Rules there to be broken for Ladies' Day - stylists

By Danielle Stephens

COMFORT is key for anyone planning their outfit for this year's Best Dressed contest at the Galway Races, leading, Irish fashion designers have said.

Brendan Courtney, Irish designer and former Off the Rails presenter, said that anyone taking part in the style competition should forget rules or regulations that they may have heard in the past.

"Rules are there to be broken, just have as much fun as you can," he said.


The stylist, who launched his own women's wear line with collaborator Sonya Lennon last year, says that women shouldn't be so worried about what other people think of their style choices.

"Taste is subjective, which is something we have gotten from living in a tolerant society," he said.

"Feel comfortable in what you're wearing and go for glory."

The Dubliner will MC the Blossom Hill Ladies' Day at the Dublin Horse Show in August, as well as taking on the same role for the Best Dressed Man competition during the same weekend.

Niamh O'Neill, who was voted the Irish Fashion Designer of the Year 2013, urged women to stay within their comfort zone.

"I'd stay away from things you're not comfortable wearing, if you feel odd wearing a huge hat then don't wear one," she said.

However, the Dubliner, whose signature design is adding a prominent bow to her dresses, was adamant that a hat is a key accessory for the races.

"Galway is all about the hat. You genuinely feel more self-conscious if you don't wear one," she told the Herald.

"If you're wearing every accessory under the sun, you can look uncomfortable, but an amazing dress, gorgeous hat and a lovely pair of shoes can always look effortless."


Top Irish hat designer, Martha Lynn, has taken part in the competition a few times and said the races are all about fashion.

"I suppose, the races in Galway are like the Irish equivalent to the Royal Ascot races in the UK for hats and I love it because Irish women always make such an effort," she said.