Hold Your Horses! Kentucky Derby Outfit

AND THEY'RE OFF!!! This year I was invited to my first Kentucky Derby party (ironic how it took my leaving the south to celebr...


This year I was invited to my first Kentucky Derby party (ironic how it took my leaving the south to celebrate such a "dixieland delight") and I, unsurprisingly, had a great time getting "gussied up." The invite requested gentlemen to dust off their derby hats and spruce up their bow ties. Ladies were encouraged to wear their largest, brightest, or most "UK-inspired fascinators" or hats and sundresses. AKA: Bring on the southern charm!

I think when "the best 2 minutes in sports" is preceded by all the mint juleps and fashion my heart desires...I've found my kind of sport!
While I've never dressed up for the derby before, I have been a long time admirer of the unapologetically feminine or genteel fashion. The bold prints, splashes of color, and artistic expression in the selection of headwear is a feast for the eyes. I had so much fun dressing up and seeing everyone else's attire that I just might have make this a yearly event. 

Derby Day Dress:
I chose my favorite spring / summer soiree dress that I often wear to weddings to start - a lovely orange creamsicle organza gown with showstopping white floral embroidery. This fit and flair piece is perfect for a party and makes me feel as fresh and light as the season. You don't have to go as "dressy" as me, however, when putting together your own derby outfits. Many of the other guests shared how delighted they were that the party gave them an excuse to wear their favorite simple sundress a little earlier than usual. 

The Derby Hat: (What it's really all about)
My original vision was to buy or make an elaborate fascinator that would be the envy of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. However, time escaped me...and while splurging on things is your own prerogative, I couldn't justify the cost of the miniature pieces of art I might only wear a couple times. 
I opted for the practical and time saving route of, "shop my closet!" I spiffed up my favorite wide brimmed beach hat with a black and white striped silk scarf. I recommend either investing in a great summer hat that you'll use again and again or to turn your "Hatinator" into a DIY project. 

How To: Take a simple wide brimmed hat and add a scarf or pin silk flowers to the brim's base.  

Styling Tip: The different sizes in stripe prints allows the scarf and hat to work together. Similarly, the mixing of floral and striped prints is successfully achieved here (hopefully) due to the crisp, graphic whites. The florals also serve as the dominant print while the stripes act as an accent. 

Final Touches: 
The party was having a Derby Day outfit contest, so you can be sure I dressed to win! These final touches really helped tip the scale and I was "Gettin' Lucky in Kentucky!" and won best dressed (and took home a bottle of Kentucky bourbon as my prize!). 
Accessories: I wore my great-grandmother's gloves and pearls to get me into lady-like character. 
Footwear: While heels may not seem like the most practical thing to wear for a race track, you will notice they are the predominate footwear. I sported matching heels (but packed flats as backups and walking through any mud). 
Bag: I can't think of a more lady like bag this Bottega Veneta handbag. I felt completely in character sipping bourbon lemonades with this on my arm. 

Shop this Look: 1. Dress - Anthropolgie (Sold Out) // Similar 1 // Similar 2 // Similar 3 // 2. Hat - Nordstrom // Similar 1 // Similar 2 // 3. Silk Scarf -  Vintage Burberry // Similar 1 // Similar 2 // 4. Heels -  5. Gloves - Vintage // Similar  6. Pearls - Vintage // Similar // 7. Bag - Bottega Veneta // Similar

Even though the Kentucky Derby is over, spring / summer soirees and weddings are on their way! I feel we can look to this fashionable day for inspiration. What will you be sporting for your ladylike seasonal events? Do you think you'd ever dress up for the Derby? 

You Know You Want to Keep Reading...