Kentucky Derby Style: What to Wear

The Kentucky Oaks and Derby are dress to impress occasions, but depending on where your seats are, you’ll see very different kinds of dress.

In reserved seating areas, you’ll see ladies in dresses, suits and bold separates, with matching hats and fascinators. You’ll see a lot of high heels, but may want to stash a pair of flats in your bag, to walk to and from your car.

For the men, expect the traditional seersucker suits, light-colored or navy sport coats, nice khakis or dress pants, light-colored shirts, and fashionable ties.

Keep in mind, denim/jeans, shorts, tennis shoes or any athletic apparel are NOT permitted in the Trophy Room, Turf Club, Finish Line Suites, Jockey Club Suites, Aristides Room, Stakes Room, Turf Suites, Section 111 Trophy Suites, Trackside Village or Millionaire’s Row. Also, worn, torn, or frayed garments, collarless t-shirts, tank tops, and midriff tops are never allowed in reserved seating areas.

When it comes to the infield, it’s a whole different story. You’ll see much less formal dress, with most folks leaning toward comfort. Churchill Downs recommends blue jeans, shorts, t-shirts and polo shirts, casual sundresses and comfortable footwear. If rain is in the forecast, be sure to bring a rain jacket and remember umbrellas are not allowed. This year is expected to be hot and sunny, so make sure you pack sunscreen!