Turn Heads the Right Way at the Downs: How to Dress for Derby Day!

ON MAY 7 in Kentucky, thousands of racing fans will put on their finest and over-the-top headwear to watch horses run around the track for exactly one and a quarter-mile. It’s a festive occasion to drink up and dress up, celebrated all over the South.

So whether you’re watching the most exciting two minutes in sports at Churchill Downs or at home, here’s how to prepare a classic H+J derby look.

Let’s talk about fabrics that are a winning choice at the Downs like your breathable 100% linen tailored sport coat leaving you feeling as cool as you look on a warm Spring day. Picking out the perfect Derby look traditionally starts with a bright custom sport coat and for this particular event, bright colors work effortlessly with your white/stone linen custom trousers or cotton chinos. Another comfortably lightweight and traditional fabric choice is a seersucker custom suit or jacket crafted with luxury Italian cotton in baby blue, sage green, soft yellow, pink or red with white stripes.

Accessories for the derby stack up nicely with many of the boldest combinations normally on display in so many forms. At H+J we like to pair back accessories for our clientele that still match the setting without being too obnoxious for an ultimately refined Derby look. We like to opt for neutrals and pastel trimmed pocket squares made of 100% linen or cotton.

When it comes to footwear, comfort is king, especially on a day of being on your feet. Whether you’re wearing your Bench-made suit or sport coat combination we love a solid pair of brown loafers or tan/off-white lace-ups (aka derby shoes) that won’t break up your look.

You’ll want to have a prime view of those horses for the most exciting two minutes in sports so don’t forget your sunglasses and if you feel so inclined, a simple white or natural straw color hat with a solid or striped band will top off your look nicely. 

Rider’s Up!