The Kentucky Derby has many great traditions. The call to the post, the singing of My Old Kentucky Home, mint juleps, the rose garland and infield debauchery. Unfortunately, the latter has fallen by the wayside and it’s our job to bring this great tradition back from the grave.
For years, the Infield was a wild west of sorts. The beer flowed freely from coolers, people wrestled in mud and naked men climbed flagpoles. The stories of clever smugglers created legendary tales that have been passed down for generations. Unfortunately, corporate America saw an end to that, but it does not mean the fun has to stop.
In recent years, Infield attire has changed. Instead of jorts, the suit has become the most popular wardrobe selection. Not only did camera phones dramatically decrease Infield nudity, it prompted too many people to dress to impress on Instagram. Folks, that’s not what the Infield is about.
This year I am asking General Admission ticket-holders to leave the suits at home. No Suit, No Shirt, No Problem.
The Infield needs less of this…
…and more of this.
There are many reasons why you should abandon the formal attire. Let me explain.
The first Saturday of May always brings bad weather. It’s either 85 degrees or raining. A nice, heavy suit leads to dehydration and the muddy, rainy mess will ruin the suit forever. For the ladies who love to wear heels, they’re asking for blisters. In the many miles that will be walked, a heel is destined to break. That won’t happen if they are left at home.
Not the Place
When thousands gather at Churchill Downs for the 144th running of the roses, many will claim a seat in the grandstand or on Millionaires’ Row. That occasion requires a certain dress code, one that involves a collared shirt for men and a colorful hat for women. It’s a look that works at Keeneland or on that side of the track.
The phrase, “he’s from the other side of the track,” should be taken literally for the Derby. The other side of the track demands an outlandish attitude.
So you want to wear a suit for Derby? You can find plenty at the Goodwill, one that will look great with the sleeves torn off. You think big hats are cool? Bucket hats do a great job of keeping the sun off your skin on a sweltering day.
You don’t need to rock flip-flops and jorts. In fact, nothing will grab more attention than a creative costume. These are outfits that carry an incredible amount of street cred.
Or you could take it one step farther by integrating a Derby horse into your costume. In 2015, this guy was interviewed by multiple news outlets for his rendition of American Pharoah.
The Kentucky Derby Infield is a majestic place. Its fame and lore does not grow by being fancy. Make the most of this wonderful annual experience by living under the motto, “No Suit, No Shirt, No Problem.” Just don’t fall when you make a run for it atop the pot-o-potties.