Some of the most unique engagements on any social calendar in the South are horse races, such as the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is not just a sports party, but also a chance to showcase the best in spring fashion. It offers an opportunity for male attendees to pull out all the stops in a dapper expression of their style. Derby day for the well-dressed modern gentleman revolves around a refined color palette, polished and classic looks, and hints of bold patterns and fabrics.
Be Race Ready in Style with The Derby Collection
A bow tie is at the heart of any man's Kentucky Derby outfit. As one of the leading local men's fashion accessory manufacturers, we pride ourselves in standing at the forefront of southern style. Whether you are headed off to the races or are celebrating at a local garden party, R. Hanauer's handcrafted Derby collection includes a stylish assortment of bow ties, neckties, and pocket squares to suit the more formal dress requirements of the season. The collection of accessories is designed to pair especially well with the classic navy or seersucker blazers that are quintessential to Derby style.
A History Of Derby Fashion
The Kentucky Derby has long been a cornerstone for style and fashion. The tradition began with Colonel M. Lewis Clark Jr. who founded the Kentucky Derby to be a luxurious and opulent racing event in the style of European horse races. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a day at Churchill Downs was the epitome of fashionable culture and the social event of the season. Guests arrived for races in the early days decked out in a vibrant color palette of greens, pinks, yellows, blues, and reds taking full opportunity of the spring weather to express themselves in their dress.
By the 1920s, right up through to the 1940s, society was changing and female guests at the Derby had the choice of wearing dresses or modern suits. Hats, gloves, and parasols were also fixtures on the scene.
The 1950s brought a new vision to postwar America and with it changing fashions. Well-dressed guests showed up to the Derby in chic suits or in billowing skirts and dresses for the women. As the 1960s gave way to the 1970s, dressing became both more progressive and bold. Millionaire's Row opened up and the South's most well-heeled women picked bolder and bigger hats to attend the races. Fabrics and patterns also became more adventurous, while hemlines rose.
The decades that followed through to the 1990s saw a resurgence of longer skirts and dresses for women. While gloves have fallen mostly out of style, hats remain a focal point of Derby day for women. Men today have just as many options to make fashion statements in their choice of suit, shoes, and accessories. As such the Kentucky Derby remains a dynamic spectacle not just of sport but of the best in southern style.
A Gentleman's Derby Attire
The Kentucky Derby is a grand opportunity for men of all ages to showcase their personal sense of fashion and style. Selecting the right outfit for the races is not only key to enjoying the event, but also firmly cements your reputation as a proper gentleman, thus dressing appropriately is essential.
Kentucky Derby attire for today's modern gentlemen includes a number of different components:
Pants: The foundation of men's Derby dressing begins with a sharp pair of pants. Trousers should catch the eye from a distance but still be classic enough to match the race's esteemed history. Gentlemen should choose pants in subdued colors such as pink, citrus, key lime, or ocean blue.
Shirt: A shirt should then be chosen in a complementary color or a coordinating gingham or stripe. While the Derby is an important style event it is also the one time you can get away with being a bit playful in color and pattern. A smart monogram on the shirt only enhances the taste and style of the wearer.
Jacket: The jacket brings the whole look together. It is hard to beat a classic navy blazer on race day. Although, for the more adventurous, a seersucker or chalk stripe blazer is a great chance to make your mark while still having a dandy charm. Keep in mind, your derby look would never be complete without the extra pop offered by a pocket square.
Neck Wear: Many men choose to wear a necktie to the Derby in a vibrant paisley, floral, or stripe pattern. Bow ties are also a focal point of the quintessential Kentucky Derby wardrobe. If you're not a regular bow tie wearer the Derby is a great place to start with a dapper choice in a bold pattern.
Shoes: While horse bit loafers seem an obvious choice to match the equestrian theme, a pair of smart loafers is the way to go in terms of footwear. The most important style element to remember is that loafers should be worn sockless.
Hat: Finally, no Kentucky Derby look is complete without a bowler or fedora hat. Hats are often made to measure in a variety of style to match your outfit.
American Made Derby Style
For more than 30 years R. Hanauer has been leading the way in accessories for the stylish man. Owner Randy Hanauer started the brand after noticing a gap in the market for elegant and design focused pocket squares and handkerchiefs. Today, R. Hanauer is still family owned and run, expanding their impeccable standards of craftsmanship and manufacturing into bow ties, neckwear, and other men's accessories. Each R. Hanauer piece is still handmade in the USA, as it has been from day one.
The R. Hanauer brand mixes an appreciation for local heritage with international style. Randy himself still sources the fabrics used to design each piece from a variety of textile producers around the world. Pieces are made to an exacting authenticity to compete with any of the major fashion brands. A more bespoke fashion experience is at the heart of R. Hanauer as each piece is hand cut and hand sewed according to pristine standards in our workshop.