Radnor Hunt: What To Wear

Radnor Hunt

Rain or shine, Derby or equestrian style, here’s what to wear to Radnor Hunt.

by Diane Oliva, style editor

Ready for Radnor Hunt Races? While it is one of the most fashionably fun days of the year, planning your outfit can be difficult because the weather is so unpredictable. Last year, the sun baked us into the 90s and this year the forecast has a good chance of showers.

But there is a famous quote about Radnor Hunt. “There is no bad weather for the Hunt, only bad outfits.”  Don’t let that scare you. I am here to help!  There are basically two main style categories for Radnor Hunt: Derby or Stables.  If you stay within these categories, you will be good to go.

Let’s talk about Derby. It’s my personal favorite, but I have been known to dress for Stables if the weather is rainy and cold. Like I said, either way works! Derby consists of fun, flirty dresses that are either pastel or brightly colored, print or solid.

Radnor Hunt
Photo at Radnor Hunt by Sveta Shapiro.

Hats – yay or nay? YAY! It’s one of the few times of the year we get to really play with fashion, so go for it. Go for the hat! Lots of local stores are carrying them this time of year, and you can get them on online as well. Check out my story on hats for some ideas. 

Radnor Hunt
Stephanie Kwong wearing SOVATA. Photo by Wendell Levi Teodoro.

Don’t want to commit a large portion of your outfit budget to a hat? You don’t have to. Some designers (like Tiffany Arey Millinery) rent them for very affordable prices. Another option for hats is local consignment and thrift stores. My favorite shops are The Junior League of Philadelphia in Ardmore and The Neighborhood League Shop in Wayne. Both currently have hats in stock. 

Radnor Hunt
Courtesy of The Trend Spotter

When it comes to footwear, keep in mind that the entire course is grassy fields, so if you choose the Derby route of fashion, do not wear stilettos, suede, or any footwear that will be ruined in mud and grass. If you are determined to wear a heel, make it a wedge shoe or a low block heel, and ensure it’s made of a material you can clean. This is one of the few times Wellies or Hunter boots will absolutely work with a Lilly dress! 

Radnor Hunt
Photo: Arnold Steiner

If you’re not wearing a dress, wear ankle pants, either wide leg or straight, and any color except white. (See mud, above.) Pair the pants with a brightly colored print top, cardigan, or wrap. If you chose not to wear a hat, opt for fun, bright earrings for real pops of color. 

If Derby is not your vibe, go for Stables. Dressing for Stables is just what you think it is, consisting of leggings, riding pants, vests, and the like.  Imagine the iconic Ralph Lauren advertisement from the 90’s. Yes, now you get it, right?! 

A great outfit would start with a pair of black leggings or riding pants. We may not all have riding pants, but I know we all have black leggings. You could also wear slim fitting camel or navy pants. Top them off with cashmere crew neck T, crisp white-collar shirt poking out under a brightly colored crew V-neck sweater, or a half zip sweater. Wear riding boots, hunter boots or any type of flat menswear-looking bootie. Tuck an equestrian or fun scarf under your collar, or lots of pearls, and viola – elevated stable. 

Whether Kentucky Derby or Stable, have fun with your look. See you at the Races!

Love this story? Read about local hatmakers Tiffany Arey and Zoya Egan. And don’t miss Diane Oliva’s list of amazing consignment stores on the Main Line.

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