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Feb, 7 2023

Men's Derby Day Dress Code

close up image of a Generation Tux Slate Blue suit with Champagne accessories

Men's Derby Day Suits

For the more than 150,000 people who come to the Kentucky Derby each year, the event is about more than horse racing. Called “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Derby is steeped in history and traditions, including sipping mint juleps and singing “My Old Kentucky Home.” And let’s not forget about the clothing and outfits. Both men and women get decked out for The Run for the Roses, so if you’re attending this year, you really need to step up your fashion game. In fact, Derby Day is the absolute perfect occasion to put together a look that will showcase your personality and unique style. Luckily, Generation Tux, a local Louisville company, has everything you need to make sure you turn heads on Derby Day—and you never have to leave your home for any of it.

From suits and ties to socks and shoes, Generation Tux offers a vast selection of attire and accessories that guarantees you’ll be able to put together the perfect Kentucky Derby ensemble. We’ll even send free color swatches to your home so you can coordinate your look with your date or friends. And when it comes to your fitting, you can do it all from the comfort of your living room couch. Our innovative algorithm will determine the right fit with just a few simple questions.

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Derby Day Dress Code

While there is no formal dress code for Derby Day, men typically wear a suit—and enjoy personalizing their look so they really stand out from the crowd. With that in mind—and given the spring season—bright and fun colors and patterns are the way to go. But before you start picking out your hues, let’s begin with the base of your Kentucky Derby look: your suit.

Image of groom wearing a Generation Tux Sharkskin suit

Suit options

Since the Kentucky Derby is held during daytime hours (gates open at 8am), a lighter-colored suit is your best option for Derby Day, especially since darker hues absorb the sun’s rays and take in more heat. And let’s not forget that most of our suits are constructed with Super 130’s Merino Wool, which is a breathable fabric that will keep you cool all day long.

Since the unofficial dress code for Derby Day calls for lots of colors, you might want a suit in a bright shade. Well, look no further than our Bright Blue Suit, Mystic Blue Suit, and Postman Blue Suit. And the Indigo Blue Suit is another bold choice, made with wool, silk, and linen blend for a lightweight compromise when it comes to formalwear.

Of course, you might want to stick with a neutral base for Derby Day. While we usually recommend a classic black or navy blue, that feels a bit too dark for an event where people lean towards pastels and sunny shades. With that in mind, we prefer to start with gray. Our Gray Sharkskin Suit and Cement Gray Suit are perfect if you want to add some bold accessories to your Derby Day ensemble, while the Light Gray Plaid Suit showcases a unique gray plaid ombre pattern. Our British Tan Suit will also look stylish and sophisticated with a variety of colors.

Don’t feel like wearing a suit to the Kentucky Derby? Pair this Navy Oxford Blazer with some khakis for a more casual—but still stylish—vibe.

Image of groom wearing a Generation Tux Postman Blue suit

Shirt selection

Derby Day is the optimal time to take your color choices to the next level. While you cannot go wrong with a white shirt no matter what the dress code may be—and we have plenty of styles to choose from in our collection—why not choose something that will help you stand out and look dapper? Check out our Pink Tickweave Shirt, Blue Honeycomb Shirt, or Purple Microcheck Shirt. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go with a playful pattern with the Windowpane Plaid Shirt and Aqua Gingham Shirt. No matter which you choose, all of these styles look great with a variety of suit options.

image of man buttoning his Generation Tux white twill spread collar shirt

Grab a tie

As we mentioned, the Kentucky Derby doesn’t have a set dress code, so the choice to wear a tie is completely up to you. If you want a more casual look, skip it. But keep in mind that most attendees will be wearing one at the Derby—and it really is an optimal way to add some pizazz to your ensemble.

Many guys on Derby Day opt to wear a long necktie, but we think a bowtie gives off a debonaire vibe. It doesn’t have to look overly formal, especially if you select something in a lively color or pattern. Generation Tux has a wide collection of colors to choose from, as well as patterns including paisley, stripes, zig zags, and more.

Not sure where to start—or looking to coordinate your Kentucky Derby attire with your date or group of friends? We know checking out different shades online can be hard, so Generation Tux will send color swatches right to your home for free! This will ensure you choose the shade or pattern that works best for you and there will be no surprises when your Derby Day suits arrive.

 image of groom wearing a Generation Tux Slate Blue suit with coral accessories

Don’t stop there

Accessorizing is an important part of any ensemble, but guys attending the Kentucky Derby really step it up. Easily match your suit and accessories to your date's Derby Day fascinator or hat with our wide variety of accessory options! We offer pocket squares in a rainbow of colors, as well as lapel pins in case you want to add a bit more whimsy to your ensemble. Generation Tux also has cufflinks in both gold and silver styles. Your Derby outfit is also the perfect time for some suspenders. Since it can be hot that time of year, suspenders allow you to lose the jacket but still look put together.

And if you’re in need of a belt to complement your suit, you’re in luck. Generation Tux has both brown and black options.

Image of groom wearing a Generation Tux Sharkskin suit with lilac accessories

Wear the right footwear

Don’t be fooled—just because this is an outdoor event during a warmer month, you cannot and should not wear open-toed shoes to the Kentucky Derby. That means no sandals or flip flops. Instead, choose a pair of dress shoes or loafers. If you don’t have a pair already in your closet, you can rent either brown or black shoes from Generation Tux.

And let’s not forget about socks. If you’re a bit on the conservative side when it comes to your style (and there is nothing wrong with that), you might feel more comfortable stepping out of the box at Derby Day with brightly colored socks or a pair in a fun pattern. This is an easy way to personalize your look while still looking like you. Generation Tux has styles boasting Star Wars, florals, Mickey Mouse, the Stars and Stripes, sports teams, and more. If you ever wanted to be a little bold, the Kentucky Derby is the time to do it!

Image of man tying his Generation Tux Brown Dress shoes

Add a hat

Women aren’t the only ones that get to wear a fun hat on Derby Day. From boat hats and safari hats to fedoras, don’t shy away from topping off your look with a stylish matching hat. In fact, most of the men at the Kentucky Derby will be wearing hats, so you might as well join in on the fun! Or match your accessory colors to your date's Derby Day fascinator or hat for a cohesive look!

Image of groom wearing a Generation Tux Slate Blue suit with a tan hat

Ready to select your race day ensemble? Take a look at our suit selection and then pair your pick with a stylish tie or bow tie, a pocket square, some accessories, a pair of shoes and socks. If you have any questions along the way while planning your look for this year's Derby, simply reach out to our award-winning customer service team.

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