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Kentucky Derby Outfits for Men

by Virginia Pond, studioD

Hailed as "the greatest two minutes in sports," the Kentucky Derby is steeped in longstanding tradition, like singing "My Old Kentucky Home," sipping mint juleps, and dressing in classic derby attire. The Kentucky Derby is a great chance for men to step up their sartorial game, and while oversized hats should be left to the ladies, fellows should feel free to embrace the spirit of the race and step into Churchill Downs wearing a show stopping ensemble.

The Suit

Light weight, preppy, and more festive than wool, a seersucker suit is the perfect foundation for your classic Derby outfit. Since it's an outdoor event, seersucker's breathable fabric will keep you cool, and the pastel tones the suits are typically done in are the perfect shades to sport for spring.

The Shirt

When choosing a shirt for your derby get up, stick to neutral, muted tones and classic styles. A crisp white, cotton button-down will be comfortable to wear all day, and serves as a blank canvas for showcasing all your accessories .


Unless you're partying in the casual infield area, look for a semi-formal shoe you'll be comfortable standing in for hours at a time that also coordinate with your suit. Tasseled loafers, saddle shoes, and two toned spectators are the traditional footwear of choice.


Accessories are what really make or break a great Kentucky Derby outfit, so it is important to adorn your duds with just the right touches. A semi-formal straw hat in a Panama or Boater style helps keep the sun out of your eyes during the race. As for your neck, opt for a bright, bold tie in a fun color, pattern, or even one with a quirky, race-related theme.

About the Author

Virginia Pond is a Chicago-based writer. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University.

Photo Credits

  • Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images