Five winning tips for Ladies Day at the Galway Races, by judge Bairbre Power
Five tips from judge, Irish Independent Fashion Editor Bairbre Power on how to be a winner at the Kilkenny Best Dressed Lady competition at Ballybrit on Thursday
1. COLOUR is your ultimate weapon if you really want to stand out in the crowd and catch the eye of a judge. You can do it using various hues or work it around one shade like the 2013 winner, make up artist Rachelle Guiry from Limerick did working powder blue to great effect with a Ted Baker dress and Carol Kennelly hat.
2. HATS - for height, width and textural intrigue, they never fail to attract our attention. Architectural masterpieces, floral fantasies and frivolous frills, the options are endless but if it's a big, wow chapeau, go easy on the rest of the outfit. Too fussy is not good and it's the secret of getting the balance ratio right that really marks out as a potential winner. One lady who excels at getting the balance right is Suzanne McGarry who won Best Dressed at Galway in 2011 wearing a simple red vintage dress accessorised with a 'big talking' Lina Stein hat featuring pearls and handmade silk roses.
3. ORIGINALITY is key for me so it's that P O D - point of difference - that always triggers my attention in Best Dressed Competitions and I will be over like a shot to take a closer look, to Instagram /tweet you...and possibly select you for a place in the finals!
4. LET US SEE YOUR PERSONALITY. Cut lose those high street shackles, lose the head-to-toe one shop look, mix it up and let your personal eye and style aesthetic shine through. That said, go easy on the accessories. I'm not a huge fan of incorporating frilly umbrellas because I think they look a little theatrical and prop-ish but that said, Annmarie O'Leary factored one into her outfit when she won at Galway in 2010. Annmarie really was exceptional and the sheer sophistication of her cream, bodycon silhouette and her tilted, pale gold Carol Kennelly hat is seared on our memory forever.
5. WATCH THE CLOCK and be on time if you seriously hoping to win the Kilkenny Best Dressed Lady and the €10,000 prize. Word to the wise, on Ladies Day on Thursday, I will be walking around the race course from 12 noon with my fellow judges - Maura Derrane, Melanie Morris and Mandy Maher. Last year's winner, Helen Murphy, was clearly a woman with intent and she was one of the first outfits I tweeted from Ballybrit at noon. Believe me, there is nothing worse than getting caught in Ladies Day traffic tailbacks when you have an outfit to show off so get going early and be sure and come over and say Hi and share the backstory of your outfit with me.
I hope those five tips help and have a great day ladies. Hopefully the weather will behave. I've already moved onto outfit number three as the forecast keeps changing. Sadly, I've had to park plans to wear my favourite blue, bejewelled satin Manolos because I will be walking on grass and I think Carrie Bradshaw would kill me for taking risks with her favourite (wedding) shoes so I'm now assembling an alternative look.
And sure if it rains, I'll have my giant Irish Independent green golf umbrella to shelter under, and if it turns to biblical rain like it did two years ago, I'll probably resort again to buying Converse like myself and fellow judge, Kathryn Thomas, did and we happily pranced off for a G&T and dinner. It was an extra bonus that they matched perfectly with my black and red Prada coat!!
Follow Bairbre on Twitter here.