FASHION Simple, classic elegance for Ladies’ Day



CHERRY ON TOP Suzanne McGarry, Best Dressed Lady at the Galway Races 2011, wearing a hat by Westport-based milliner Lina Stein.

Simple, classic elegance for Ladies’ Day

Ciara Galvin

It’s that time of year again, when the road leads to one place and one place only, Ballybrit. Owners, trainers and punters make their annual pilgrimage to the Galway racecourse in the hope of seeing their horse romp home.

For another significant contingent of racegoers, Galway Race Week means style, being groomed to within an inch of one’s life, and negotiating the grounds of the racecourse in stilettos. Will the ground be firm for this year’s fillies?

Speaking about this year’s Ladies’ Day, which takes place this Thursday, August 2, Westport-based milliner Lina Stein talks recession, saucer hats and Kate Middleton.

When asked if the recession has affected people’s choices, Lina – who designed the hat that sat atop last year’s Best Dressed Lady, Suzanne McGarry – believes that people who want special pieces will still spend the money.

“There are a lot of people making pieces, there’s huge choice for people. I think a lot of people are wearing an outfit they have worn before but changing accessories.”

Lina explains how she had created the hat Suzanne McGarry wore from a piece of living room furniture for a project in Edinburgh.

“I put it up on a website and it sold within hours. Suzanne’s husband bought the hat as a present for her for Christmas.”

Describing her reaction to Suzanne winning the coveted title, the proud milliner admits, ‘as a hat maker you have your moments, and that was mine’.

Lina highlights saucer hats as being this year’s hot trend, with clean lines and a soft shape.

“People are staying away from too many frills. Button hats have also been quite popular this year, maybe as a result of Kate Middleton being a fan.”

And style tips for this year’s hopefuls? Lina suggests that ladies should ‘keep it simple, bring an umbrella and have a man carry the lipstick’.

As Anthony Ryan’s sponsor the Best Dressed Ladies Competition, we thought who better to advise us on the style stakes than Anthony Ryan’s representative, Michelle Elliott.

Michelle highlights that women need to take note of the name of the competition and ensure that they embody a ‘well-dressed lady’.

“Be sophisticated and classic, not your Saturday-night outfit. Maybe think 1930s old Hollywood, and don’t go over the top,” suggests Michelle.

With men even getting in on the act, betting firm Boylesports have said that punters are having a gamble on the winning ensemble, with a neutral white or cream shade coming in at 7/2 favourite.

The lucky winner will walk away with a one-carat diamond solitaire pendant valued at €8,000, a shopping spree worth €1,500 in Anthony Ryan’s Galway and €1,000 cash.

Ladies are reminded to make sure to get there early this Thursday, as finalists will be picked by 2.30pm.



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