As Ladies’ Day at Galway Races draws closer, we asked guest judge RTE presenter, Maura Derrane and her fellow judges what they will be looking for when they go to judge the competition later this month. So if you want to win it, you should keep in mind what judges are looking for this year!
RTE presenter Maura Derrane, this year’s guest judge, will judge the style at Galway Racecourse on Thursday 30 July alongside Irish Independent Fashion & Weekend Magazine Editor Bairbre Power, Image Magazine Editor-in-Chief Melanie Morris and Catwalk Model Agency owner Mandy Maher.
The judges love classic, elegant style, and that is what they will be looking for when judging best dressed this year at the Galway Races. “Hats and headpieces can make an outfit and there are always wonderful pieces worn by ladies in Galway. But outfits should be kept simple when wearing a dramatic headpiece. A racing ensemble should be as comfortable as possible as it is a very long day,” say the judges.
Maura loves “classic, elegant style” and this is something she will be looking out for on the day. She encourages ladies to be “as comfortable as possible as it is a very long day and be confident in your style”.
Image Editor-in-Chief Melanie Morris says, “If you want to catch the judges’ eyes for the Best Dressed, wear something that’s absolutely you and wear it with comfort and pride.”
And if you want to stand out from the crowd – colour, colour, colour! But Bairbre says, “it doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy; don’t be a slave to just one hue or pattern. I recommend picking colours that you feel good wearing and you know suit you, they don’t necessarily have to be the ‘on-trend’ colours.”
“Remember to wear something appropriate,” says model agency owner Mandy Maher. “You are going to the races, not a night out, so keep it elegant, smart and classic with not too much flesh on show.”
Bairbre also recommends adding quirky finishing touches like “a nostalgic piece of jewellery or gloves from your Granny’s attic”.
“As a judge I love to hear the stories behind the outfits! Remember there is also a prize for the Best Irish Design on the day so it really does pay to support our talented home grown designers and integrate a touch of Irish into your look.”
It’s a long day from when you leave for Ballybrit to when you get home so the judges are in agreement that comfortable shoes are an absolute must!
“While spindly stilettos look great in the hand, remember racecourses are either grass (they sink) or tarmac (hard on your feet) – don’t let sore feet become an unwanted focus for the day! Whatever you decide to wear, make sure you have broken your shoes in well in advance of the day,” says Melanie.
And Bairbre is a firm believer in “carrying a pair of flat shoes in your bag – it will be a long day and you don’t need to suffer for your fashion!”
“Remember the simple rule – busy hat, simple dress; simple hat, fancy frock!” says Melanie.
But with just a few weeks to go until Ladies’ Day and Kilkenny’s Best Dressed Lady Competition, Bairbre cautions that “milliners will be ultra-busy the closer it gets to race day so if you’re planning to commission a bespoke hat, get going now!”
Mandy wisely recommends choosing a hat that “suits your face shape and that will act as a compliment to your outfit, not taking away from it”.
Last minute tips:
“The day before the event, try everything on (including your underwear!) to make sure your outfit is perfect from top to toe,” recommends Bairbre.
Melanie advises race-goers to “make sure your bag is big enough to hold all the essentials for the day and forgo the extras – carrying too much baggage does not make for an elegant look!”
Best Dressed hopefuls need to be polished from top to toe so remember that “nails need to be immaculate,” says Mandy. “French polish is always a classic look but why not try some of the new season pastel shades that are very soft and feminine; oh, and don’t forget the toe nails!”
The competition takes place on Thursday 30 July.
Prizes include the coveted Best Dressed Award, and Best Irish Design and Best Hat. Prizes include a shopping voucher at Kilkenny, a luxury five break from Bluebook Ireland, a new wardrobe by Aideen Bodkin, Maureen Lynch jewellery, haircare by Peter Mark, bespoke Waterford Crystal and luxury Lancôme cosmetics.
Kilkenny, the new sponsors of the competition have fashion from Irish labels like Fee G, Aideen Bodkin, Niamh O’Neill, Lennon Courtney, Luke Lovely, Orla Kiely and new exclusive label Dresses by Aideen.
Most of all, enjoy the day! Galway Races Ladies Day is a one-off experience. Even if you are not dressing up for it, it’s always a treat to see the style on show especially that of the winners. www.galwayraces.com