Irish Independent Fashion Editor Bairbre Power gives you the heads up on what she's looking for as judge in the Best Dressed Lady competition next Thursday
Published 23/07/2010 | 11:28
A word of caution before you head west to Ballybrit. You will feel naked without a hat on Ladies Day at the Galway races.
This is not a ruse to prop up the milliners of Ireland. It's a fact.
Hats are architecture for your head, sculptural pieces that add an intriguing, three dimensional addition to an outfit and when it comes to grooming for the races, a hat twinned with chic leather gloves are a natural pairing.
From the county that gave the world the genius milliner Philip Treacy, there is a huge amount of local talent, from milliner/jeweller Emily Jean O'Byrne in Augustine Street to Suzie Mahony in Loughrea and watch out in Galway shops for headpieces by Edel Ramberg who interned with Treacy in London and also with fashion designer Joanne Hynes, another local girl.
She will have a pop-up shop at Brown Thomas, Galway during race week.
I've been to race meetings all over the world and the races at Ballybrit are full of fashionable spectacle. I recommend a stroll around the course on Ladies Day just to witness the finery.
The vista provides compelling evidence that Irish women rank as some of the most stylish and thoughtful dressers around.
When it comes to the Anthony Ryan Best Dressed Lady/Best Hat competition on Ladies Day, I love colour but fight the temptation to go 'matchy-matchy' girls. It can look cliched and contrived. Clinging nervously to two colours head-to-toe, right down to the shade of nail varnish, is tragic.
Be adventurous, the judges will notice and appreciate it.
Chose an outfit that will be comfortable on the day.
Don't convince yourself that designer labels will propel you straight to the winner's podum where first prize is worth €12,500 prize including a very delectable one carat pendant worth €8,500.
A healthy balance of high street, wardrobe favourites, dash of vintage plus new additions sparkle when combined with attitude. Let us see your personality rather than the shop assistant's.
The weather plays a huge part on the day and the clever ones won't ruin a carefully put together outfit by grabbing a golfing umbrella from the car at the last minute. The competitive ones will have already factored in a colour co-ordinating brolly.
False tan doesn't behave well in the rain so go easy on the tango. Remember, pale is more interesting.
Tamso Doyle who attends the vast majority of race meetings in the country as PR for Horse Racing Ireland is a great believer in wearing patent shoes to the races because they wipe clean with a babywipe.
"Hopefully the sun will be shining next week but I always recommend to bring a jacket, umbrella or pashmina just in case," said Tamso.
"Slim wedges can give good height and added comfort for a long day on your feet and remember, Galway is seven days long so pace yourself," she recommends.
The maxi is the epitome of relaxed summer chic. I expect to see lots of long gunas next Thursday.
However, word to the wise: leave the ballgowns and beaded cocktail dresses at home. Better again, reserve them for the race ball the following night.
A few misguided souls turn up in them at the races every year and judges don't rate them. In fact, they give us a giggle
When it comes to hats, think opposites. The hat should be the opposite shape to your face so if your face is round, think vertical.
The fascinator is much maligned, condemned by some as a cacophony of feathers, stuck on the side of the head. But they are portable and have lots of advantages over the larger, bulky hat. They also make kissing virtually impossible!