Ladies' Day is about more than posing and pouting says seasoned judge Anna Daly
"We're not just talking pretty faces."
Some people were reminded of Princess Diana, others Mary Poppins. For us, the chic Dolce & Gabbana dress and wide-brimmed Hervé Pierre hat that Melania Trump wore to meet the Queen this week said one thing: Ladies' Day.
Yes, the season of trackside style has kicked off and fashion-conscious women are stepping out at events across the country – with everything leading up to the Her Best Dressed Competition at the Galway races.
On Thursday, August 1, a judging panel of experts and style hunters will scour Ballybrit racecourse to find the very best outfits and a winner worthy of the impressive prize: a luxury holiday to the Seychelles from Emirates Holidays plus an amazing €3,000 in cash.
Anna Daly – anchor at Virgin Media's Weekend AM and lifestyle writer – is a Ladies' Day veteran, who has judged numerous best dressed competitions. Asked what caught her eye as a judge, she says:
"I was just looking for some genuine style and someone who happens to wow in an outfit that she wears with confidence. Not someone trying too hard. Not something too contrived. Chic and elegant with an individual touch. I found it in spades."
Serious style here at @NaasRacecourse for #NaasLadiesDay My follow judges @KlaraHeron of @IrishCountryMag & Anna from @KildareNow having a tricky time deciding.. #racingstyle pic.twitter.com/CscZr7ZSdO
— Anna Daly (@daly_anna) May 20, 2018
Though there's a dedicated cohort of racegoers, Anna says that Ladies' Day attracts a diverse crowd:
"Of course there are the seasoned ladies’ day entrants who know precisely what’s required to win and use the racetrack and the pavilion like it’s a catwalk. Then there’s the ladies who are just there to enjoy a nice day out and happen to have made an effort for the day that’s in it. It’s quite fascinating to see it all in action."
Some people may be quick to write off competitions such as these, but Anna says that in reality Ladies' Day offers a forum for women – and entrepreneurs in particular – to support each other.
"It's about the racing (for some), the fashion (for others) but it is also about the business of fashion. There’s milliners, event organisers, PR professionals, food producers, designers, executive coaches and an array of creative types all trading ideas and connections while showing support for each other’s businesses.
"Did someone say lovely girls? We’re not just talking pretty faces here. Many are smart, savvy mums who are using their downtime wisely by working the room and creating lots of future business long after the posing and pouting is over."
So get ready girl bosses – Galway is calling.