Whether you’re in the Champagne Room or your in-laws' backyard, this is one sporting event where you better look good. Scratch that. You HAVE to look good. Most horse racing events, regardless of where in the world they take place, carry an aura of southern tradition with some modern punch from head to toe, and the Belmont Stakes is no exception.
One should understand that horse racing events require attendees to take their attire up just a few notches. Traditions are strong and sophistication levels stay just above anywhere else thanks to attendees adhering to the unspoken dress code rule.
As you pack your suitcase for the final leg of the Triple Crown™, here are a few things to keep in mind when seeking out the most authentic of sources for a casual ensemble you can throw together before the starting gun.
THE SUIT: A SEERSUCKER ONE
The Belmont Stakes stands for a lot of things: cash, money, hats, but not least among them is seersucker season. Since the man behind the now very popular brand Haspel began producing the crinkly fabric in New Orleans a century ago, the lightweight style of particularly Southern gentleman – bright colors, bow-ties, hats (straw ones) – has come to redefine how we catch sunshine and a breeze.
They used to say that only rich men could afford to wear such a cheap fabric, but, seriously, seersucker may never have been this affordable. You can find a full Haspel suit not unlike Atticus Finch’s in To Kill a Mockingbird at your local Macy’s or Nordstrom, or shop online for a similar option, J. Crew (my favorite). Even a new jacket is guaranteed to wrinkle, and that’s a good thing!
BOW-TIES: EXTRA FESTIVE
Perhaps not until Christmas will your neck be this festive or in the spirit and bow-ties don’t get much more festively appropriate than those crafted by the belles Emmie Henderson and Reagan Hardy Howell down at Southern Proper in Atlanta. Southern Proper in the last few years has become mecca for fraternities across the country, but I give credit where credit is due.
Add colorful and preppy accessories to tie a theme together. If your shirt is plain, go with a patterned tie and choose a brightly-colored solid tie if your shirt has a pattern. The same goes for pocket squares. Please note, festive bow-ties really stand out against a crisp white shirt. Which brings me to my next point.
THE SHIRT: A CLEAN ONE
Nothing, and I mean nothing, looks better with a seersucker jacket than a crisp white shirt, and nothing could be worse than that old pastel thing you wore to the last Derby party you attended. Because the Belmont Stakes is rooted in deep American tradition, your shirt should also come with its own history.
Check out the trusted, family-owned business Hamilton, which has been manufacturing shirts since 1883 in Houston, Texas. A Hamilton will run you about $245, but their made-to-measure program will guarantee you a shirt that’s meant for your body type.
THE SHOES: WITH A TWIST
This is where I’m going to lose some of you but you gotta trust me. You could have the most handsome-looking outfit in a sea of frat bros, but if your shoes do not accentuate the rest of you, you are doing a disservice to your outfit.
This being a summer event, you might try something a little more daring such as the saddle shoe or even the classic spectator. A brown and white spectator shoe will go with most any outfit and adds some color and visual interest that would otherwise be missing. Even a brown or white suede oxford can stand out well among the crowd while keeping with the tradition of the event. If you’re a man after the full horse racing experience, a pair of equestrian boots like those of old might trip your trigger.
STAND OUT AT THE BELMONT STAKES
Guests with premium packages will enjoy privileged views of the track and high-end amenities such as gourmet dining, open bars, outdoor viewing platforms and private wagering stations. Book your Official Ticket Package with Belmont Experiences today to experience the incredible premium seating locations, unmatched access to exclusive hospitality, and more!
P.S. You can read up on women's fashion essentials for the Belmont Stakes here!