Special event season starts early for Kentucky girls. Well before the wedding blitz begins we are busy building the perfect ensembles to grace the Paddock at Churchill Downs for Thurby, Oaks, Derby & more!

This year I decided to create my outfits with pieces made right here in Louisville, by the incredible women infusing our local fashion scene with sustainable styles.

One of my current go-to spots for this kind of locally designed, locally made fashion is The New Blak. Their studio & shop are located in Oxmoor Center, just inside the Dick’s Sporting Goods entrance. Owner & Designer Amanda Dare & her team are passionate about empowering women through sustainable fashion.

Their pieces are constructed with high quality fabrics, including organic bamboo cotton, & they produce each item strategically to minimize fabric waste, even working to repurpose scraps into accessories! They feature other local makers whose values align with their own & extend their sustainable practices into the finest details of their business, like earth-friendly shipping supplies.

I partnered with Brand & Operations Manager, Jordan, to pick out the perfect outfit for the Kentucky Oaks. We tried on several looks, with accompanying headpieces by Darling Handmades, another female owned, handcrafted, Louisville business. It was their newest style, the Lily Dress, that caught & kept my attention.

The Lily Dress is a limited time style utilizing the flexibility of the Infinity Dress in a shorter colorful option. The bright pink is a classic Kentucky Oaks color, paying homage to the Stargazer Lily, the official flower of the race.

Its knee-length hemline is classic & conservative, but still flirty & fun. The 95% bamboo/5% spandex fabric is light, comfortable, breathable & thick enough to be see-through proof even in the most direct sun.

My favorite feature of the dress is its endless options for styling. I’ve seen it styled at least twelve different ways on three different body types & it is flattering on everyone.

Image Courtesy of Nerissa Sparkman Photography

I am a plus size woman who needs some more substantial undergarments to feel secure & supported. So, I opted for a wide v-neck look with shoulder coverage, twisted around the waist to accent my curves.

I’ve never felt better in a dress, & these photos by Nerissa Sparkman Photography definitely show it! This my first professional photoshoot & the first time I’ve ever enjoyed having my photo taken. It was also the first time I have truly LOVED full body photos of myself. Thank you, Nerissa!

Image Courtesy of Nerissa Sparkman Photography

During the shoot I kept thinking how much I wish this style had been around for the weddings I’ve been in over the years. I have a closet full of dresses that I’ll never use again, can’t seem to sell, & don’t want to store. So, if you’re a bride thinking about finding a dress for your bridesmaids that will work for any size, allow them to wear whatever underthings they are most comfortable in, & be something they can truly enjoy wearing again…GET THIS DRESS, or the longer version in black, or any infinity style you can find…preferably made with earth-friendly fabrics by a small design house that supports local makers!

Thank you to the team at The New Blak for helping me put together this look! I can’t wait to sip a Woodford Reserve on the rocks, & maybe one Lily Cocktail for the sake of tradition, on Oaks Day under the Twin Spires where I will definitely be feeling lucky in this dress!

Image Courtesy of Nerissa Sparkman Photography
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