Culture // 5 min Read

Retail Therapy: Derby Party

Written by Kristen Constantineau

Apr 15, 2021


Written by: Kristen Constantineau | Photography by: Photography by Anne, Inc.

The first Saturday in May plays host to one of the South’s most famed events: the Kentucky Derby. And while most of us can’t be a part of the Derby experience at Churchill Downs in Louisville, there are plenty of ways to bring home the excitement of “the greatest two minutes in sports” with a Kentucky Derby–themed party.

Rattan Tray, Emily McCarthy, $42; Glass Decanter, Emily McCarthy, $64; Topiary, Emily McCarthy, $36; Limited Edition Derby Flour Sack Tea Towels, Emily McCarthy, $32 for a set of 2; Derby Acrylic Stir Sticks, Emily McCarthy, $19.99 for a set of 4
Rattan Tray, Emily McCarthy, $42; Glass Decanter, Emily McCarthy, $64; Topiary, Emily McCarthy, $36; Limited Edition Derby Flour Sack Tea Towels, Emily McCarthy, $32 for a set of 2; Derby Acrylic Stir Sticks, Emily McCarthy, $19.99 for a set of 4

Also known as “The Run for the Roses,” the Kentucky Derby is not only a legendary race and longstanding tradition, it's also the perfect opportunity for a springtime celebration. The key to a great Derby party is incorporating Southern entertaining staples mixed with equestrian touches in the food, décor, and attire. Sundresses, big hats, bourbon balls, and mint juleps. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite equestrian-themed essentials and Derby-worthy attire to help you host the perfect Kentucky Derby soirée that will guarantee you a spot in the winner’s circle.

Alexa Pulitzer Royal Horse Notes, Scout Southern Market, $21
Alexa Pulitzer Royal Horse Notes, Scout Southern Market, $21
“Eager for the Race” Box, Scout Southern Market, $33
“Eager for the Race” Box, Scout Southern Market, $33
Horse Bottle Stopper, Scout Southern Market, $16
Horse Bottle Stopper, Scout Southern Market, $16
Pappy & Company Handmade Bourbon Balls, Scout Southern Market, $29.99 for a box of 12
Pappy & Company Handmade Bourbon Balls, Scout Southern Market, $29.99 for a box of 12
Placemat, J. Banks Design, $79; Napkin Ring, J. Banks Design, $40; Napkin, J. Banks Design, $40
Placemat, J. Banks Design, $79; Napkin Ring, J. Banks Design, $40; Napkin, J. Banks Design, $40

Dressed for the Derby

There's no denying that the key to making the most of any Derby party is dressing the part.

Show your Derby Day spirit with bright spring colors, feminine dresses, and fun accessories. From backyard casual to all-out glam (fascinator included), Gigi's Boutique in Old Town Bluffton has a variety of styles that are beautiful, elegant, and easy to wear—perfect for race day and all season long.

Sheridan French Tiffany Maxi Skirt, $295; Ruffle Sleeve Top, $62
Sheridan French Tiffany Maxi Skirt, $295; Ruffle Sleeve Top, $62
Woven Leather Headband, $14; Love-Knot Post Earrings, $18; Assorted Stackable Bracelets, $52–$64; Crocodile Envelope Clutch, $55; Tenerife Woven Wedge, $149
Woven Leather Headband, $14; Love-Knot Post Earrings, $18; Assorted Stackable Bracelets, $52–$64; Crocodile Envelope Clutch, $55; Tenerife Woven Wedge, $149
Sheridan French Lucy Dress, $345
Sheridan French Lucy Dress, $345
Tassel-Trimmed Bracelet, $45; Beaded & Woven Clutch, $55; Oia Infinity Flatform, $119; Mini Gola Earrings, $32; Fascinator, $45
Tassel-Trimmed Bracelet, $45; Beaded & Woven Clutch, $55; Oia Infinity Flatform, $119; Mini Gola Earrings, $32; Fascinator, $45
Leaf Print Wrap Dress, $149; Hepburn Straw Hat, $24
Leaf Print Wrap Dress, $149; Hepburn Straw Hat, $24
Sheila Fajl Irene Hoop, $70; Sheila Fajl Assorted Bangles, $35–$60; Chain Necklace, $27; Beaded Leaf Clutch, $72; Oahu Espadrille, $119
Sheila Fajl Irene Hoop, $70; Sheila Fajl Assorted Bangles, $35–$60; Chain Necklace, $27; Beaded Leaf Clutch, $72; Oahu Espadrille, $119
Tyler BÖe Peony Penny Twill Dress, Call for price
Tyler BÖe Peony Penny Twill Dress, Call for price
Peepers Del Mar Sunglasses, $25; BuDhaGirl Bangles, $120; Quatrefoil Post Earrings, $21; HollyShaeDesign Oyster Clutch, $60; Luzon Yute Heel, $119
Peepers Del Mar Sunglasses, $25; BuDhaGirl Bangles, $120; Quatrefoil Post Earrings, $21; HollyShaeDesign Oyster Clutch, $60; Luzon Yute Heel, $119

Mint Julep

A Kentucky Derby party wouldn’t be complete without a mint julep in hand. Historically known as a “spirited morning picker-upper,” the mint julep was also used for medicinal purposes. Once used by farmers and horse trainers each morning for aching muscles, the bourbon was known to soothe muscles, the sugar softened the ethanol, and the mint freshened breath. Over time, the mint julep became a staple in the thoroughbred industry, popping up at racetracks—transitioning from a morning drink to a sipping cocktail. Read how to make the perfect mint julep, courtesy of Cathead Vodka.

Small Silver Pedestal Bowl, J. Banks Design, $59; Old Soul Bourbon, Boundary Bottle Company, $45; Mint Julep Cup, The Paris Market, $32; Mint Julep Cocktail Napkins, Emily McCarthy, $12
Small Silver Pedestal Bowl, J. Banks Design, $59; Old Soul Bourbon, Boundary Bottle Company, $45; Mint Julep Cup, The Paris Market, $32; Mint Julep Cocktail Napkins, Emily McCarthy, $12

Read the original story in the Spring / Summer edition of the bluff.

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