Your Ultimate Racing Style Guide

As we gear up for one of the most coveted fashion events in the country, Kilkenny, the new sponsor this year’s Best Dressed Lady Competition, have put together the ultimate racing Style Guide! With prizes for Best Dressed, Best Irish Design and Best Hat including a shopping voucher at Kilkenny, a luxury 5* break from Bluebook Ireland, a new wardrobe by Aideen Bodkin, Maureen Lynch jewellery, haircare by Peter Mark, bespoke Waterford Crystal and luxury Lancôme cosmetics, the style stakes are seriously high for this year’s Ladies Day at the Galway Races!

Kilkenny, promoters of Irish design for over 52 years, are very excited to see ladies from Galway and indeed all over the country turn out in style for this year’s Ladies’ Day festivities at the Galway Races. Kilkenny has 13 stores located nationwide, as well as a local outlet on High St Galway, where you can shop the latest fashion and accessory arrivals for your race-day look from leading Irish labels like Fee G, Aideen Bodkin, Niamh O’Neill, Lennon Courtney, Luke Lovely, Orla Kiely and NEW exclusive label Dresses by Aideen!

RTE presenter Maura Derrane will be Kilkenny’s Guest Judge for the Best Dressed Lady Competition on July 30th and will be joined by some of the crème de la crème of the Irish fashion industry to seek out the Best Dressed Lady, including Irish Independent Fashion & Weekend Magazine Editor Bairbre Power, Image Magazine Editor-in-Chief Melanie Morris and Catwalk Model Agency owner Mandy Maher.

Kilkenny’s Best Dressed judging panel have offered a few of their expert tips and tricks to help you achieve a winning look for Ladies’ Day 2015:

The all-important outfit!

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.”

Maura loves “classic, elegant style” and is something she will be looking out for on the day. Like Melanie, she encourages ladies to be “as comfortable as possible as it is a very long day and be confident in your style”!

Dresses by Aideen Martha Dress, €229


Dresses by Aideen Martha Dress, €229

And if you want to stand out from the crowd – colour, colour, colour! But, says Bairbre Power, “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.”

Dresses by Aideen Jasmine Dress, €199

Dresses by Aideen Jasmine Dress, €199

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 all our 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.

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!”

Hats off!

“Remember the simple rule – busy hat, simple dress; simple hat, fancy frock!” says Melanie. But with just over a month 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!”

Fossil Fuchia Sydney Satchel, was €149 now €74.50


Fossil Fuchia Sydney Satchel, was €149 now €74.50

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!”

Visit your local Kilkenny Shop in one of 13 store locations nationwide or shop accessories online at, with free delivery on all orders over €40!


Love this? Share it!

What do you think? Add a comment here
Follow us
Read next
Le Deuxieme Jour: Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week

Monday, July 6th 2015 Today saw Giambattista Valli, Christian Dior, Ralph & Russo, Serkan Cura,…