Keeneland Style Guide

Every year, in springtime and autumn, it seems that tons of new visitors arrive at HerKentucky  with variants of the same search: "What should I wear to Keeneland?"  I always want to reach out through Google, find all of y'all in Jacksonville, Ontario, and everywhere in-between, give you a hug and say "look nice and be yourself."

Now, the dress codes for Keeneland vary pretty wildly according to your location.  That really is my favorite thing about this racetrack.  There's a way to have fun at any budget, and at any level of dress.  But, as we've said before here at HerKentucky, visitors to Keeneland just try a little harder.

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 are fine in khakis and polo shirts, and girls can wear slacks.  In fact, you may even see folks wearing (gasp!) jeans.  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.

If you'll be dining in the upper-level, enclosed dining rooms-- The Lexington, Kentucky, or Phoenix Rooms-- then expect to dress for a business event.  The Lexington and Kentucky rooms -- dining rooms often reserved for business and social gatherings-- have a "business formal" dress code; these areas require men to don a coat and tie, and skirts/dresses/dressy slacks for ladies.   The Phoenix Room-- another reserved dining room-- is "business casual", requiring collared shirts and slacks for men and dresses/pantsuits for ladies.  During the week, many professionals take long business lunches in these areas, as is reflected in their dress code. 

The members-only Clubhouse similarly requires coat and tie for men and dressy pants/skirts for ladies.  I find that a skirt suit or a dress paired with a pretty cardigan or wrap is always appropriate for the upper levels.  In general, if you'd wear it to church or a business meeting, you're golden.  Most of all, remember to look nice because you'll see plenty of people!

What do y'all wear to Keeneland?