Kentucky Derby Day is almost here, and with it comes the unofficial launch date of lawn parties. Think iced cocktails, finger foods, picnic blankets and yard games. Maybe a decorative flamingo or two if your host has her ducks in a row.
Lawn parties, whether they’re Derby-themed or not, are the perfect excuse to try out a retro outfit. Donna’s Dress Shop, 1410 W. 39th St., has everything you need for vintage and vintage-inspired looks across the decades: dresses, bathing suits, hats and even lingerie.
If you’ve lived in the Midwest a while, you know that it’s rarely warm enough on Easter to wear your new spring dress without tights. Derby Day, the first Saturday in May, is a surer bet for bare legs.
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If you’re not sure you can keep the goosebumps at bay, try this floral circle skirt (Unique Vintage, $58). It would look rather Hepburn-esque paired with a slim black turtleneck. In warmer weather, swapping the turtleneck for a solid-colored bodysuit would also be a classic silhouette.
This sari-inspired caftan (April Madden, $110) is also great for layering: throw leggings underneath if it’s chilly, but pair with just a black slip in the warmer months.
April Madden is a local designer who repurposes vintage saris for her designs. She’ll be at Donna’s Dress Shop April 21 for a trunk show, where you can snap up her caftan and other unique pieces.
If you want to go full Betty Draper, this polka dot dress (Unique Vintage, $94) would look lovely on everyone with its wide and flattering neckline. Add a cigarette and a look of discontent, and you’ll be “Mad Men”-perfect.
Dresses that hit at the knee are good for blanket sitting and croquet playing. To fully up the costume-inspired ante (especially for a Derby party!), top a dress with one of the hats or fascinators that Donna’s Dress shop carries (around $50).
Another incredibly becoming bustline comes with this pink floral dress (Emily and Fin, $98). The pattern leans very vintage but looks less costume-y than the polka dot dress. The tucked pleats along the bustline are very flattering, as is the nipped waist. You could pair this with a leather moto jacket for a more current look.
If you’re looking for a more casual outfit but still want a vintage-inspired look, try this plaid jumper-style dress (Mata Traders, $89). It would be darling for a first date, paired with a wedge heel (all the better to walk across the lawn with).