Kentucky Derby race fans have always made bold wardrobe choices, but this year, the style was truly dialed up a notch. In other words, the fashion and fanfare at the track in 2022 seemed to surpass the maximum level.
“We’re just so glad to be back at Churchill Downs,” Chris Grady from Prospect, Kentucky, said. “Everyone looks incredible. There is a feeling that we’re all extra excited to be here this year.”
To celebrate the day at the races, Grady chose a vibrant coral suit with a white collared dress shirt accented with silver roses. He coordinated his outfit with his wife, Dana, who chose a textured romper in shades of coral, cream and pink and topped it off with a matching fascinator from Pink Julep.
“When I look at the fans at the track I can tell their outfits are something they really thought about,” said fashion designer and former Louisville resident Gunnar Deatherage. A contestant on “Project Runway” Season 10 and “Project Runway Allstar” Season 4, Deatherage was overjoyed with the creativity and panache on display at this year’s races.
“I find that people are really experimental this time of year. It’s the one time of the year when people allow themselves to really take a chance,” he said.
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Louisvillian David Sampson added a rhinestone and gold swan lapel pin and blue pocket square to his teal and peach plaid suit. Angela Coots, who is from Southern Indiana, entered the gates at Churchill Downs in a bold orange full-length flowy dress with a vivid purple brimmed hat encircled with magenta, sunflower yellow, and cobalt blue flowers.
Also boosting his color choices for the day, her husband, Scott, came decked out in a brilliant blue suit with a checkered blue and yellow shirt.
While bold, bright and neon colors in hot pink, cobalt blue, dazzling yellow, oranges and greens were the major trend at the track Derby weekend, jumpsuits and rompers were also on full display.
“I am seeing so much of the jumpsuit. It’s like an undertone of 1970s flare,” Deatherage said. “Along those same lines, I am seeing men’s lapels getting a little bigger. Thank you, Harry Stiles and Gucci.”
While fashion designers added details like lace, fringe, ruching and cutouts to their clothing for spring 2022, we saw plenty of race fans who added their own creative touch to their Derby weekend wardrobe.
In fact, no detail is too minute when it comes to pulling together the perfect outfit for the races.
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“I made this hat by going to Hobby Lobby and buying everything from flowers to wall decor and all sorts of random items,” said Louisvillian Jessi Gross. She not only made a stunning ultramarine green floral fascinator but also matched her fingernail polish to tie together her outfit.
“No one wants to be wearing the same thing as someone else, and I think people who go to Churchill Downs this weekend get that,” Deatherage said. “If you can add your own personal touch to something, I think that is a really fun idea.”