Kentucky Derby

My Fair Derby: Rain or shine, crowd stays fashionable

The skies over Louisville didn’t offer up any problems a knee-length, pink polka dot raincoat or a pair of red Walmart rainboots couldn’t solve.

For many, Kentucky Derby attire is a meticulously planned proposition, usually with visions of sunny skies and highs in the 70s in mind. Saturday’s 40s and 50s, with intermittent showers, prompted some to change plans, while others made the best of it.

“I have always wanted to do ‘My Fair Lady’ at the Derby,” said Carrie Ketterman, who was playing Eliza Doolittle to her husband Jeff Ketterman’s Henry Higgins in the paddock area Saturday.

The weather did not deter their plans, as he stood in a brown seersucker suit with a matching bowler, and she wore a white dress with lace sleeves and a hat that looked like it had been borrowed from Audrey Hepburn’s closet.

“After this much planning, rain or shine, I was wearing it,” Carrie said.

Fortunately, before they departed London — the one in “My Fair Lady” — milliner Cress Esser and her husband Toby Esser checked the weather, and were able to pack Toby a yellow, velvet Versace suit with a matching Vineyard Vines tie with a design that picked up Cress’ red Louboutin boots.

Before traveling up from Rome, Ga., Margie Beauchamp checked the weather, and when she saw the forecast, she hit up Amazon Prime for a pink polka dot raincoat and black boots she selected to match her pink and black hat. This was her second Derby, and the first one was also a rainy day she did not plan for — a mistake she wasn’t going to make twice.

Kara Frank and Jason Contessa of Roanoke, Va. packed along thick, clear ponchos, but forgot her boots. So an emergency Walmart run was made for a classic pair of red boots. Contessa, alas, could not find pants as colorful as the bright blue shorts he was sporting, so he was hoping — like most — the sun would come out.

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