Dress to impress at the races with your ABC of togging out on the turf
The post-Christmas tradition of going racing allows us let off steam, get away from the turkey carcass and, for the competitive style cats, it's a very lucrative way of pulling in additional funds for the new year. Who doesn't like to get dressed up and this year the Cliff Style event at the Leopardstown Christmas racing festival on Thursday has been extended to include both male and female winners.
This week the prize fund is in excess of €10,000 so it pays to be strategic and dress to impress. These aren't so much rules to competing as helpful suggestions on how to put your best foot forward and be a contender - starting with a hat.
Winners without a headpiece are as rare as hen's teeth so start planning now.
Turn up early and don't just stroll in expecting to be noticed. Zealous contenders will start registering from 10.45am in the Christmas Festival Marquee beside the parade ring and that runs until 1pm, after which finalists will be chosen and the winners will be announced at 2.10pm.
As one of the three judges along with designing duo, Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney, my ABC of advice is: Be 'Appropriately' dressed. This is a winter race meeting, not a ball or a cocktail party, so be sensible and dress for the turf and not a nightclub.
Be 'Bold' with colour to stand out in the crowd and if you don't feel like rocking rich jewel tones, a traditional tweed with judicious accessorising and lots of textures is always a winner. It was for last year's winner, Gillian Gilbourne.
'Comfort' is key so no torturous footwear, and the clever ones will have gel pads or warm boot liners.
Vintage clothing is always a good head turner but be careful not to go too costumey. Dressing head to toe from another era can sometimes fall down because it looks like a stage or film costume.
The secret is to infuse your look with contemporary pieces and styling.
Be yourself and don't forget to bring a smile - it's a winning accessory and costs nothing.