Friday 9 December 2016

Style your pleasure... for those glamorous racing days

Constance Harris

Published 23/05/2016 | 02:30

Cashmere jacket, €570; top, €360, both Nicole Farhi; wide-leg trouser, €309, Eileen Fisher, all Harvey Nichols. Hat, €5, Penneys. Scarf, €15.90, Monsoon Accessorize. Photo: Sean Jackson.
Cashmere jacket, €570; top, €360, both Nicole Farhi; wide-leg trouser, €309, Eileen Fisher, all Harvey Nichols. Hat, €5, Penneys. Scarf, €15.90, Monsoon Accessorize. Photo: Sean Jackson.

It seems as if, since the recession and its unsaid ban on glamour, that racing days out have become the only place that women can get dressed up and enjoy their style.

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Dressing for 'best dressed' events has undergone near-miraculous change in recent years. Gone, thank god, are the Celtic Tiger/Noughties-favoured, debs-like, full-length gowns worn with crystal-encrusted, spindly heeled sandals and feathery fascinators. I mean, at the time we thought it was cool, but where was the appropriateness for race days out, really?

Race-day dressing requires thought. It is a sophisticated day out in which you are mixing with the moneyed classes, as well as the hoi polloi. The weather can change on a whim, so you need to dress practically, too.

Much as I love vintage ensembles, they rarely win; at best, they get second.

What wins is a smart look; something feminine, that is thought-out, well cut; something that shows the woman. There is generally a hat involved, anything from petite and jaunty to big and flamboyant. Add nice shoes, an elegant bag, good make-up and hair, and you could be on your way to winning some serious dosh.

The Best Dressed Lady event, at Ladies' Day at the Dublin Horse Show, is sponsored by Dundrum Town Centre, who award a phenomenal €10,000 Dundrum Town Centre gift voucher. This year, Ladies' Day is on July 21 - for 2016, the Horse Show has moved from its usual August date, due to the fact that a lot of competing horses are being sent to the Rio Olympics.

Generally, at best-dressed lady events, judges love to see good efforts made and a genuine flair, a love of fashion. Last year's event was fantastic, with ladies of all ages making the effort and looking stunning. Best thing yet, best-dressed ladies' prizes tend to not be ageist.

If you'd like to enter, but feel your wardrobe lacks that certain something, worry not. I recently discovered that Dundrum Town Centre has a styling consultancy team, which includes the gorgeous Lorna Weightman, available to book any time. For just €60, you get two hours of expert counsel as to what to wear.

The stylists are not tied to any one store, so the advice is unbiased, and the perfect clothes for you can be sourced immediately from all that Dundrum Town Centre has to offer.

For instance, there's House of Fraser, which has many smart-dressing and exclusive own-labels. Dundrum Town Centre has the largest Zara in Ireland and it has the only Mint Velvet store, too.

BT2 in Dundrum Town Centre is like a microcosm of Brown Thomas proper; it now carries the excellent Charlotte Tilbury make-up range.

Hobbs is always worth popping into for smart dressing, as are Massimo Dutti and Karen Millen. Marks & Spencer has great new fashion ranges. There's H&M, Lipsy and . . . and . . .

Could dressing for race-day success get any easier? Best of luck, ladies.

Photography by  Sean Jackson

Styling by Colm Corrigan

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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