Whether you're cheering on your favorite horse at Churchill Downs or you're just sipping mint juleps on the front porch with friends, spring is time to lighten up and put some prep in your step. Vineyard Vines, the retailer that is the official clothing sponsor of the Kentucky Derby for the second year in a row, has put together some of the best items to add thoroughbred style to your wardrobe.
Here are the top 10 items for guys and gals:
1. The sheath dress. In crisp seersucker stripes or snappy horsey prints, the shift dress is a must-have for a preppy spring. Whether it's strapless or halter style, this classic shape is a versatile fashion statement that works for many occasions right on through summer.
2. The classic cardigan. In cotton jersey, this sweater is a lightweight cover-up for dresses, tees and tank tops when the weather turns chilly. And believe me, there are plenty of cool days and nights ahead.
3. The short skirt. Another preppy favorite, the colorful short golf-inspired skirt is one way to show off a little skin and get into the swing of the season. Top it off with a tank and cardigan for dressier outings. Vineyard Vines does the short skirt in a circular "tie" pattern. Check it out at vineyardvines.com.
4. White bootcut jeans. Don't think short skirts or dresses are for you? Then white bootcut jeans may be one of your best bets this spring. Pair them with a colorful graphic top and you've got a winning look that will carry you down the stretch of the rest of the season.
5. The accessories. Sometimes it only takes a few extras to give you that sporty Derby Day feeling. Think big hats (the floppy ones are big hits this year), printed silk scarves and sashes, wide headbands, gingham-lined tote bags, and printed silk clutches. High heels may be de rigueur for a day at the races, but if you're really smart, you'll pack a pair of comfortable flats, too.
6. For the guys, the ultimate Derby Day outfit is the seersucker suit. It's quintessential style for spring and summer and evokes days harking back to the sartorial splendor of the traditional southern gentleman. In blue and white, the cotton seersucker suit is even more of a classic when accessorized with a silk bow tie and linen pocket square. No, you don't really have to do the cigar and bourbon thing unless you really want to get into the spirit.
7. The blue blazer. The navy blue jacket is another classic for a man that has in years past been paired with preppy chinos. Madras jackets have also popped up at the track. But this spring and summer, these jackets are freshened up with lighter pastel colored pants in silk and linen blends.
8. The pastel pants. Yes, real men do wear pink pants. Teamed with a linen blazer, the candy-colored pales surface in plain-front trousers that exude a cool confidence for stylish warm-weather outings.
9. The oxford shirt. Another classic for guys, the white cotton shirt is always a go-to standby in a man's wardrobe all year long. But when you want to change things up a little this spring and summer, opt for a cotton shirt in a new mini-tattersall print.
10. The accessories. This is where it really gets fun, guys. You may not get into wearing a seersucker suit, but a dapper silk tie printed with polka dots or even mint juleps and horseshoes, now that's really getting horsey. And don't forget the straw boater hats. Tres chic, ya'll.
Image: Spring gets preppy Kentucky Derby style in Vineyard Vines' blue cotton seersucker suit complete with mint julep bow tie for him and "Bitsy" silk printed shift dress for her. Vineyard Vines is the official clothing sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. To view the entire collection, visit www.vineyardvines.com.