Keeneland is one of my very favorite things about the Bluegrass State, y'all. The races, the crowd, the fashion, the bread pudding... it's all pretty wonderful.
Some folks have told me, though, that the dress code is a little intimidating. So, the next few days' posts will focus on decoding the Keeneland dress code. First up, the lower levels.
If you're going to stay near the Paddock --General Admission, Grandstand, or Equestrian Room-- there's no need to dress up very much. Guys often opt for khakis and polo shirts, and women can wear slacks. You're actually dressing for a horse race in these sections. These are the areas nearest the track itself, and people are truly there to watch (and bet on) the horses. With that said, don't be surprised to see a lot of dresses and sport coats in the lower-levels. In recent years, a culture of dressy tailgating (think Steeplechase) has popped up among college students and twenty-somethings, and the second floor (General Admission) Sports Bar often resembles a campus bar or fraternity semi-formal; while the dress code says "casual", there's plenty of Vineyard Vines ties and Lilly Pulitzer to be seen.
Keep it classic and preppy with a Lilly Pulitzer dress from the Peppermint Palm and Jack Rogers sandals from Monkees of Lexington. Your beau can't go wrong with a Vineyard Vines tie from Country Club Prep. Don't forget your sunglasses, a cup of water, and a good dose of sunscreen if you're hanging around the Paddock or a tailgate; it's really easy to wind up dehydrated or sunburned! Check in tomorrow for a guide to the dining rooms' dress code.
Stay comfortable, look cute, and enjoy your day at the races!