The Kentucky Derby is May 5th, so it’s just around the corner! I’m back from two weeks of travel and glad to be home! I had such an amazing trip and will probably do some sort of travel guide in the next week or two, but right now I’m focused on helping you all find the perfect derby dress! To my male readers: I’ll do a men’s derby attire post, if you want? Lemme know!
Story time! My cousin Adrianna love, love, loves horses! [Hi Adrianna!] She’s an amazing artist and is able to paint/draw horses so realistically, but that’s besides the point! Anyway, a few years ago she started hosting a small Kentucky Derby party for our family. Of course we always placed bets, we had a hat contest, my aunt always whipped up a specialty cocktail, and we would get dressed up in our Sunday best (which is kind of a great way to sum up derby style!).
While I can appreciate a good sun hat probably more than the next person, I love how we always had a silly component to our hat contest! One year my aunt had lots of tulle ribbon and fake flowers to attach to our straw hats to create a one-of-a-kind, over the top look! We might have looked ridiculous, but I wouldn’t trade those laughs and memories for the world.
I’m the kind of person who will find any excuse to throw a party, but I especially love a party with a purpose and Kentucky Derby parties fit the bill! What is that purpose exactly? To bet on horses in hopes of being right, to get dressed all fancy just for fun, and to spend quality time with friends/family. The golden rule when dressing for the Kentucky Derby, or any derby is to dress conservatively. Cleavage is not the answer here people and it definitely won’t help your horse win the race! (Shocker I know…)
For this derby look I wanted to stick with a classic pattern, something tea-length (below the knees), and I wanted to spare my shoulders from sunburn. If your derby party is outside, or if you’re attending a horse race then let me fill you in on a secret, sleeves are your friend! Make sure to apply sunscreen to your entire arms/legs before putting on the dress, but if your dress has short sleeves you’ll spare yourself from having embarrassing tan lines and painfully sunburnt shoulders.
What I love about this gingham dress from Banana Republic is how it is a subtle twist on a classic style. The asymmetrical hem, although a knee-length dress, gives the dress a bit of sass. It’s edgy just enough to be seen as cutting-edge at such a conservative event, but not too edgy where you’ll have people turning heads wondering if you got the dress-code right. I think we all try our hardest to avoid being that person, am I right?
I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but this dress has pockets, which makes it soooo ideal for horse races! You don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of holding your phone non-stop, and with this dress you don’t have to! Just put your phone in your pocket and you’ll be golden. Promise.
The last thing I want to briefly touch upon with this outfit is how important accessories are, especially at a derby and/or derby party. Hats with writing on them are very trendy now, but a plain straw hat is also a classic look for a derby. As for jewelry, I stick to my basic luxury pieces that I wear on a daily basis, it just makes things easier!
hat: similar here*, here • dress: Banana Republic • bag: Urban Outfitters • shoes: Nine West
*this H&M hat is only $12.99 !!! What a steal!
Designed by Gillian Sarah
Images by Helen Phillips
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