Races’ Best Dressed contenders urged to dress for the weather

Dress for the weather, wear flawless make-up, choose a current or classic outfit, (perhaps in white ) and skilfully use accessories to add the finishing touch to your ensemble.

These are some of the top tips from fashion and beauty experts as the countdown to Ladies Day at the Galway Races begins.

Fashionistas keen to catch the eye of the judging panel on Thursday July 31 are being urged to consider both the time of year and the weather conditions when selecting their outfit for the prestigious Best Dressed competitions sponsored by Anthony Ryans of Shop Street.

This year’s Best Dressed winner will walk away with €12,000 in prizes while the Best Hat winner gets €1,500. The woman who clinches the coveted “Wear Irish” award receives €500 and each finalist will receive a beauty gift bag from Lancôme.

This year’s judges include celebrity stylist Lisa Fitzpatrick, fashion editor of the Irish Independent, Bairbre Power, PJ Gibbons, the editor of Social & Personal magazine, Mandy Maher of the Catwalk Model Agency and Patricia McCrossan, the managing director of Galway Now magazine.

Cora Casserley, the marketing manager of Anthony Ryan’s, which has sponsored the competition since 2003, advises women to consider the time of year and the weather conditions when selecting their outfits.

“While we are keeping our fingers crossed that the wonderful weather we have had so far this summer will continue till Ladies Day we remember only too well the non stop torrential downpour that was Ladies Day last year,” she says. “I would advise ladies to consider the fact that they may well need a light summer coat or mac, and/or umbrella (as opposed to a dainty parasol ) - and appropriate shoes.”

PJ Gibbons, the editor of Social and Personal, recommends that women dress appropriately for the day race meeting and “not dress for a night club or best friend’s birthday party”.

“Short may be sweet but it’s not necessarily so at the races. Showing a bit of leg is fine, but remember; you are not in competition with the horses.”

Celebrity stylist and author Lisa Fitzpatrick favours a white look for racing fashion.

“To catch the eyes of the judges your outfit must be current or classic. You can achieve this look with this season’s crisp white look which is both elegant and trendy at the same time.”

To ensure you are noticed by the judges she suggests adding eye-catching statement accessories with bold jewels and/or a distinctive pair of sunglasses á la Audrey Hepburn. A hat should be the piece de resistance.

“The hat can make or break an outfit. This summer a vintage inspired fascinator could be the winner to complete the perfect elegant look.”

Fashion editor of the Irish Independent Bairbre Power outlines that the judges will be combing the stands, terraces and champagne tent trying to spot potential winners.

“So be sure and be there by 12.30pm because we’ll have chosen our finalists by 2.30pm and the winner will be announced at 3.30pm at the Anthony Ryan’s marquee.”

She urges women to try on their outfit the evening before. “Save yourself the grief of a last minute wardrobe malfunction by trying on your entire outfit the night before - and that includes underwear to make sure everything is singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak.”

She also recommends breaking in a new pair of shoes in advance.“You will have a much better time, and it will show on your face, if you are comfortable - especially your feet! But you might consider putting a few plasters and gel pads into your handbag because it’s going to be a long day, and an even longer night.”

Looking your best on Ladies Day also means ensuring your make-up is flawless and stays in place all day. Lancôme elite make-up artist Shehla Shaikh offers the following advice:

“Use a silicone based primer before foundation. This will fill in the lines and set a protective barrier over the skin to stop make-up creasing and accentuating the wrinkles. Your skin will look flawless and will stay in place all day.”

She also has some helpful tips for looking your best in photographs. “You are going to be photographed a lot and want your skin to look youthful and luminous but not shiny. Use a small sweep of translucent powder on either side of the nose and on the centre of the forehead only. This way your skin will glow in the correct areas and the flash won’t reflect in an unflattering way.”

Cora Casserley of Anthony Ryan’s says women should put time, not money into their chosen outfit for Ladies’ Day.

“The fact that you broke the bank to dress yourself for Ladies Day is not going to impress the judges - the fact that you put time, thought and some wise shopping/ accessorising into your ensemble will.”

Women interested in taking part in this year’s Anthony Ryans Best Dressed Competitions are asked to arrive at the racecourse from midday because the finalists will be chosen by 2.30pm. There is no entry fee required for the competition. Finalists will have access to the Lancôme mobile make-up studio provided by University Pharmacy at the Anthony Ryan’s marquee for make-up touch ups.

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