Favorites Through The Ages: The Kentucky Derby

The first weekend of May is upon us, which means it’s time for The Kentucky Derby. From all corners of the country, men, women and children travel to the nation’s most famous racetrack for a truly glamourous day of drinking, betting and cheering. But when it comes to Southern women, the Kentucky Derby might as well be fashion week for Kentucky’s best dressed ladies.

From bow adorned, pastel colored frocks to oversize floppy hats and sky-high wedge sandals, Kentucky Derby attendees are dressed to the nines in all their spring favorites. However, this tradition of overdressing is a not a new one as it started way back when Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. developed this exquisite event in the 1870s. Our Vintage Clothing Expert, Charlotte Smith, weighs in on the history of dressing for The Kentucky Derby and how cotton is as much a fashion statement today as it was back then.

Charlotte shows us a 1950s Frank Usher patterned ‘puffball’ dress and notes, “Since the first auspicious race at ‘Churchill Downs’, women have coordinated their Kentucky Derby outfits as if they were off to a ball. A pretty cotton dress accessorized with gloves, a matching handbag, heels, pearls and an epic hat, cemented the tradition of elegance on derby day. In the 1950s, wide brimmed hats with exuberant trims were worn with ladylike dresses. Full skirts, flattering necklines and nipped-in waists were in Vogue. Printed cotton dresses captured the spring mood and fresh look of the era.”

These cotton dresses provided women with all the things they needed on Derby day – style, comfort, and breathability in the hot Kentucky sun. If you’re heading to the south this weekend, you’ll want to check the label for cotton when shopping for your fashion-forward look.

Now it’s off to the races with these amazing cotton dresses! Shop now.