Bairbre Power's Punchestown style tips

She's judging the Best Dressed Lady today, find out what Fashion Editor Bairbre recommends to look your best.

I'm really looking forward to judging at Punchestown today and thankfully, the weather is going to be better than last year...although that wouldn't be hard. I've never seen rain like we had on the second day of the Best Dressed Lady competition 2012!

I had to abandon my new designer heels and run around the racecourse wearing wellies. That was a first in my fashion book, but the polka dot wellies certainly did the job. Thankfully, this year, I'm back to my heels! I'm thrilled after finding the most amazing Kurt Geiger chunky shoes, and I did the sensible thing - which I recommend to all of you - by breaking them in.

Which brings me to my first top...

1. Practice makes polishes

Be sure and try on your outfit tonight. That way, you can identify potential styling issues well in advance.T hey're usually solved with a couple of safety pins and gel pads, but it's better to iron out these problems now rather than scouring your friend's handbags at the racecourse when you find your hem is dipping at the back. When I say try on everything together, I mean EVERYTHING, right down to your underwear because that's usually the source of the problem.

2. Avoiding VPL

Models Nadia Forde, Tara Talbot and Daniella Moyles
Models Nadia Forde, Tara Talbot and Daniella Moyles

The Americans are always going on about Visible Panty Line (VPL) but ugly seams, or in-your-face lacy thongs, can totally ruin the whole impact of a sophisticated dress.  Indeed, some summer fabrics are so sheer that you can literally see cellulite through the weave; in which case, you need to resort to more heavy duty underwear or, better again, a sheer slip.

3. Bra-vo!

Bras can be a total nightmare. You may think you have found the perfect balconette style to showcase your assets and the colour is a perfect match for your dress, but check that the shoulder straps are staying in place. Going out the door is not the best time to discover you can see a big chunk of your once-white, now grey bra strap slicing across the low cut V in the back of the dress? Not a good look. Spot these issues well in advance.

Scroll through our gallery of the Punchestown festival so far.
Scroll through our gallery of the Punchestown festival so far.

4. Tan tales

If you are wearing false tan, be sure and check how it looks with your clothes on because nine times out of ten, there will be gaps that need to be filled in.

5. Find your feet

It's worth giving those new shoes a few laps around the kitchen to figure out pressure points and where you might need those plasters and gel pads.

6. Hat attack

I think hats are your crowning glory but be warned, they can be a pain in the neck if you have to police them all day. Try them on and check that the elastic cord is still in working order and whether or not you need hair clips to secure.

7. If you are styling a retro look and plan to make a statement with your seamed tights, make sure you've bought the right ones. Seamed stockings are not the same as seamed hold ups and will require a suspender belt.But do you have one?

8. And finally...

Coast, the high street brand who specialise in glamorous occasion wear are sponsoring the prize for the Best Dressed competition at Punchestown this week and the winner will be announced on Friday. The chain are encouraging competitors to wear some Coast to the competition. The eagle eyed professionals who tour the Best Dressed racing circuit copped that on years ago. If a store sponsors a competition, then of course they are going to look favourably on women who have bought their clothes but I would recommend a subtle approach and recommend you 'mix it up.'

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