Kentucky Derby 150 Fashion Contest

Contest Details  |  Submission Guidelines

Hats, dresses, and suits! Oh my! Every single year, the Kentucky Derby fashion is truly iconic. It’s time to highlight all your stunning outfits with the Kentucky Derby Museum Fashion Contest!

As part of the Derby 150 celebrations, the Museum is creating an exhibit that shines a spotlight on the Kentucky Derby’s long fashion tradition. Winners of this Fashion Contest will have the special opportunity to be included in the Museum’s exhibit, opening next summer.

The Museum is looking for digital submissions of your favorite Derby apparel and fashion accessories – new and old! Share your Derby stories through the lens of the beautiful, fun, and creative clothing seen every year on America’s greatest railbird runway.

In addition to the use of the winning items in the fashion exhibit, all submissions – not just winners – may be showcased on the Museum’s website, social media, and other marketing and communications initiatives.

Museum Front


Contest Details


The Museum will accept digital submissions of the following for consideration:

  • Ensembles, 1875-2023 – Complete, accessorized ensembles or costumes, submitted of-a-piece. Ensembles will only be considered and displayed as a unit.
  • Individual items of apparel for all genders, 1875-2023 – Suits, dresses, costumes, as well as separates (pants, shirts, skirts, etc.). Entrants are encouraged to only submit individual separates for consideration if they make a compelling visual statement related to the Kentucky Derby. Otherwise, entrants should try to submit separates as an ensemble.
  • Individual items of headwear for all genders, 1875-2023 – Hats and fascinators.
  • Individual accessories for all genders, 1875-2023 – Purses, shoes, scarves, belts, and statement jewelry. Accessories, unless submitted as part of an ensemble, must have some sort of unique expression of the Kentucky Derby in their designs.

Judging Criteria

Submissions will be considered with the following in mind:

  • Does the ensemble/item meet the standards for eligibility, and has the entrant followed the rules for submission?
  • How well does the ensemble/item speak to the extraordinary sensory experience of the Kentucky Derby?
  • How well does the ensemble/item show the diversity of culture and background represented in Derby history?
  • Does the ensemble/item represent an historic moment or trend in Derby history or fashion history?
  • Does the ensemble/item have a compelling story or figure connected to it?
  • Is the ensemble/item visually interesting and unique?
  • Is the item in good enough condition for display?

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Submission Guidelines


  • Submissions are due no later than 11:59 PM EST on December 15, 2023.
  • Submissions are limited to two (2) per person. If more than two (2) submissions are received, only the first two (2) submitted will be considered.
  • Entrants to the contest must be 18+. Any submissions for items worn or owned by someone under 18 must be submitted by a legal parent or guardian.

Submissions for the fashion contest must also:

  • Be digital. The Museum will not accept any submissions of physical items. All submissions must be made electronically, through the Museum’s secure submission portal on its website. High-resolution .JPEG or .TIFF files (300 dpi or higher) are preferred. Limit 10 images per submission. Any submissions mailed or otherwise delivered to the Museum will not be considered nor returned.
  • Represent apparel or fashion accessories with a direct connection to the Kentucky Derby. Whether the piece is from 1893, 1993, or 2023, we want to know who wore it and what year. If you have pictures of it being worn, all the better!
  • Be your legal property to loan. It is acceptable to submit ensembles worn by someone else, but the Museum is only able to consider items that have been submitted by the legal owner, or by an authorized representative of the legal owner.
  • Be available to the Museum from Spring 2024-Spring 2025. Please do not submit items for consideration that you, for example, plan to wear to either the 2024 or 2025 Kentucky Derby.
  • Be clean, mold and mildew-free, and in stable enough condition for display. The Museum will not be responsible for cleaning or otherwise repairing and/or conserving any items submitted, if they are selected.
  • Not contain explicit language or profanity.

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Derby Fashion Throughout the Decades


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