The perfect Kentucky Derby outfit should be smart, but not overly formal. The theme is summer, the mood opulent, and the ensembles immaculate.

Feeling mildly overwhelmed? Stress not. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to seamlessly hit the nail on the head in your Kentucky Derby outfit choices.

Don’t Be Shy With Your Tie

One of the first and most important tips is not to be shy with your tie. It might be tempting to go with a plain tie that doesn't draw too much attention—but that is not the spirit of the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby parties can be loud (in the style department at least) and the key to confidently looking the part is to choose a tie that speaks, not one that blends into the background.

Bold ties are an easy way to create the perfect Kentucky Derby outfit. Because ties don't take up a lot of visual space, they can add a pop of color and confidence without being overwhelming.

Veer towards bright classic choices, such as floral patterns, solid pastels, or colorful plaids.

Be Bold With a Bow

If you want to embrace the festive mood of the Kentucky Derby, one of the best men's fashion choices you can make is donning a bow tie.

Bow ties are inherently more "festive" than a regular tie. Bow ties speak to a gentleman off duty, enjoying the luxuries of life. Bow ties can also lend a preppy flavor to your Kentucky Derby outfit, and help to spice up plainer shirts and pants.

However, make sure you take into account your personal preferences and the rest of your outfit. If you're wearing a two- or three-button blazer, then a splashy necktie will be a better option.

Up the Ante With Accessories

While we're on the topic of ties, don't forget about your accessories. Accessories can dramatically elevate an outfit. Even if the rest of your Kentucky Derby outfit is simple, a few well-chosen accessories can take it into men's fashion mecca.

For instance, adding a pocket square can give your ensemble a subtly impactful pop of color and intricacy. If you really want to win style points, try to match the color and tone to your necktie for a killer combo.

From here, you can continue to up the ante and add dimension with a unique set of cufflinks, a tie bar, and a lapel pin. These details will add a metallic spark to your outfit, and make you look subtly but undeniably well put together.

If you don't have time or patience to mix and match these accessories, you can also pick up a tie set and allow us to do the legwork for you.

Natural Fibers Are Your Friend

When picking out a Kentucky Derby suit, shirts, or pants, vet for natural fibers. Natural fibers inherently look more classic and classy. They are also great for beating the heat.

In case you weren't aware, the average high on Derby Day is a balmy 70 degrees. However, highs can soar into the 80s on a warm year.

Natural fibers offer better breathability, leaving you cool and damper, which is the best look if you're going for a seasoned Derby gentlemen's aesthetic. Linen is always a laid-back but lux summer look, cotton will also do the job, and Seeksucker fabric is a time-honored Derby day favorite.

Create a Lux Look With Lighter Colors

Another top men's fashion tip for Derby Day is to opt for light colors. The Kentucky Derby is rooted in southern summer style, which is trademarked by light hues.

Think white, creams, blues, pastels, and light khaki colors. An ideal Kentucky suit should speak to elevated summertime casual tones.

Also, make sure you don't stop at the feet. To really nail the men's fashion Kentucky Derby look, opt for light-colored shoes, such as white or light tan brogues or bucks.

Pick a Preppy Pattern

Most of the best Kentucky derby outfits for men have had their roots in preppy style. A great way to channel a bit of prep style is to incorporate a preppy pattern.

Some of the best patterns to include for a hint of preppiness are stripes, gingham, and madras plaid.

Kentucky Debry men's fashion is a specific mix of understated opulence with exuberance bursts of color and confidence. Your outfit colors and patterns should play together to create this, without clashing or looking gauche. Therefore, we wouldn't necessarily recommend you roll up an all-plaid, heat-to-toe ensemble in bright orange.

However, you can easily include these "preppy" patterns in things like your necktie, pocket square, or even your shirt.

While we're on the point of patterns, don't forget about florals. The Kentucky Derby is steeped in floral references, from the nickname of the event (the Run of Roses) to the fondly named Lilies for Fillies, which is the signature fillies race.

Pink up With Something Pink

Speaking of fillies, if you're planning to attend the Kentucky Oaks day, then a seasoned piece of advice is to pack in something pink.

The Kentucky Oaks day is all about the ladies, with the country's finest fillies racing each other towards a crowning victory and a massive lily garland of 133 stargazer lily flowers.

As a tribute to the fillies and all things lady-like, it is the unspoken Kentucky Derby tradition to wear something pink to Oaks day.

Feeling hesitant about sporting a splash of pink? Style experts agree that pink is not just for women, in fact, it was traditionally a popular, powerful, and masculine choice for men. Fast-forward to current times in men's fashion and pink is making a decided comeback. So feel free to rock this Oaks day appropriate color choice without any worry that you'll look out of touch.

Not sure how to incorporate a touch of pink into your Kentucky Derby outfit? This Floral Navy Linen Blossoms Bow Tie references all the flower symbolism of the Derby and finishes things off with a bright pop of pink.

Coordinate With Your Date

If you want to get extra style points, you can even coordinate your Kentucky Derby outfit with that of your date. The idea isn't to have entirely matching outfits, but rather to mirror elements of each other's color palette to create a seamless look.

Looking For Men’s Fashion Accessories for Derby Day?

Derby day is all about looking dapper, mildly extravagant, yet uber-comfortable, and laid back. If you're in need of some men's fashion accessories that fit the bill for Derby day, we've got you covered.

Browse our store for a selection of neckties, cuff links, pocket squares, tie bars, and complimentary sets.

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