Odds are that when you hear the words “Kentucky Derby” you think just as much (or more) about the fashion than you do the horse races.
The Palmerston & District Hospital Foundation gala is only three days away, and this year’s theme is a “Run for the Roses” — Kentucky Derby! Did you know that the red rose is the official flower of the Derby?
Here’s a little history for you: The Kentucky Derby’s been running at Churchill Downs racetrack since 1875, and the Derby is widely considered to be the most famous race in the U.S. as well as the longest running sporting event.
The Derby was founded by Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of the infamous William Clark (yes, that Clark, as in Lewis and Clark). Since 1875, the Kentucky Derby has been a staple spring event, even throughout the Great Depression and the First and Second World Wars. Fun fact: In 1970, the Derby saw its first female jockey ride.
If you’re headed to the gala this weekend, or to the Derby & Oaks next May, here are a few suggestions when it comes to what to wear:
- Ladies, let your headwear stand out! If you’re planning to style an elaborate hat or fascinator (thanks to Kate Middleton for popularizing the fascinator), make sure your dress isn’t competing for attention. If your hat is a loud colour or patterned, keep your dress more low-key.
- While the dress code at the Derby isn’t set in stone — you’ll see everything from lightweight cottons in bright colours to more formal satins in muted tones — the Derby is the day women everywhere (Southern belle by birth or not!) go all out to express themselves with their clothing.
- Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be spending plenty of time on your feet, and the last thing a lady needs is a limp because of blisters.
- For men, hats are not a necessity, though the bowler or fedora in a solid colour are a classic throwback to the early Derby days.
- At the Kentucky Derby, many men choose to style a traditional necktie, however bow ties are just as acceptable.