Derby Day Fashion

Fashionable decadence has become the standard for horse races across the globe– and last week’s Kentucky Derby did not disappoint. The extravagant race day fashion that showed up for the 2021 Derby Day had us ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ in jealous admiration at our television screens. As our excitement grows for the 2021 Steeplechase of Charleston, so do our expected hat sizes.

Today’s horse race viewers show out in outfits that straddle the line between fashion and art. Colorful plumes teeter above smiling attendees and speak to creative craftsmanship and attention to detail. 

From patterned blazers to beaded masks, we rounded up our fashion inspo for Steeplechase of Charleston and left our Derby viewing parties with renewed excitement. But we’re hardly the trendsetters in these modern day styles.

Race Day Style Origins

From its beginnings in the 12th century UK, horse racing has been a sport associated with class and extravagance. Women chased a high-class status by imbuing themselves with ornamented hats at the most highly-anticipated events of the year: weddings, balls, and horse races became avenues for aesthetic and socioeconomic display.

Today’s admiration for the lavish outerwear stems from much more innocent motives, but the thrill of dressing up for race day is the same. While Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. had sought to capture the European spirits and styles on American soil, today’s viewers seek to be a part of decades of class and intrigue. 

Since then, numerous competitions for the most unique race day looks have popped up across the country, fueling the fashion craze. Fashions on the Field is the highlight of the Melbourne Cup, and the Kentucky Oaks features the Longines Fashion Contest. Celebrities, royals, and eager fans all perpetuate the longstanding traditions and add to a growing love for race day.

Our Picks

The 2020 Steeplechase of Charleston attendees understood the wardrobe assignment. Viewers showed out in their most ornate designs and lavish colors and added to the November day spectacle. We pulled together some of our favorite looks from that day to kickstart your inspiration for Steeplechase 2021!

We can’t get enough of the colorful ornamentation on this vest! Stand out at Steeplechase of Charleston with your boldest and brightest patterns.

The bigger the better! The beautiful detail in this race day hat perfectly complements a chunky necklace and darker color scheme.

All red for race day! Stand out with a pop of color and an eye-catching accent to top it all off. Doesn’t hurt to have a bottle of champagne in your hand as well!

Make your presence known as the best-dressed couple at Steeplechase of Charleston. We can’t pick our favorite element of this gentleman’s attire– the hat? the glasses? the bowtie?

We love the coordination between this hat color and complementing accessories! This rich shade of purple is fit for a queen.

It’s never too early to start getting excited about your Steeplechase outfits. No matter where you’re getting your inspiration from, we can’t wait to see your race day get-ups at the 2021 Steeplechase of Charleston. Go bold!