Fairyhouse of fashion
There's friendly competition in the style stakes, writes Claire O'Mahony
This year, Carton House's Most Stylish Lady competition takes place on Easter Monday and the theme is 'Modern Vintage', inspired by the earls and ladies who both inhabited and visited Carton House over the centuries. Sky Sports News presenter Olivia Wayne will judge the competition this year.
The winner will enjoy a prize of return flights to Boston with Aer Lingus for two, staying in a 4-star hotel in Boston, as well as a stay in the Presidential Suite at Carton House before they fly out, so there's plenty of incentive for attendees to pull out all the stops, style wise, on the day.
Maria Macklin, House of Colour image consultant for Monaghan and Louth, has some top tips for looking effortlessly stylish.
"Many women will wear dresses with matching fascinators but if it suits your personality style, why not try wearing a gorgeous jumpsuit with heels instead," Maria says.
"There is an array of colourful trouser suits this season which can be an interesting alternative."
Her other top tip is to keep a pair of flat heels in your bag but to make sure they work with your outfit. "There is nothing worse than watching someone struggle through a day at the races in a pair of killer high heels," she says.
Arguably even more important than the outfit, is the choice of head piece. Milliner Alison Roe, whose creations have been worn by celebrities including Jenny Buckley, Rachel Wyse and Sally Anne Grassick of RTE Racing, attends race meetings herself and has several pointers on how to select a show-stopping number.
She suggests trying lots of different hat styles to see what suits and what feels comfortable before deciding on the final choice, and to bring the outfit with you when you try on head pieces.
"If there are bold patterns in your outfit, then you might like to keep your hat simpler with one or two colours," says Alison, who loves to combine local fabrics like tweed and Irish pheasant feathers in her work.
Ladies wishing to enter the competition can register at the Carton House Most Stylish Lady marquee beside the parade ring in Fairyhouse, from 12 noon on Easter Monday. And it may be helpful to know exactly what judge Olivia Wayne is looking for.
"With Irish women having such great style I know it's going to be a tough decision choosing just one winner," she says. "But I will be looking for those ladies who not only embrace this year's 'Modern Vintage' theme but who are relaxed and confident in their own style. Whilst there is a theme, we don't want ladies to feel they have to conform to the traditional Ladies Day attire - it's all about showcasing your personality and having fun with your look, be it classic, elegant, cool or edgy."