You know the drill. It’s Oaks Morning, about 20 minutes before you have to leave. You have had your outfit for a couple of weeks. Hat laid out. Appropriate 12 inch purse packed. Box lunches in clear containers ready to go.

Guess who is not ready? Your man. And here are a few of the conversation non-starters I’d be willing to bet we’ve ALL heard:

  • I don’t have a pink tie!  
  • My favorite tie has enchilada sauce on it!
  • I don’t have anything but navy dress socks? I’ll just wear my workout socks, they are so comfy.
  • Can I wear these Dockers?
  • My Tommy Hilfiger shirt with the colorblock pattern has some pink in it; can I wear that?
  • Should I wear my New Balance? Or my new hiking boots?
  • Should I wear my Chaps braided belt from my Trinity High School days?
  • Where are my cufflinks? Oh well, I’ll just roll up my sleeves.
  • Can I use your old scarf from Harold’s as a pocket square?

 

Ladies, head this off at the pass. Let’s start here by answers to these questions:

Does he own a seersucker suit?

 

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No? You might want to think about investing in one. At about $300 for the entire suit, he could wear it every year and to every wedding or party in the spring and summer. (Only Matlock wore them to work or year round.) This one is at The Fashion Post. You should not pay any more money than this for this suit–it is made of cotton, not silk or gabardine. (Beware: Markups on these are rampant, especially right now.)

 

Does he have a plain navy or tan suit?

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You can zoosh up a plain navy or plain tan suit with a different shirt, a fun tie and a pocket square. There, done. All it takes is a pop of color. The navy suit and accessories below are both from Rodes.

 

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Does he own a nice sport coat?

This sportcoat is available at The Fashion Post. Paired with white linen slacks, a pink shirt and a blue fleur-de-lis tie from Southern Proper, this man is good to go.

 

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Long ties and bow ties are rampant around town. You cannot miss them at any store in Louisville. Great colorful ties are from Vineyard Vines, Southern Proper, Bird Dog Bay and High Cotton to name a few. This selection is at The Fashion Post as well. Long ties range in price from $75 – $145. Bowties range in price from $49.50 – $145.

 

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Pocket squares, like ties and bowties, are everywhere. Here are some cute cotton squares from www.jmclaughlin.com for  $25.

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Here are three great shoe staple to have. Bucks for dressy and topsiders for more casual. If your man won’t wear the standard issue white bucks, go for the light brown. Everybody wins here. These are from The Fashion Post.

 

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The day calls for color, in your man’s outfit for sure, but don’t forget socks! Save the plain dark dress socks for post-Derby. Argyle socks here are from The Fashion Post.

 

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These socks are from J. McLaughlin. I’m loving the crab ones.

 

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Now to cufflinks. You don’t have to go out to Tiffany and break the bank on these. Just go buy these fun silk Derby-themed ones from The Fashion Post for $75. There, problem solved and your man won’t be wearing a shirt with twist ties on the cuffs. And, he can wear them year round, not just for Derby.

 

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Hats? Yes, hats. Wait until you hit the track, lots of men will be wearing them. Fedoras, straw hats and newsboy caps are all popular. You’re wearing a hat, why can’t he? These hats are at Rodes.

 

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Let’s explore some options for our younger men, or those who travel more casually to the track, i.e. the paddock or infield. No need to wear your Cancun Spring Break 2013 t-shirt. Buy him a nice shirt and shorts that he can continue to wear through the summer.

These looks are all from J. McLaughlin.

 

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These gingham button down shirts would be cute under a sportcoat or with shorts.  Very versatile.

 

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Your work is done here my friend. Hopefully, your man won’t look like this. This is my favorite Derby picture ever and I find a way to work into a Derby post every year.

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I call dibs on one on far right with no shirt and a fur vest. Paws off, ladies.