We’re welcoming Derby with a warm embrace, and because it’s just a few weeks away, we wanted to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible for Kentucky’s most fashionable events! We all know that Derby week is about the hats, but in recent years, it’s become so much more.

We wanted to give you the best fashion advice possible, so we solicited the expertise of our beloved stylist Tracy Varga of Tracy Varga Group with model and blogger Nicole Green of What Nicole Wore. We also turned to the fashion gurus at Rodes For Him | For Her and Merci Boutique to provide today’s gorgeous Derby looks all shot by Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography.

SB TIP: If you’d like some extra help finding that perfect Derby look, head to Rodes on April 18 for their Derby Divas event benefiting Norton Healthcare’s Derby Divas Breast Health Center. Now, without further ado, here’s what to wear to for Thurby, Oaks and Derby.

What to Wear for Derby Week 2019

Thurby

It’s the new day for the locals! This low-key yet super-fun day at the track is when Louisvillians get to celebrate all the flair Derby has to offer without the massive crowds. Grab the gang, a mint julep and your favorite frock. Let the races begin!

What to wear + Tracy’s style tips: “Dresses are the go-to track attire for Derby week, and the formality of your dress depends on the location of your seats,” says Tracy. “You will see everything from casual sundresses to more formal dress suits. Jumpsuits have also become a trend. Your best bet is to wear layers as the weather during the first weekend in May can be in the 80s down to the 40s. Thursday is traditionally locals’ day at the track. Hats are optional, and the attire has a more casual vibe. If you do decide to go for a hat, go big or go small, but have fun and be creative with your headpiece. There are so many options available at every price point.”

Look #1:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Floral v-neck dress, $278; orange wicker bag, $266; gold bracelets, $112 each

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Cindy Borders Jewelry: Gold tassel fan earrings, $78

Look #2:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Olive safari dress, $498; straw hat, $98

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Sunglasses, $446; gold hoops, $54; From Cindy Borders Jewelry: gold and turquoise flower necklace, $138

Look #3:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Rodes: Flowy yellow pleated dress, $325; double hoop earrings, $98; sunglasses, $275

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Rodes: Christine A. Moore Millinery Ivory & yellow daisy fascinator, $380

RELATED: The Smart Girl’s Derby Guide

The Kentucky Oaks

Think pink! Oaks is the day to don your favorite pink dress and accessories  — and make sure your fella’s bow-tie is pink too. It’s all in honor of breast cancer awareness, which makes this day extra-special.

What to wear + Tracy’s style tips: “Friday, Kentucky Oaks day, is dedicated to the fillies. Churchill Downs does a ‘pink out,’ and guests are encouraged to incorporate pink into their outfits to bring national attention to the fight against breast and ovarian cancer,” says Tracy. “Most women will wear a hat or fascinator. Bring a handbag with a strap. A strap will allow you to hold a drink, pen, racing form and purse at the same time! Keep in mind that handbags are restricted to a maximum of 12 inches in any dimension, but you are allowed two bags. Overflow supplies can be brought in a clear Ziploc plastic bag.”

Look #1:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Hot pink fitted dress, $200; pink-and-white HeadCandi fascinator, $264; gold hoop earrings, $98; From Cindy Borders Jewelry: horseshoe necklace, $138

Look #2:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Pink patterned dress, $188; grey HeadCandi fascinator, $368; From Cindy Borders Jewelry: crystal and pearl necklace, $295; celluloid earrings, $68

Look #3:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Rodes: Floral blush dress, $495; Christine A. Moore Millinery navy fascinator, $510; sunglasses, $275; Cindy Borders Jewelry: blue hoop earrings, $98

RELATED: Britni Knable of Headcandi and House of K: FACES of Louisville

The Kentucky Derby

And they’re off! The greatest two minutes in sports is also the most stylish. When it comes to the Derby, the bigger the hat or fascinator, the better. While it’s still about the outfit, the hat is the star of the show.

What to wear + Tracy’s style tips: “Saturday is Derby day and the time to bring out your best dress and hat,” says Tracy. “Many women wear red in homage to the run for the roses, but you will see a wide variety of colors and prints. Bonus points if you color-coordinate with your date! The most important tip I can give is to wear a pair of comfortable, well-tested shoes. By comfy, I mean shoes that can be worn for more than eight hours. Bring some flip flops in a Ziploc bag for the walk to the car. Even the most comfortable shoes can hurt after a long day at the track. Your feet will be so happy in your cozy flip flops as you watch the rookies hobble in their high heels to the parking lot.”

Look #1:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Yellow flair dress, $376; HeadCandi sunflower fascinator, $348; From Cindy Borders Jewelry: purple hoop earrings, $95; layered gold chain necklace, $128

Look #2:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Red high-neck dress, $398; red and black HeadCandi fascinator, $278; black sunglasses, $330; From Cindy Borders Jewelry: white firework earrings, $78

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Merci: Small black bag, $298

Look #3:

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

From Rodes: One shoulder purple jumpsuit, $578; Christine A. Moore Millinery Lavender fascinator, $287; long strand pearl earrings, $126 | From Merci: White 12-inch bag, $238

Go, baby, go in style this Derby season!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Your Ultimate Style Guide to Derby 2019

A little behind the scenes action with our stylist, Tracy Varga, and our Louisville CSR, Wesley Ware.

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