Found: Derby Day Fashion

By Laura Braden

The 139th annual Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 4 and will feature 20 world-class thoroughbreds racing for the fastest two minutes in sports. This particular race is all about artery-clogging Southern food, old-fashioned cocktails … and high fashion. (Check out the history of Derby Fashion here and here.)

From giant hats to circle dresses, Derby-watching parties are the perfect chance to channel your inner Souther belle. But don’t overdo it. Make one element the statement piece. In other words, if your hat has feathers and is two feet high … consider wearing a simple white, eyelet dress.

And as the only Southern GOTG, I’ve got you covered from head to toe with ideas and suggestions…

Mad Hatter

Derby = hats. Seriously, it’s considered good luck to wear hats to the Kentucky Derby, and not wearing one is the equivalent of wearing sweat pants to a wedding. You can go classic straw or British extravagant – the point is to pick a character and roll with it to the fullest degree. The best part of this tradition (contrary to so many things in the South) is that there are no rules – I even have one friend who’s designing her own “Star Wars” themed hat so get creative ladies! Bonus? Throw on a giant pair of shades and all of a sudden you feel like an incognito CIA agent in St. Tropez…or maybe that’s just me.


Dress to Impress

My only advice: think Jackie O meets Charlotte York. End of story.


It’s All About the Wedge

What other sporting event gets it’s own signature drink, the Mint Julep? And because I’m the opposite of graceful, heels-while-day-drinking are totally out. Which leaves us with the wedge, the perfect shoe to give you height with minimal worries of tripping and falling (leave the flip-flops at home ladies – Derby is all about getting gussied up in your preppiest attire).


  • Aurora Wrap Wedge, Sperry Top-Sider ($118) (also in Red)
  • Tremor Wedges, Dolce Vita($79) (also in Tan, Black and Snake)
  • Picture Perfect Wedge (Pink Seersucker), Lilly Pulitzer ($178)
  • Ida Wedge, Tory Burch ($375)
  • T-Strap Platform Wedge, Target ($39.99) (also in Pink and Blue)
  • Blue Ikat Strappy Wedges, Toms ($69)

BONUS: Local Options

We love supporting our local boutiques ’cause they’re aweeeesooome so here are some options on the grid:



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