Horse racing has become synonymous with great men’s style. And that is especially true when it comes to some of the sport’s biggest events. Race-day style is about going all out, showing off some great details, and having some fun with your look. Over the years, certain piece have become bona fide race-day style staples—seersucker suits, bow ties, and straw hats, for example—and are absolutely classic options. Though I am a huge fan of tradition in menswear and men’s style, there is always a time to dispense with it and go a different way, which is what I did with my look for the Preakness this year.
Everyone does seersucker at the Derby and luckily there is no dress code for attending Triple Crown races. The combination of being a stubborn New Yorker by birth and having lived for over 10 years in a city that doesn’t like to be told what to do definitely contributed to my decision to disregard classic race-day style in favor of something different. A modern, slim fitting, custom blue three piece suit in place of seersucker for me. And no bow tie. I really wanted to rethink and reinterpret traditional race-day style at the this year’s Preakness.
It is possible to be bold without being outlandish and completely in your face. I’m not big on going over the top just for the sake of going over the top and prefer to temper boldness with a little subtlety. Though you could argue that there is nothing subtle about pattern mixing.
A race-day look just isn’t complete without a couple dandy details. You never have to twist my arm to get me to take out my pocket watch and a flower lapel pin is sort of like a cherry on top. Just like picking a pocket square to pair with a look, choose a flower lapel pin that fits in the color family of your look but that doesn’t match exactly. Every detail should work together and not in an overly obvious way.
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The spectator shoe is a true event shoe. You may not wear them often but they make a big style statement when you do. Allen Edmonds makes a great one called the Broadstreet, which is my personal favorite.
As I mentioned in my guide to men’s suiting options, if you are able to go the custom suiting route be sure to go all out with the custom details. Functioning sleeve buttons, a tab collar, and a two and half button jacket are not options you will typically find on an off the rack suit.
And definitely have a little fun with your jacket’s lining. It’s something that people generally won’t see, but when they do catch a glimpse of it, it is sure to turn a few heads.
This Look: Blue three piece suit by Quinntessential Gentleman Custom (similar here), Brown gingham shirt by Neiman Marcus (similar here), Striped tie by Brooks Brothers, Flower lapel pin by hook + Albert, Pocket round by Quinntessential Gentleman Handmade, Walnut calf dress belt c/o Allen Edmonds (Manistee), Walnut calf/bone spectator shoes c/o Allen Edmonds (Broadstreet), Pocket watch by Bellagio bel Tiempo (similar here), Silver t-bar pocket watch chain by Dueber Watch Company, Sunglasses by Ray-Ban (Clubmaster)
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style
Photography by Rob McIver Photo.