Your 2013 hat-to-toe Kentucky Derby style guide
Giddy-up, ladies. It’s that wonderful time of year when you can pull off exquisite hat tricks and draw prim-and-proper style inspiration from Southern belles. The Kentucky Derby is approaching on May 4, and we’re going all in on ladylike dresses, fascinators and pearls.
But, first, a quick history lesson: The Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville chronicles the evolution of race-day style beginning in 1875, when women were wearing heavy fabrics to accentuate their hips. By 1925, women were wearing short bobs and loose “slip-on dresses” without defined waistlines. Come 1950, women were wearing fit-and-flare dresses that flattered their figures with feminine fabrics like lace and chiffon. The 1970s witnessed pant suits, polyester, maxi dresses and harem pants. The 1980s ushered in shorter cocktail dresses and elegant diamond tennis bracelets.
Now, inspired by international style icon Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, the fascinator has made a comeback. The headpiece is often embellished with beading, feathers or delicate netting and is attached with a comb or clip.
Whether you’re headed to a Kentucky Derby party or just use the race as excuse to get dressed up, here’s how to nail the look:
- Hat: This is the “main attraction” — aside from the horses, of course. We’re loving this $10 fascinator from Kohl’s, with dotted feathers and a satin-wrapped headband. The fascinator comes in classic black or a champagne color. This Italian down brim hat has a colorful, floral finish and is at Nordstrom for $88 and this Eric Javits Swinger wide-brim hat from Neiman Marcus plays on the bold black-and-white trend that is playing out this spring.
- Dress: Bring on spring with floral prints and white lace — both demure options appropriate for “Millionaire Row.” Ann Taylor has an embroidered white lace shift dress that is impeccably detailed with a scalloped hem line and is marked down to $159.99. Piperlime has floral fit-and-flare option that has a vintage flair.
- Accessories: Let your hat do most of the talking and opt for subtle, delicate jewelry pieces — like a pair of pearl stud earrings from J. Crew.
- Shoes: A neutral heel will look polished while letting your dress and hat steal the show. We found a strappy, platform sandal from DSW that comes in nude, cognac or black and is on sale for $59.95.
- Purse: Go for a clutch or wristlet. You want to strike the right balance — especially if you’re wearing an over-sized hat. Might we suggest a Coach wristlet from Macy’s that comes in several colors?
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