For a journalist at the Kentucky Derby, there to report on the fashions of the day, it is a tale of two extremes. For every stylish gentleman in a seersucker suit, you'll encounter a guy proudly wearing a crochet beer-can hat. Count Collier Mills as one of the well-dressed crowd.
The name might be familiar to sports fans. He played college basketball at Transylvania from 1997 to 2001.
Mills, who now works in the restaurant franchising business in Lexington, arrived at Churchill Downs last Saturday wearing a vibrant Vineyard Vines tie that complemented the coral dress worn by his wife, Katie.
"It's a one time of the year that it's fun to dress up and to wear something you wouldn't normally wear," Mills said after the Derby.
The couple have attended the Derby the past several years. Last week, for prime seats in the Skye Terrace, he wore a Hugo Boss suit, a shirt by Kenneth Cole and Calvin Klein loafers.
At 6-foot-7, Mills says, height comes into play when shopping for clothes. Instead of sticking with one brand or store, he looks for the best fit.
"That's the thing about being tall: You can't shop for everything at one place," he says. "You kind of mix and match."
Unlike some marriages where the wife buys a shirt here or pants there for the husband, Mills does a lot of his own shopping for clothes. It's just easier that way, to check if a sleeve or a cuff is long enough, he says.
Accessories are another matter. One of Mills' favorite pieces is a gift from his wife. The leather bracelet is accented with sterling silver engraved with the names of their two children.
What he wore
Suit: A Hugo Boss design with a classic cut and three-button jacket.
Shirt: Kenneth Cole.
Shoes: Calvin Klein saddle-colored loafers.
Tie: Vineyard Vines with a special Keeneland custom logo pattern. The company carries extra long styles for taller men.
Tie clip: Vintage. "It's something I just found at an antique store," Mills said. "Out of town somewhere, maybe 4 or 5 bucks."
Body products: Dove Men+Care soap, Lacoste cologne.
Shopping tactics: "For me it's the size, whatever you find that fits well. And sales, I like the sales rack." Dillard's and Macy's are among his favorite retailers, he says.