LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby is about so much more than just the race.  It’s an overall cultural experience. A huge part of that is the fashion you find at the track. 

What You Need To Know

  • Margaret’s Fine Consignment has been helping women and men find Derby pieces for more than 30 years

  • It’s estimated customers who buy their outfits there save around 60%

  • Customers say they can find many like-new items since most people only wear Derby staple pieces one time

  • Shopping second-hand is more sustainable

Customers say they can find many like-new items since most people only wear Derby staple pieces one time (Spectrum News 1/Amber Smith)

Folks love to go all-out. However, finding the perfect outfit can cost a lot of money for something most people will only wear one time.

Louisville resident Caroline Belden decided to go a different route to find a fascinator when she got last-minute tickets for Thurby.

 “I went to a fancy department store and the prices were like $250 and I thought no. I’m making the rounds of consignment stores and landed at Margaret’s and found the one because of my friend here,” said Belden.

The friend she is referring to is Cara Aldridge, who runs Margaret’s Fine Consignment on Frankfort Ave. It’s a store her step mother, Margaret Thornberry, opened over 30 years ago.

It’s estimated customers who buy their outfits at consignment shops save around 60% (Spectrum News 1/Amber Smith)


Margaret’s Fine Consignment has dresses, hats and fascinators for every Derby week occasion. (Spectrum News 1/Amber Smith)

Out on display, you can find Derby hats, fascinators and dresses to pair those with. Every year, she sees people coming into the store looking for Derby, Oaks and Thurby outfits. This year seems to have an added intensity since the Derby ran without fans in 2020, and at a limited capacity last year.

“I think we are going to have to order more hats because we’re running out of them. They’re buying them this year and they’re buying dresses too,” said Aldridge.

Debbie Shaw is one of the shoppers excited to get back to the track. She came in looking for an outfit for Thurby.

“I was looking for a Thurby outfit and they’re usually things you only wear one time so I wanted to save a little bit of money,” Shaw said.

A display of some of the hats offered at Margaret's Fine Consignment (Spectrum News 1/Amber Smith)

She definitely saved some money going the consignment route. Aldridge says her shoppers save around 60% on their Derby outfits.

For those really looking to save, they can also sell hats, fascinators and dresses they wore previously.

“I’m a clothes horse. I love clothes. It makes me feel so much better to get them at a better price and then pass them on to somebody else,” said Belden.

Shopping second-hand is also more sustainable. The annual resale report from online consignment retailer, ThredUp, estimates buying a used item versus a new item reduces its Carbon footprint by 82%.