Skipping Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Gentleman’s guide to a day at the Downs

Scout Hardin

Boys, don’t think I forgot about you last week. Derby isn’t just for the ladies; the races are the perfect excuse for men to get just as gussied up as the gals. The belles may steal the show with their larger-than-life hats, but gentlemen, the Kentucky Derby is your time too! Put on your best seersucker suit, grab a cigar and head to the tracks. 

The same goes for the men as it goes for the women: what you wear depends on how you are spending your race day. We’ll keep it simple and go over the three most popular options: brunch, backyard party and the tracks. 

If you’ve been invited to brunch, the first thought that might barrel through your mind is “What the heck is brunch?” All you need to know is that it’s an event where it is acceptable to get drunk before 11 in the morning. Everyone may be planning on getting schnockered, but they are also planning on looking put-together and polished.

So what do you wear? Lucky gent, brunch means dressing to the nines. A seersucker suit or a three-piece tweed are both excellent options. If you’re feeling like a pretentious halfwit, you could wear a fedora. I think fedoras are the hat choice of the devil, but don’t let me influence you.

If you’re headed to a garden party toss out the three-piece because relaxed slacks, a button-down and a bow tie are going to be your choice picks here. Don’t be afraid to play with color. Wear a vibrant pair of chinos with a more muted button-down, and then a tie to pull it all together.

Finish off the Derby extravaganza with a day at the tracks. Turn the heads of ladies in a navy suit with a bright button-down. I prefer the bow tie, but a tie is perfectly acceptable as well. Polish a pair of your old oxfords or loafers. Don’t wear a brand new pair of shoes to the races.

Throw back some bourbon and pick your pony — it’s Derby time!