Fashion Trends for 2009 Kentucky Derby

Dresses — By admin on April 15, 2009 at 10:49 am


And They’re Off…Time to Celebrate the Return of Spring and the Kentucky Derby

On the first Saturday in May, for 135 years, thousands have visited Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky for the annual running of the roses–the Kentucky Derby.  While the horses, mint juleps, and celebrity sightings might draw some to the track, the real show is the clothing.   

For this year’s race, it’s all about fresh colors–spring-inspired palates of daffodil yellow, peony pink, stand-out chartreuse, and morning glory blue are sure bets to fill the grandstands and the paddock area.  Though black is chic and classic, this is not the time to pull out your little black dress.  In addition, floral patterns are extremely popular choices, as are polka dots.

 There are several types of dress silhouettes to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect Derby dress.  Consider what shapes work best for your body.  Empire-style and A-line silhouettes are good for minimizing larger hip areas.  Sheath styles flatter taller women who are less voluptuous.  Some women decide to embrace their inner Southern Belle and wear shorter, ball gown-inspired dresses. Have fun with full skirts (purchase a crinoline to help you achieve this)–Derby season is a great time to try out this style!

 Remember–you’ll likely to spend several hours at the track and will need a comfortable dress.  Be mindful of the length.  Most women wear dresses that hit either right above the knee or slightly below it.  Super-short styles are less popular, and maxi-length dresses can present some problems. 

 Hats and headpieces are a must if you plan on attending the race.  A good rule of thumb:  If your dress is particularly colorful or has a busy pattern, tone down your head wear.  Likewise, if your dress is simple, feel free to choose a hat that’s over-sized or a headpiece that’s full of flowers and feathers. 

 The weather during early May in Kentucky is anything but predictable.  Prepare for the worst–bring a shawl or a light cardigan just in case the weather turns chilly.  A clear plastic poncho comes in handy for rainy days as well. 

 If you’re attending one of the many exclusive galas around the city (the Barnstable Brown Gala and the Mint Jubliee Gala are two of the most well-known), this is your chance to dress to impress.  These events are usually black tie, so long cocktail dresses and formal dresses are commonplace. Of course, don’t forget to register your stunning attire at so you are not a victim of a dress disaster

So take a gamble on bright colors and fun patterns.  Even if your horse doesn’t win the big race, you’re sure to be a winner in the fashion department!


    Kama Korvela is a public relations professional and freelance writer living in Louisville, Kentucky.  She specializes in fashion and sports writing and has written for several regional and national publications. 

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