The 140th Running of the Kentucky Derby.
One of the classic, most celebrated days in sports history. It also happens to be one of the most celebrated days in American fashion, with men and women pulling out all of the stops to stand above the crowd. Kentucky Derby style is all about the welcoming of spring into your apparel choices, as well as the homage to Southern tradition with fashion. There are literally no rules when it comes to dressing for the Derby, however some “unwritten” rules are the one’s to adhere by: bold, confident, and dashing.
When it comes to men’s Derby fashion, the task itself can be daunting! Suits? Bow ties? What is this seersucker business all about? Plenty of questions asked by American men all over the United States. For you ladies, what is worse than being stylish and fashionable for your Derby party (or if you are lucky, the race itself!) and seeing your man not having the know-how to wear something to match your prowess? Fear not! The Windy City Epicurean has all the bases covered when it comes to men’s Derby fashion. Follow all week as I explore options for pants, shirts, shoes, and of course what I love the most; the bow tie.
PANTS FOR THE DERBY
When it comes to men’s Derby fashion, nothing is more important and eye-catching then the pants you are wearing. A true Southern gentleman of the period would not be afraid to don the seersucker or linen pants. While that is perfectly fine for the traditional approach, this is 2014 and we want to give you a more modern approach, while still being able to wear your Derby pieces all summer long. The most important thing is NOT wearing socks. Show some skin by going sock-less. The weather is warm, and it’s a bold choice to go without socks. Also, I rarely wear socks in the summer time. That is definitely a Spanish thing for me!
LIME GREEN CHINOS
It’s bold, daring, fun, and most of all: a stand-out from all the rest. People will see you from afar in this color, and it will exude confidence. What’s great about lime green chinos is that they pair will with just about anything. The pants are the focal point, and you’ll want to match it up with other pastel colors to compliment the green. Ideal colors are blue, yellow, pink and even orange. A blue or yellow belt will make the color of the pants pop out even more, especially if you are sporting a pair of blue suede shoes.
As far as “safe” colors, yellow chinos are one way to go. You won’t stand out as much as you would in the lime green chinos, but you will still be making the statement of “I am a fashion god” to others around you. Let’s face it: dressing for the Derby is all about making a statement of confidence. These yellow chinos will do the job nicely. Yellow screams more of summer than spring, but they are perfectly appropriate for any Derby party. Pair these pants up with a green or blue shirt. A belt of opposite color will also make the yellow pop even more, along with some distinguished shoes on your feet. Think pastel colors with this choice.
I know – it isn’t Memorial Day yet. So technically speaking, you can’t break out the white pants or shorts. However, this is the Derby we are talking about. When it comes to fashion, this is the spring coming-out party. So, wearing white pants is a perfect way to kick-off the season of white. You don’t see a lot of men in white trousers in America in modern days. Sporting a pair of well-curated white pants will exhibit a very modern approach to men’s Derby fashion. You can pair virtually anything with white pants. Keep in mind that wearing white pants will make all the other colors in your wardrobe, pop out even more. For the Derby, go the traditional route and pair the white pants with pink, coral, blue pastel hues and green. Remember to wear white underwear underneath those white pants!
MICRO SEERSUCKER TROUSERS
Seersucker, originating during the British colonial period of British India, is a staple of men’s Southern fashion. Men of the period would be seen wearing this wonderful pattern to combat the heat and humidity of the South. In modern times, seersucker is still popular all over the United States. What’s even better in these modern times, is the micro seersucker trousers. These blue micro seersucker pants show off the nod to tradition, while still looking in the direction of modernism in fashion. Pair these with a pastel green gingham shirt, white shoes, a contrasting belt and a solid navy blazer to complete the look. Sure, you’ll see a lot of men in seersucker garb at the Derby, but everyone will be looking at your “modern” homage to seersucker.
At the Derby, you will see a lot of women sporting red dresses, hats, shoes, and purses. For men, it’s not very common. Time to start a new tradition! If women can wear red, why not men? With these red chinos, it will definitely be a bit more difficult to pull out an outfit that speaks Derby fashion. It’s not impossible though. You definitely want to avoid wearing green, as it will make others think you are attending a Christmas party. Stick with pastel colors of yellow, pink, purple, and blue. A classic look would be to pair your red chinos with a crisp white shirt, Navy-colored blazer, and loafers. Put a spin on it though with a bow tie or necktie that screams Derby fashion: something bold and colorful.
Stay tuned for the next post in the series of men’s Kentucky Derby fashion, where I will talk about shirts and bow ties for the Derby party. As always, reach out to me if you have any questions or comments!