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Let’s face it, with t-minus four days until Oaks and Derby weekend, the ladies most likely have their outfits figured out. And, I have confidence that if you do not have an outfit at the ready, that you can pull one together in the next few days on your own. (Refer to my post about fascinators, click here, and go from there.)

Looks courtesy of Budweiser, and possible raiding of Rachel Zoe’s collection of fur vests.

Men are a different story. They will wear their work suit, their funeral suit or really try to dress like someone they are not. I asked my stylist friend, Andre Wilson (, to boil it down for me into four easy looks. Ladies please insert your man into one of these categories and either go shopping or go shopping in his closet. But, please, help your man, he needs it.

First look: The Classic

Conservative dark suits with power bright ties. Courtesy of Rodes (

The classic look is a darker suit with a power tie. These men usually work in a trust-based industry, such as banking, insurance, investments, law. They send a message of professionalism.


Second look: Southern Gentleman

A classic southern look, complete with bow-tie. Unfortunately male Adonis not included.

My personal favorite on Derby, this look includes a seersucker or linen suit with a colorful bow-tie and white bucks.


Third look: Distinguished Gentleman

Usually a custom-made blazer, with nice khaki slacks, an open shirt and no tie. Expensive shoes round out this look.


Fourth look: Fashion Forward

Slim tan suit with neutral shoes. Head not included.

Made for a younger generation, this is a slim suit or slim sportcoat. Usually has an open shirt, but if a tie is worn, it is a thinner tie. Jackets are shorter, lapels are thinner, brands are usually European.


Here are some looks I loved that blend from the categories. They add elements of color and linen that work so well on Derby.

These sportcoats were linen, worn with white or khacki linen pants. Courtesy of Rodes.

“What separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize,” said by Dolly Parton, so wisely, in Steel Magnolias. So, let us jump into the accessory pool of hats, ties and shoes.

The Man Hat

Hats courtesy of Dillards

Most women are uninhibited about wearing hats, especially at Derby. The same does not hold true for men. We want nothing more than for our men to channel Don Draper, sauntering in the track in a slim suit and a fedora. But men balk at hats; they need to be convinced. I am noticing a growing trend of men wearing hats to the track. They used to be hard to find, but now are popping up everywhere. I was surprised at the selection from Rodes, Dillards and Macy’s, in both their quality and affordability.

The Shoes

Classic white bucks shown alongside saddle oxford bucks. Courtesy of Rodes.

Men’s shoes are getting lighter, more neutral. The current trend nixes a man’s black shoe with the exception of work. Here are some great ideas to start you off on the right foot, literally and figuratively.

Men’s new neutral shoe. Courtesy of Rodes.


The Accessories

FINALLY, Vineyard Vines has a Kentucky Derby Collection. As you can expect, it’s adorable. It is the only way I can get my husband to wear pastels. This collection is only sold, in Louisville, at The Kentucky Derby Museum and at Rodes.


Ties from Vineyard Vines

Don’t ask me why, but I keep coming back to this outfit:

This is your opportunity to take a chance. Derby is a costume party, so you are never going to be the most outlandish one there. Never.

At least one wore sensible shoes


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About the Author
Heidi Potter