How to Dress for the Kentucky Derby

By Contributor

If you're one of the lucky people going to the Kentucky Derby this year, or even if you just want to dress properly for the occasion when you watch the race at home, tradition states that certain rules must be followed. Follow these steps for dressing right for Derby Day.

Choose your hat (ladies only, of course). Hats go with the Derby like the frosting on a birthday cake. It should be large-brimmed, feminine and frilly (think 18th-century France), and worn low on the brow tilted slightly to one side. Design the rest of your outfit around the hat.

Dress business casual for the Jockey Club and Finish Line Suites, the Aristedes and Stakes rooms and the Turf Club. This means blazers and jackets with collared shirts and ties for men, dresses and pantsuits for ladies. Denim, shorts and tennis shoes aren't allowed in these areas of Churchill Downs.

Wear more casual attire to Millionaire's Row, the Matt Winn Dining Room or premium indoor boxes. Here, jackets are optional, but collared shirts are recommended for men. Dresses and pantsuits are suggested for women, but slacks, dressier shorts and jeans or capris are allowed. Torn or frayed clothing isn't welcome.

Don collared shirts or polos for the Twin Spires Gold Rooms, with slacks, dressy jeans or dressy shorts. Again, anything ripped or frayed is frowned upon here.

Be prepared for spring in Kentucky. Rain and hot and cold weather are all possible. Layer with a jacket and bring a poncho; umbrellas aren't permitted. Sunglasses are likewise a good idea.

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