Every spring, we get a ton of questions from readers; they all send some variant of the question "What should I wear to Keeneland?" Now, if there are two things I love, it's shopping at local Kentucky boutiques and taking in a day of horse racing. I asked a few of our favorite Lexington-based boutiques to help us sort out the Keeneland Dress Code.
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. 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. The Peppermint Palm suggests the Richelle dress -- available in pink seersucker, as shown below, mint green seersucker, or fun Lilly prints to brighten up your day at the track.
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. This Lilly Pulitzer Pearl shift from the Peppermint Palm comes in a versatile white lace that allows you to pair with a sweater or blazer for the area of your choice.
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!
AJ's Casuals suggests this Hunter Bell lace dress, DVF clutch, and Carol Bader Designs fascinator for a fancy day on the upper levels.
To coordinate with your Keeneland ensemble, we're thrilled to offer one lucky HerKentucky reader a seersucker bow clutch purse designed by our own Italian-trained handbag maven, Elizabeth Elfen! I love this bag for a day at the track, a summer wedding, or any time you want to add a little Southern sass to your ensemble.Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and tell us what you're wearing to Keeneland this spring, and check in Thursday when we answer a pressing question about Keeneland style!