Darren Kennedy fashion file: How to wear... New Western
One of the noticeable factors across all the major spring/summer catwalks this year was a general leaning towards autumn rather than summer.
In theory, this is good news for those of us who inhabit cooler climes, as the collections are sure to have a longer life span and serve our wardrobes well into autumn and beyond if you're clever with layering. Nowhere was this more visible than in the trend for all things Western, inspired where a palette of browns and antique tans appeared on everything from stacked heel boots to saddle bags.
Statement denim was another big feature of this Texan takeover and while denim in summer is nothing new, pairing it with suede for summertime dressing was somewhat of a surprise.
Suede is having a real moment and appeared in some totally modern separates this season. Gucci embraced the Western cowboy with a contemporary twist with buckles, fringing, denim and patchwork suede all sitting comfortably together in rich summer looks.
Question: Hi, I'm attending the races this year with work so I'll be there with my boss and customers that we're entertaining on the day. We are not going to the Ladies' Day event so I'm just wondering what the style is like for the other days? I really haven't a clue what to wear so any suggestions would be appreciated.
Helen, 34, Westmeath
Darren replies: Top of any race-day shopping list is a chic dress. Whether you opt for one of this season's florals, pretty pastels or 1950s-style elegance, it's important to choose a design cut at an appropriate length. While it's not quite Ascot with an official dress code, there is an unspoken etiquette at most race meetings. Keeping this in mind, my advice is to avoid anything too short or revealing.
Gingham has once again proved to be the epitome of summertime dressing for 2015, having appeared all over the catwalks from Altuzarra to Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenburg. The checked pattern popped up in various incarnations, overlaid with floral print on everything from coordinated separates to thigh-high-slit maxi skirts. For the races, this (1) fitted charcoal and cream 'tri-panel ruffle hemmed dress' by Zoë Carol is spot on (€430, zoecarol.com). Made from organic cotton, this simple yet modern shape is both ladylike and incredibly flattering. Keep the look modern by styling with a chunky necklace and a pair of (2) pale blue ankle-strap heels (€24.99, New Look).
For a strong look with a distinct 50s' appeal, you need look no further than the (3) orchard sequin-embellished silk organza dress by Needle & Thread (€345, Brown Thomas). This intricate and decidedly feminine dress with semi-sheer silk organza design and a tulle underlay at the skirt speaks for itself, so keep your accessories simple to allow the colourful floral sequins take focus. This (4) black box clutch with metal detail (€39.95, Zara) will work nicely. Also, just a note, if you're planning on splashing out on a new pair of shoes, make sure to break them in beforehand. Otherwise, it'll be a very long day!
Lust list: Massimo Dutti
Wooden and calfskin leather clogs with side stud detail, metal buckle, rivets and hand top-stitching. €99.95,