Eight years ago, I met a boy from Kentucky. Call it chance, call it coincidence, or call it serendipity, but he walked into my life and chose to stick around all of these years. I’m sure glad he did. The day we met, I could’ve sworn to you that we had absolutely nothing in common. We were as opposite as could be. We met online and he flew here to visit me from Kentucky. Little did I know, that I would spend years traveling back and forth, during our long distance relationship, and eventually he’d become my Instagram husband (and my real one too).
The spring would come, and there was such hype around the Kentucky Derby the Kentucky Oaks which are held at Churchill Hill Downs Racetrack, in Lousville. Back then, I didn’t understand it. I didn’t think I’d like horse racing, and I had no idea what the derby was even about. One crisp, fall day, several years ago, Grant took me to my first horse race, at the Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky. To my surprise, I really loved it! We were surrounded by all of his friends from home, and it was such an exciting social event. The races were thrilling to watch, but what I really love is the fashion trends surrounding the horse races.
The Derby is the perfect opportunity to sport your sassiest, spring sundress. As you walk around the track, you’ll notice women channelling their inner southern belle, styled in perfect, pastel dresses, but the most important statement piece of the outfit is their hat. The variety of hats you’ll see on race day are incredible. They are truly over the top, complete with florals, ribbons, and jewels to compliment each lady’s derby look.
To gear up for the epic race, I’ve created a Derby inspired look. While I won’t be at the race track this year, I hope the styling tips, help you to put together a look of your own to wear to the the Derby, or even a race day watch party.
I found a fitted floral dress (similar here or here), which I knew would work well for my spring look. The crisp, white fabric had printed bursts of flowers, which I loved. I chose a neutral hat, and turned it into a DIY project. Originally when I bought the hat, it had a gold chain around it, which looked fabulous, but just didn’t work with my floral look. I snipped off the chain, found some pale pink, pastel ribbon (which can be found at M&J Trimming in NYC, or your local craft store), and created a bow to tie around the hat. I stitched it down with a needle and thread and it was finished. Super easy! I kept my hat simple, because my dress was busy with the print. If your dress is solid, then by all means, go crazy with your hat! It is such a fun DIY project. If you’re looking to buy a hat, I love this one, this one, and especially this one.
To accessorize, I wore Alexander McQueen sunglasses, carried a pale, pink box tote bag, and wore pointed pumps. For jewelry, I wore my brand new Luca + Danni horseshoe bracelet for good luck! Luca + Danni has such a fun variety of stackable bracelets for spring. They are definitely worth checking out. I also chose small, crystal earrings (similar here). To finish off my look, I added a crisp white blazer (similar here), which is a great layering piece for any dress. It is definitely a spring and summer staple in my closet.
So beauties, I hope we’ve inspired your Derby style, for the season! Make sure to tune in for the big race, on Saturday, May 7th, 2016, and sip on a mint julep for me (or of course, some bubbly). If you have any questions, or need a few ideas for your own DIY Derby hat, please let us know. And if you are traveling to the Kentucky Derby, make sure to travel safe, but travel in style. Don’t forget to stop by Desserts by Helen for our favorite Derby Day cookies! Lots of love from the city girl in NYC, and the southern boy, from his Old Kentucky Home. Happy Derby Day! xx
- Dress: similar here or here
- Blazer: similar here
- Steve Madden: Floppy Derby Hat (add ribbons from M&J Trimming or local craft store)
- Alexander McQueen: Sunglasses
- Luca + Danni: Horseshoe Bracelet
- Bleecker & Spring: Knot Bracelet (similar here)
- Crystal Earrings: similar here
- Sophie Hulme: Box Tote Bag
- Jessica Simpson: Claudette Pumps
- Nordstrom: Derby Hats (here, here, and here)