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Kentucky Derby Etiquette

Posted May 1 2012 - 4:41pm

Hey ladies and gents, the Kentucky Derby is right around the corner. Since I am a self-proclaimed Yankee (I'm from South Florida), I thought I'd educate myself on the rules and etiquette which accompany the races. I thought they were interesting (and honestly, the outfits are so cute), that I figured I'd share them with you.

The Outfit:
For ladies: Dresses and wedges/heels are a must. This isn't time for your LBD, break out your spring colors or that perfect little white dress. A floppy hat is a race-day staple, so be sure to keep the rest of your accessories neutral; pearls or delicate bracelets pair well with an oversized hat. This day is super-traditional, so stick to clean makeup and hair. Try winged liner and red lips for a classic and polished look.

For guys: No cargo pants, no jeans, no tuxedos, no shorts. If you want to be a part of the Millionaire's Row, you have to dress like it. Oh, and no dark suits, they bring the happy mood down. The Kentucky Derby is not a funeral, so break out your khakis, whites, and pastels. Bowties and ties are encouraged. Bonus points if your tie has a horseshoe and mint julep print like the one showed above. (Vineyard Vines)
Oh, and guys? We got you 20% off anything from Mobley & Sons Birmingham. Just mention this article for your sweet discount. 

The Kentucky Derby Hat:
Style: There's no specific style for your face shape. Wear whatever makes you comfortable. This is the day to break out the crazy colors, designs, netting, and feathers! It is the Derby after all!
Fit: Secure your hat with bobby pins to make sure it stays put all day.
Placement: Your Derby hat should sit 1 to 2 inches above your ears.
Etiquette: Men are expected to remove their hats indoors and during the National Anthem, but ladies are permitted to wear their headpieces throughout all festivities.

Food and Drinks:
Drinks: Mint juleps are a MUST. Here is a really good recipe. (Be sure to use fresh mint, anything else just tastes awful).
Food: Now is not the time to serve up pizza. The Derby is a classy event, so stick to light meals like grilled fish, salads, ceviche, and bite-sized appetizers. Here are some great ideas.
Also, Kentucky Derby Pie is a must. (As if one ever needs a reason for pie)

The Races:
Don't bet too early
Don't forget the lyrics! My Old Kentucky Home is a staple of the races, and "Hmm la uh uh" are not the lyrics. Study them here.
Any other questions? Study the etiquette and traditions here.

Sources:
Southern Living

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