|Allsun in Karen Millen|
1. It’s all about the HAT
Hands down, to get noticed at the races you need that knock-out hat. There were all shapes, sizes and colours. Pink seemed to be the dominant colour from what we could see. From what I noticed there was a range of designer labels and high-street labels. Some of the best dressed finalists had headpieces from Coast and Debenhams, while others had gone all out with bespoke pieces designed and made by Carol Kennedy Millinery. Everything worked and made an impact. Our fascinators (which we'd borrowed from our mothers!) just didn't measure up.
2. Shoes, glorious shoes
I went all out with a pair of high stilettos, but after an hour on my feet I was cursing them – and myself. My feet were numb by the end of the day but I had a pair of flats in my bag which I threw on as we were leaving, so I could walk to the car. Of course this meant I needed a giant bag and not a dainty clutch bag - also a feature of all of the finalists. Emma, meanwhile, had worn the most comfortable Rockport shoes, which were high and pretty but easy to walk in too. I will be checking them out for my next big event.
3. Get There Early
Our judges were scouting the area from early morning and struggling to find contenders - but just before the competition was to start, the most glamorous women suddenly all appeared. If you want to be noticed, give them time to notice you - get there early and wander about so you have more chance of being spotted. And remember the judges are on the lookout for best dressed ladies throughout the race meeting - not just the day of the final.
4. Black is a No No
We were given a big on trend tip by the Queen of fashion styling, Ms Cathy O’Connor herself, who has often judged the race day fashion. If you are looking to win that coveted Best Dressed Lady crown, an all-black outfit isn’t usually the way to go. Pretty pastels, prints, flowers and bold colours all stood out this year – remember this is a spring/summer day-time affair.
5. Mix and Match
What really blew me away was hearing the presenter, Marietta Doran, talk us through the outfit details of the finalists. There were Penneys shoes matched with Ted Baker dresses, and hats from the high street to high-end. One lady had a stunning outfit comprised of an €8 Tesco dress with an added tulle underskirt, which transformed it entirely. Other finalists had snapped up vintage dresses on eBay and made them look current through accessories. This type of styling and creativity is what makes ladies day so very special.
We had an absolute blast at the races and now we’ve had a taste of it, I reckon we will be popping up at lot more race meetings. Ladbrokes better watch out!