One of the most anticipated fashion events of the year is happening this weekend. No, it’s not time for New York Fashion Week again, this event is a bit more on the unusual and quirky side of fashion; we’re talking about the Kentucky Derby!

This year’s derby marks the 142nd anniversary for the event. The first derby, held in 1875, drew a huge-at-the-time crowd of nearly 10,000 anxious spectators. Today, the event draws over 170,000 spectators to the legendary Churchill Downs horse racing track in Louisville, Kentucky. Undoubtedly, many people attend the event specifically for the sport of horse racing; for others, the race is just as much about the incredible fashion trends and clothing statements as it is about the racing. Today, we’re listing 6 Fashion Inspirations from the Kentucky Derby so you can incorporate some of these trends in your spring/summer 2016 wardrobe. Check it out!

2016 Kentucky Derby Fashion Inspirations

Southern Belles

Now is the time ladies and gentlemen, the time we’ve all waited for, the Kentucky Derby is the time to finally play dress up in real life! Hooray! Those crazy long arm gloves that don’t really serve a practical purpose? Put ‘em on! That poofy chiffon dress that makes you resemble Cinderella? It’s perfect! And, that costume jewelry? Yep, at the derby, it’s home. Fashion for the Kentucky Derby is inspired by the extravagant elegance of Southern Belles. The South is definitely not known for being minimalistic, so pile on the craziness and have FUN with your outfit!

Southern Belles for Kentucky Derby

Image: Arizona Foothills Magazine

Pastels for Spring

The Kentucky Derby is a fashion mecca that inspires the world to show us their best and most current thoughts on clothing. Every year, the derby falls in early May and inspires its attendees to celebrate the spring awakening; and, following suit, attendees often choose pastel outfits to help represent the blossoming buds of spring. Take a note from theses lovely ladies and choose a pastel colored outfit to rock at this year’s derby.Image: Fashion Meets Food

Crazy Hats, Literally

Perhaps one of the most well-known trends to come out of the Kentucky Derby is the incredibly outlandish hat trend. At the derby, the more unique, crazy, and loud the headwear the better. Take our lovely picture below for example: this lady is rocking a hat made from hot pink daisies and peacock feathers, and it works! Now’s the time to have fun with your outfit and rock the craziest hat you can find.

Crazy Hat at the Kentucky Derby

Image: Kentucky Derby Tour

Go-to Gingham

If you’re not sure what pattern to wear for the event, you’re go-to choice should be gingham. This checkered picnic-inspired pattern is a classic and timeless choice. You can’t go wrong! Think of the gingham like the pattern version of the little black dress; it’s basically a neutral with a punchy twist. Gingham is especially perfect for the derby because it reminds us of the classic 1940s era of long, fitted dresses. The best part? Gingham is also an on-trend choice for Spring 2016! Go gingham!

Woman in gingham print for Kentucky Derby

Image: Glamour


The right pair of shoes can change your life. Yep, this well-known phrase is quite true; especially when it comes to finalizing an outfit for the Kentucky Derby! The shoes you wear can make or break an outfit. One of our favorite trends for the Kentucky Derby is the sensible(ish) sandal with a wedge heel. The cobblestone steps at Churchill Downs are picturesque, sure, but they’re not to be messed with; a stiletto heel + cobblestone is a fast way to a roll an ankle. Go for a heel with a platform or wedge heel to give yourself a level step. This will help you navigate the pathways and many staircases like a champ!

Outfit for Kentucky Derby

Image: Polyvore

Bow Ties

The Kentucky Derby isn’t just for the ladies, the men attendees also get dressed to the nines for this big event. For the men, it’s all about looking like a southern gentlemen with a noticeable fashion-influenced twist. Our advice is to go for the colorful and flashy bow tie! Most men at the event will rock a fitted suit. Add a bit of pizazz to your suit with a unique bow tie. If you go for a bright bow tie pair it with a subdued suit, and vice versa - loud statement suits should be paired with subdued bow ties. No matter what style your guy chooses make sure he rocks it!

Men in hats and bow ties for the Kentucky Derby

Image: Fashion at the Races

That’s it! Now you know how to correctly pair your best dresses with your most exuberant top hats for a Kentucky Derby-inspired get up, whether or not you’re actually going to the event. For those of you watching the race, be sure to follow Nyquist, the young colt that’s an early favorite to win. For more posts like this, check out the HAPARI Blog. We’re like your favorite lifestyle blog, but better - mostly because we follow the HAPARI code of creating quality content you want to read. See you there!

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