The Kentucky Derby is famous for being the hallmark exhibition in the world of horse racing. But that’s not all it’s famous for. It’s also an exhibition of fashion and style for both men and women. There are few crowds in America that look quite like what you’ll see at the Kentucky Derby. If this is your first time attending the Kentucky Derby, it can be intimidating—you don’t want to underdress for the occasion, but you don’t want to look out of place, either. So, what do men wear to the Kentucky Derby? Here’s what you need to know.
What to Expect
You’re not going to wear just any old thing to the Kentucky Derby. The event is known just as much for its fashion now as it is for the races. And the interesting thing here is that the men tend to look every bit as colorful and dressed up as the women do.
Here are some things you might notice about what men wear to the Kentucky Derby:
- Dressing up. It starts with the foundation of dressing in your “Sunday best.” That usually means a jacket and tie, although the definition of “suit” gets stretched during the Kentucky Derby. Bow ties are very common, as well.
- Plenty of colors. The Kentucky Derby takes place in the spring every year, which is what helps inform the fashion: spring pastels and bold, summer colors are the hallmarks of the Derby. It’s a time to get out and enjoy the sun—if the weather’s cooperating—and for the colors in the crowd to parallel the bold colors worn by the horses and their jockeys.
- Hats. We can argue for hours on end about the prominence of hats in modern men’s fashion, but there’s one place where hats are commonplace and even expected: the Kentucky Derby.
With that in mind, what should you wear to fit in when you attend an event like the Kentucky Derby? Here are a few suggestions.
What to Wear at the Kentucky Derby
PERFORMANCE DRESS KHAKI, PLEATED
Think of the Kentucky Derby men’s fashion style as “colorful southern gentleman.” With that in mind, you’ll find no shortage of great clothing options here at Berle, including:
- Charleston Khakis in Stretch Twill. There’s nothing wrong with plain khaki, but you can mix things up by choosing a unique color like “Slate” or “Charleston Brick” as well.
- Seersucker Flat Front Pants. Seersucker is a great material for a warmer spring day, and the colors available here will fit right in at the Kentucky Derby.
- Performance Dress Khaki in Flat Front. These casual-yet-stylish khakis come in a variety of colors as well, with a crisp white being an ideal match for whatever you might have planned at the Kentucky Derby. Plus, they’re made with wrinkle- and stain-resistant materials, making them perfect for a fashionable day spent outdoors.
You don’t have to be a style icon to pull off a great Kentucky Derby look. Just know the expectations, browse the collections at Berle, and pick out the colors that seems best for you!