Ahead of the crowd

Irish milliner Margaret O’Connor offers her top tips on how to stand out this Ladies Day. By Denise Smith

Margaret O’Connor Rainbow hat, €365, and suit, rent from €120 from Rag Revolution© Photocall Ireland

Irish milliner Margaret O’Connor

Sunday World

Trackside glamour is galloping ever closer thanks to an endless number of high-profile race days on this summer’s roster.

If you are coveting the best-dressed corsage come Ladies Day, it may be time to reacquaint yourself with the sartorial dos and don’ts of the derby.

From head-turning hats to showstopping dresses, top Irish milliner Margaret O’Connor is once again teaming up with Great Lengths for its annual style showdown taking place at House Dublin during the Dublin Horse Show later this month.

Irish milliner Margaret O’Connor

With prizes including a €1,000 voucher for the brand’s hair extensions and one-off hat by the Clare designer, here she reveals the secrets to being first past the post.

Bring it neon: There is nothing more eye-catching than beautiful colours on a summer’s day. Whether you go for head-to-toe colour or a standout vibrant headpiece, my number one tip is to add colour to your look, especially if you are looking to attract the judges and bag a prize on the day.

Hat’s your lot: Go as big as you like with your hat, but you don’t need to put the kitchen sink on your head to stand out either. Any good milliner will do a consultation with you and create something beautiful and bespoke to you and your personality to complement your outfit. I would recommend two headpieces for any ladies entering Ladies Day: a big statement hat for the day event, and a headband or more easy-to-wear piece that you can change into for the evening. There’s no excuse to go home early then.

Comfort zone:Wear something comfortable but classic. It’s likely you are going to be wearing the look for several hours so consider how long you can last in your outfit — including footwear and shapewear. I like to bring a second pair of shoes if I can to change into later on.

Old but gold:Don’t think you need to spend a fortune to stand out at Ladies Day. Judges love hearing how you put your outfit together and if it’s a feel-good story, even better. Mix new pieces in with vintage nuggets or family heirlooms. The more original, the better.

Hair come the girls:Treat yourself to a nice blow-dry or upstyle, especially if you’re rocking a cool hat or headpiece. Choose a long-wearing lipstick so you don’t have to even think about reapplying too often —reds and pinks really pop in photos. Avoid instant tan too, as you never know with the unpredictable Irish weather.

  • Great Lengths ‘The Mane Event’ competition takes place following the Dublin Horse Show on August 18 from 6-8pm at House Dublin


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