Racy ladies

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - CONTENTS -

It seems as if, since the re­ces­sion and its un­said ban on glam­our, that rac­ing days out have be­come the only place that women can get dressed up and en­joy their style. Dress­ing for ‘best dressed’ events has un­der­gone near-mirac­u­lous change in re­cent years. Gone, thank god, are the Celtic Tiger/Noughties-favoured, deb­s­like, full-length gowns worn with crys­ta­l­en­crusted, spindly heeled san­dals and feath­ery fas­ci­na­tors. I mean, at the time we thought it was cool, but where was the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness for race days out, re­ally?

Race-day dress­ing re­quires thought. It is a so­phis­ti­cated day out in which you are mix­ing with the mon­eyed classes, as well as the hoi pol­loi. The weather can change on a whim, so you need to dress prac­ti­cally, too.

Much as I love vin­tage en­sem­bles, they rarely win; at best, they get sec­ond.

What wins is a smart look; some­thing fem­i­nine, that is thought-out, well cut; some­thing that shows the woman. There is gen­er­ally a hat in­volved, any­thing from pe­tite and jaunty to big and flam­boy­ant. Add nice shoes, an el­e­gant bag, good make-up and hair, and you could be on your way to win­ning some se­ri­ous dosh.

The Best Dressed Lady event, at Ladies’ Day at the Dublin Horse Show, is spon­sored by Dun­drum Town Cen­tre, who award a phe­nom­e­nal €10,000 Dun­drum Town Cen­tre gift voucher. This year, Ladies’ Day is on July 21 — for 2016, the Horse Show has moved from its usual Au­gust date, due to the fact that a lot of com­pet­ing horses are be­ing sent to the Rio Olympics.

Gen­er­ally, at best-dressed lady events, judges love to see good ef­forts made and a gen­uine flair, a love of fash­ion. Last year’s event was fan­tas­tic, with ladies of all ages mak­ing the ef­fort and look­ing stun­ning. Best thing yet, best-dressed ladies’ prizes tend to not be ageist.

If you’d like to en­ter, but feel your wardrobe lacks that cer­tain some­thing, worry not. I re­cently dis­cov­ered that Dun­drum Town Cen­tre has a styling con­sul­tancy team, which in­cludes the gor­geous Lorna Weight­man, avail­able to book any time. For just €60, you get two hours of ex­pert coun­sel as to what to wear.

The stylists are not tied to any one store, so the ad­vice is un­bi­ased, and the per­fect clothes for you can be sourced im­me­di­ately from all that Dun­drum Town Cen­tre has to of­fer.

For in­stance, there’s House of Fraser, which has many smart-dress­ing and ex­clu­sive own-la­bels. Dun­drum Town Cen­tre has the largest Zara in Ire­land and it has the only Mint Vel­vet store, too.

BT2 in Dun­drum Town Cen­tre is like a mi­cro­cosm of Brown Thomas proper; it now car­ries the ex­cel­lent Char­lotte Til­bury make-up range.

Hobbs is al­ways worth pop­ping into for smart dress­ing, as are Mas­simo Dutti and Karen Millen. Marks & Spencer has great new fash­ion ranges. There’s H&M, Lipsy and . . . and . . .

Could dress­ing for race-day suc­cess get any eas­ier? Best of luck, ladies.

Pho­tog­ra­phySEAN JACKSONby Styling by COLM COR­RI­GAN Fash­ion edited by CON­STANCE HAR­RIS

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