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Brims, bourbon, and beautiful horses: Goodwill's style guide for the racing season

“And they’re off!” Horses, mint juleps, and a season-long celebration.

The Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Festival events are right around the corner. At the track, people dress to impress – as if they are bidding on hats rather than horses. Needless to say, everyone has begun the search for the perfect fascinator or hat, and dress or tie.

For festival events: The Kentucky Derby Festival does a fantastic job at celebrating the spirit of Louisville and the state of Kentucky. With that said, they host more than 70 events prior to May 7: the Steamboat Race, Balloon Glow, Pegasus Parade, Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. For every event, it’s important to dress for the weather. In my recent Goodwill adventures, I have been impressed with the selection of spring sweaters and jackets. Packing a light cardigan or rain jacket is always a safe bet! Kentucky’s weather is unpredictable, but no inconvenience can hinder the hype for Louisville’s heritage.

For the race: Releasing your inner Southern Belle and prep is acceptable, and even encouraged, the first weekend in May. At the Ring Road location, two of my friends found a lavender tie and coordinating flowery, white hat. In my experience at the track, the bigger the hat and the better! There are no bounds with unspoken social rules, but I do encourage choosing your hat first and avoiding black as your main color. Bright, bold, and big are the three keys to standing out amongst the 160,000 thoroughbred fans.

Whether you are hosting a Derby party in your back yard or plan to visit Churchill Downs, I challenge you to shop fashion forward with Goodwill this racing season.



our history

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Louisville since 1923. Goodwill gives people up—not a handout—so they can experience the dignity and independence that comes from earning a paycheck.


our mission

We help people with disabilities or other disadvantages achieve and maintain employment to gain a better quality of life.

what we do

Goodwill collects and sells donated items to fund programs for Kentuckians who have disabilities or other challenges in finding and maintaining traditional employment. On-the-job training, job preparation skills, and employment counseling are just a few of Goodwill's services that benefit thousands of adults each year and strengthen families in Kentucky's communities.


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