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Men's Style At The Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Mens Style

If you've ever watched "the most exciting two minutes in sports" then you'll know the Kentucky Derby is anything but dull. Everything about the Derby is visual eye candy... from the race itself, to the colorful fashions, especially the elaborate hats worn.

Dating back to 1875, the Kentucky Derby is the longest running sports event in U.S. history. It was founded by Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark (grandson of William Clark of the Lewis & Clark Expedition), who was inspired by the European races of the time such as the Epsom Derby and Grand Prix de Paris Longchamps. He wanted to bring to the States races that would be the epitome of luxury and style....and thus the Kentucky Derby was born.

The Derby takes place on May 7th in Louisville, Kentucky and we've compiled some looks which are perfectly appropriate for race day...whether you'll be placing your bets at Churchill Downs or attending a viewing party- either way, plenty of mint juleps should be in hand. And if you'll be having a Kentucky Derby inspired wedding, this will help guide you too.

Navy Suits- For a more traditional look at the Derby, try a navy suit, either single or double breasted. Keep in mind that just because it's a navy suit there's no need to be boring...adding a colorful tie, pocket square, lapel pin, and a hat will do. If too much flair is not your thing, then keep it simple with your accessories, opting for more subdued colors. Just remember, this is the Derby not the office, so have a little bit of fun with it.

Seersucker Suits- A cotton fabric known for its unique bumpy, puckery appearance, Seersucker became popular in the '20's when Ivy League students began wearing the suits at lawn parties. This move elevated the status of this lightweight fabric from something worn by laborers on the railroads trying to stay cool, to society's elite... also trying to stay cool in those pre-A/C days. And thus a trend was born. The seersucker stripe comes in all colors, the most traditional being blue and white. You can tone down the look of seersucker by pairing it with a solid tie or bow tie- for a more traditional Southern look.... Or try jazzing it up with a funky colorful tie, boutineer, and pocket square. A crisp white shirt will keep this look from going too overboard.

White Suits- Think of a white suit as a clean canvas... an elegant canvas that is; one which you can paint any which way.  Adding pops of color with the accessories you choose will liven an otherwise plain look. Even going monochromatic will add a nice energy as long as you add the right amount of flair. Oh and be careful when you eat or drink, and definitely watch where you sit! You want to keep that clean canvas somewhat crisp and unsullied.

Pastel Colored Suits- Nothing says Spring like pastel colors, which is perfect for the Derby. Worn with a tie or without, this is a nice modern way of dressing for race day. Don't forget about those pocket squares though, as you'll need a little flash to spice up the pastels. You can keep it simple or add even more color with this little detail. As for shoes, go for a nice brown shoe in any shade from light to dark- depending on how light your suit is.

Khaki Suits- Just like the white suit, the tan or khaki suit is a great vehicle for adding pops of color while still keeping it classy. For a more retro look, go with a 3 piece ensemble popping it with a 2 tone brown oxford shoe. If you want to keep it more conservative, try a double breasted suit instead. While you're adding pops to this style, don't forget about your socks... they deserve some color love too.

Patterned Suits- If you tend to scoff at conservative looks go with a bold stripe or a check pattern.. but make sure to add accessories that ground the style so as to not look like you're wearing a costume (or a pimp). You can also sport more traditional menswear patterns like a herringbone or a tonal check pattern if bold is not the direction you would like to go.

Grey Suits- Think of the light to mid shade grey suit as another alternative to a traditional blue suit. It's not quite as in your face as a white suit can be and definitely not as serious as a navy one. Have fun by pairing it with a vintage floral- either in the dress shirt, the tie, or the pocket square (why choose? try all 3..just make sure the floral size coordinates). If you'd rather have fun in other ways (ahem...betting and drinking), then keep the look tidy and traditional by pairing it with a conservative tie and accessories.

Mix & Match- For a less traditional approach, try mixing and matching your blazer and pants. Make sure the fabric weights work well together for this Springtime dressy casual look. If you tend to lean more towards the casual and ties are not your thing, this is the perfect style for you... however, bump up the cool factor by adding a colorful, fun pocket square or lapel pin- and hey if you really want to jazz it up put on a boutineer instead.

As always if you're looking to find the right tie, pocket square, or anything else for that matter, check out our shop for that perfect addition to your race day outfit or your Kentucky Derby inspired wedding. Here are some New Arrivals to get you started:

1940s Augusta Blooms Bow

1930s Sunbeam Necktie

Vintage Cornflower Gingham Square



(Suit images taken from our Pinterest Board- for more information on the styles and photo credits click on the link.)


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