Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gina's Derby Don'ts: 20 Things NOT to Do When You Go to the KentuckyDerby

In honor of Derby Day today, I decided to turn a Facebook post I created while attending the 2014 Kentucky Derby into a blog post.  All of the Don'ts represent actual people I saw at the Derby that year, though I wasn't quick enough with my phone to snap a pic of every Don't.

Which leads me to this:  sorry for the crappy photo quality on some of these.  Glamour magazine clearly hires better photographers than I for their iconic "Glamour Dos and Don'ts" column each month.  That said, some of these photos are so bad that they're epic.


Number 1:  Do not wear a felt hat to the Derby.  It's chilly, yes, but it's not December.  Straw or Sinamay are far more appropriate for Spring.

Number 2:  Don't wear black panties with your white linen dress, even if your hat is black and white striped.

Number 3:  Don't wear shoes that are going to fall apart on you (even if they are a luscious turquoise snakeskin that are the perfect height and match your dress exactly) UNLESS you happen to have your shoes fall apart right beside the AWESOME guy in charge of the whole venue who can lickety-split send his minions to get you some Super Glue and then help your husband fix said shoes. 

Number 4:  Don't wear a dress that is only 3 inches longer than your underwear.  It's the Derby not a NASCAR race, honey.

Number 5:  Don't wear athletic shoes with your dress.  Even the horses don't wear running shoes, and they have to speed around that track while you just sit there nursing your mint julep.  On second thought, this girl's probably drinking a beer.

Number 6:  Don't.  Just don't.

Number 7:  Don't get your hat embellished by the floral department at Michael's.  Fake feathers, fake roses, fake hibiscus, oh my!  Less is more, dear.  Less is more.

Number 7:  Don't carry your hat.  Either come prepared to rock that bad boy all day or don't wear one at all.

Number 8:  Don't dress as an alcoholic beverage, even if it is the official beverage of the Derby.

Number 9:  Don't walk around in your sock feet.  It's a HORSE track.  Like, with real horses.  And poop.  Ew.  Keep your shoes on.

Number 10:  Don't wear flip flops beyond your box seat.  I get it that your heels hurt your feet.  I get it that you came prepared with emergency flip flops.  But wear them only while wandering around the confined luxury of your Daddy's box.  And while you're at it, have another mint julep.  You'll forget about your aching feet in no time.

Number 11:  Don't wear the same hat as your BFF unless you're Stella Artois or Dodge Ram girls and you're getting paid to do it.  You look like you're in junior high.

Number 12:  Don't wear cowboy boots with your Derby dress.  While there are occasions where a dress paired with cowboy boots is a total Do, the Derby isn't it.

Number 13:  Don't wear sequins.  It's a horse race not a cocktail party.  (Too slow with my iPhone to get a pic of this one.  You'll just have to trust me.)

Number 14:  Don't store your phone in your bra.  This is not a bar.  And besides, you paid hundreds of dollars to be here.  The least you can do is invest in a little clutch purse.

Number 15:  Don't leave after the running of the Derby.  Again, you paid big bucks to be here.  Stay and watch the last two races.  It's going to be an hour's wait for taxis or the shuttle bus anyway.  You might as well take advantage of the cleared-out betting lines and hang around.

Number 16:  Don't wear a statement necklace to the Derby.  Your hat is your statement.  Go with simple pearls.

Okay.  My last three might be controversial, but, hey.  It's my blog.  Deal with it.

Number 17:  Do not wear Vineyard Vines to the Derby if you're a girl.  Don't get me wrong, I live V V and their little whale, but I saw five girls in the same V V dress and many other duplicates.  For guys, there's a lot of V V duplication, too, but it's not as big a deal to them.

Number 18:  Ditto for Lilly Pulitzer.

Number 19:  Don't wear wedges.  I love them, too, but I spent a lot of time people watching and the legs in pumps just looked better.  And, admittedly, less comfortable.  But still.  Pumps look prettier.

And Number 20 is just for the guys from my uber fashionable hubby, Josh:  Don't wear a business suit and power tie to the Derby.  Spring colors for your jacket?  Khaki linen pants?  Bright bow ties?  Even some Madras in moderation?  All acceptable.  But a gray suit and a conservative tie?  Come on.  Have a little pride.

There you go!  My 20 Derby Don'ts.  I'd love you to add your own in comments!  And before I sign off, I'd like to share one Derby Do.  Here it is.

If your Daddy ever calls you up and says, "Hey honey, how about you get us tickets for the Derby this year," DO.  Just do.


  1. I'm not ashamed to say that many these were over my not so fashionable head. I remember loving this on FaceBook when I saw it originally because YOU have always been my fashion icon and role model all in one. ;) I'm glad to know now how to handle myself if I ever go to the derby but this may have been more of a lesson in the fact that I am not the derby-going type. I lost it reading Josh's tips "Madras in moderation". ;) If he were ever to want to write a men's fashion blog, I'd suggest that as the title.

    1. Oh my goodness! I had no idea I was ANYONE'S fashion icon! What a wonderful revelation! And I think your blog title idea for Josh is spot on. (He cracks me up, too!) Thanks so much for reading and commenting!