Just like the Kentucky Derby, Breeders’ Cup weekend is another great reason to pull out all the stops when it comes to fashion — with a few notable differences.
Gone are the floral patterns and ‘spring-like’ colors we all love and adore the first weekend of May. Purple is the name of the game and the official color of the Breeders’ Cup. It showed everywhere on both men and women, including in stylish toppers, ties, slacks and pocket squares. One fan even turned her hair purple for the races.
With a temperature hovering right around 45 degrees Friday at the iconic Churchill Downs racetrack, wool coats, fur trim and faux fur bomber jackets kept the crowd cozy.
“Breeders’ Cup is a lot of texture, warmth, layers and comfort,” said Whitney Pfister of Cincinnati. “It’s a lot of fun dressing for this weekend, in fact, I think I may like it better than Derby.”
(Those might be fighting words, Pfister!)
Pfister purchased a felt fedora for her father from Breeders’ Cup official milliner Christine A. Moore, who is selling men and women’s hats directly inside the gates at Churchill Downs through the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
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“The fashion scramble has become a part of the excitement of Breeders’ Cup the same way it is the weekend of the Kentucky Derby,” said Moore. “Race fans like to wear a hat during the event and take it home as a souvenir.”
The fall season and chilly temperatures brought an array of jewel tones to the track. Plenty of deep purple, burnt orange, emerald green, teal and scarlet accented felt fascinators. Not to mention a sea of fashionable fedoras worn by both sexes.
“Something else that is a great thing about a fall race,” said Moore, “is you can get away with wearing boots, booties, tights and, in reality, more comfortable clothing but it is still so sophisticated and chic.”
Cindy Kelsey Payne looked chic in a fascinator made of peacock feathers from Los Angeles designer Arturo Rios.
“The look is sophisticated but there is also an edginess to Breeders Cup fashion which I like,” said Kelsey Payne. “I mean look at this. I am wearing a leather dress with a peacock fascinator, black tights, leather boots and fur jacket. It was definitely fun getting dressed for the day.”
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For all, it’s utter sophistication with an equestrian flare — something that is decidedly more prominent at Breeders’ Cup than on Kentucky Derby weekend. For the practical race fan, tall boots, leggings and a warm quilted jacket are the winning ticket.
“Pure Equestrian” is the vibe we took away from the Breeders’ Cup when it was held at Lexington’s Keeneland Racetrack in 2016.
“I’d say, in general, the look at Breeders’ Cup is more sophisticated and refined than what we typically see at the Kentucky Derby,” said Bob Bayersdorfer, owner of The Fashion Post, a fine men’s clothing boutique at 2420 Lime Kiln Lane.
He’s not wrong — and the fashion at the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships does not disappoint.
Reach Kirby Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @kirbylouisville. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/kirbya.