Summer racing season: How to get ahead of the field
The summer racing season provides the perfect opportunity to don your finery for a great day out.
Celebrities including Caroline Morahan, Sile Seoige and Maura Derrane will be searching winners' enclosures at the country's racetracks for budding fashionistas this summer.
Nobody said dressing for the races was easy, with heels that sink in the grass and hats they fly off in the wind.
Never mind the challenge of juggling a champagne glass, clutch bag and betting slip.
In the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, fascinators have been banned in favour of hats, and hemlines need to fall just above the knee or longer.
With summer's iconic races fast approaching, it's time to ensure you're a fashion front-runner. Some of Ireland's top presenters were announced this week as judges for the Littlewoods Ireland Best Dressed Ladies competition.
The TV stars revealed what they will be looking for in the quest to find the best dressed.
RTE’s Maura Derrane revealed “When searching for a Best Dressed Lady I always look for individuality. I love classically cut items but it’s nice to mix it with something dramatic as well”
Author and TV personality Amanda Brunker added her suggestions for a winning look “It’s so important to be well groomed from top to toe. Accessories are great and really add to an outfit but less is more ladies!”
Caroline Morahan, actress and the face of Littlewoods Ireland knows what she is looking for ‘”I love colour and a summer race day is the perfect occasion to try some daring, eye-catching shades”
STUDY THE FORM
Aim for best-dressed racegoer with an outfit that's both on-trend and in keeping with the tone of the occasion.
You should feel "chic, neat and a little bit sexy", according to designer Amanda Wakeley.
"Less is more. For me, the women who always get it right focus on just one great element - the hat, a statement collar or silhouette of a dress."
Before you shop, do some research and ensure you're adhering to the etiquette of both the race meeting you're attending and the ticket tier. Some racecourses are more relaxed than others.
Stand out from the Ladies' Day crowds with something a little offbeat. Step out in a sharp trouser suit for an unexpected look - ideal if you're not keen on flashing your legs.
For a fail-safe look, you're sure to be first past the fashion post if you stick to bright colours, killer heels that won't fall victims to the mud and a flattering headpiece.
Don't despair if racehorses aren't on your agenda this summer. The principles of race day dressing often transfer to occasionwear. Similarly, trackside outfits can be recycled for weddings, christenings and garden party gatherings simply by switching your accessories.
PICK A WINNER
Oversized hats are taking centre stage this season.
Nothing says race day fashion like a millinery masterpiece to top off your look.
"For a strong look, opt for bold colours such as tangerine or fuchsia," advises fashion buyer Amanda Scott.
"Look for extra detailing on headwear such as trims and riffs in directional styles to stand out from the fashion pack."
As hats are so hot this summer, let your headwear lead your look. First, find the show-stopping piece and then seek out an outfit that showcases your hat to the max.
Make sure your chosen hat flatters your face and silhouette. "Large, wide-brim hats suit heart-shaped faces and slim-line silhouettes, while on-trend smaller pillar box hats suit longer face shapes and more detailed outfits," Scott suggests.
"As a general rule, the brim of your hat should never be wider than the width of your shoulders."
Try on as many styles and colours as possible to find your perfect match.
Tips for the perfect racing outfit:
:: Pastels are huge this season and will work brilliantly for summer race meetings. Tribal and tropicana prints are also a key trend and will give your outfit a playful twist. Be careful not to go overboard - balance a printed dress with neutral accessories.
:: Coral is the colour of the season but can be quite intimidating. If you're feeling brave, opt for a colour block dress in full-on tangerine. Alternatively, give a nod to the trend by adding a shot of colour to a neutral outfit.
:: Avoid sinking into the grass by wearing chunky block heels or wedges, rather than spiked stilettos. Towering raffia weave wedges will look great in bright colours and will keep you perfectly upright and balanced the entire day.
:: The races are a great excuse to get really dressed up, so make the most of it. Mid-length midi skirts and dresses are in vogue and will also ensure you are well within the dress code guidelines.
:: Couples should complement one another, not match. Men can pick up on their partner's colour scheme with a hint of colour in their tie or cravat, or with a flash of a coloured sock.
:: If you choose a large or statement headpiece, make sure you let the hat take centre stage. A statement brim will look chic with a clean-cut, well-tailored shift in a plain block colour.
:: Bare shoulders are often not appropriate for the races. If you choose a strapless dress, cover up with a neat boucle jacket in a light sorbet shade. Embellishment is key this season, so a bejewelled collar or cuff will add instant glamour.
:: Your everyday tote bag isn't suitable for a day's racing. Instead, opt for this season's oversized clutch in a luxe leather or animal print. Glamorous oversized sunglasses are also a must to avoid squinting while trying to spot your runner.
Be part of the Littlewoods Ireland Best Dressed competition and meet the celebrity judges at the following race meets: Caroline Morahan, Roscommon, Monday 9th July; Maura Derrane, Wexford, Saturday 28th July; Sile Seoige, Sligo, Thursday 9th August; Amanda Brunker, Kilbeggan, Saturday 11th August; Mairead Farrell, Tramore, Saturday 18th August; Sinead Desmond, Killarney, Saturday 1st September.