Dressing for the Races with Catriona Hanly

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The dressing dilemma is upon us once again with the arrival of racing season. With numerous Ladies Days marked in our calender, including this weekend’s prestigious Dubai Duty Free, there are some major fashion decisions at stake. And in Ireland, where the weather can be so unpredictable, styling yourself for an outdoor occasion can cause for some testing times.

Thankfully, we’ve caught up with Irish fashion and jewellery designer Catriona Hanly to get her top tips on dressing for the races. Between the UK and Ireland, Catriona admits that women have really raised the style stakes in recent years. A self-proclaimed optimist, she says she looks forward to brighter days ahead with “no more austerity and a lot more prosperity!”

“With this in mind I would encourage ladies to take a chance, have a flutter and be bright and bold but be true to their own innate sense of style,” she says. “Spring Summer 2016 for me is romantic and fanciful, playfully quaint, timelessly chic and inclusively ageless, with a whisper of whimsy, a hint of coquetry and an abundance of glamour!”

 

Look 1

 

Here, Catriona explains why tangerine skin is a big style faux pas on racing day, why good shoes are an absolute must and what she reckons matters most to Ladies Day judges.

On her top tips for the races…

Wear good shoes: There is nothing attractive about hobbling no matter how well-heeled. A full day at the races in uncomfortable shoes will not only ruin your day but also ruins your look.  Clothes always hang much better on a lady with great posture so if you can’t walk, and perhaps even trot, with ease, then rethink your heels.

Dress comfortably: This doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. It is also very important to wear clothes that fit properly and suit your body shape.  Wearing the right underwear can give clean lines and some extra support.  Always remain classic, elegant and edgy when it comes to creating your racing season style.

 On choosing the right colour for you… 

I love luxurious fabrics and feminine colours like warm corals, soft pinks and baby blues.  Again, chose a colour that suits your complexion and hair colour and most of all feel confident and happy with your look.  Maybe have some fun with a polka dot afternoon tea dress worn with buttery soft leather gloves.  (Look 2)

Hats or Fascinators? 

Definitely Hats!  I am not really a fan of fascinators as I think a bold head piece or hat will make a much bigger statement and also can really compliment the silhouette.   I have just finished designing a range of hats for my Autumn Winter 16’17 Collection which I am really excited about.  I actually wore this head piece to Ascot last week and I really enjoyed the reaction it got. Big hat, big fun!

Catriona Hanly at Ascott

Catriona Hanly at Ascott

On preparing for bad weather… 

We have been very lucky with the weather at the Derby and Galway races over the last few years but too much fake-tanned flesh on show is a no no and also very uncomfortable in breezy Irish weather – goosebumps and blue tinted tangerine skin is not a good look!  One little tip for summer racing season is to wear sleeves and midi lengths.  This means you don’t need to bring a coat but you are sufficiently covered..  Another tip is to dress in layers so you can add or subtract depending on the day.

On the biggest race day style trends of 2016…

With summer in full bloom, florals are very on-trend at the moment but I also love polka dots and frothy confections of lace and silk!  Flamenco ruffles, off-the-shoulder details and shocks of red are also key trends for 2016. The modern way to wear this season’s prints is to go big and bold on colour.  Mid-length hemlines are not only ideal for the races but are the length of the season, which means there’s an abundance of high street and designer styles in stores right now.

Go big and bold on colour

Go big and bold on colour

Shape-wise, A-line is always a flattering option, creating a tiny waist. For those feeling a little more statement, try an on-trend bell sleeve or go with a SS16 pink number. For those simply heading to the races for a fun day with the girls, then you can afford to go a bit more fun and flirty – try an off-the-shoulder style or go for comfort and an abundance of style with these chic cerise cigarette pants and top.

Go fun and flirty                         

 

On the biggest style mistakes at Ladies Day… 

Too much skin on display, streaky fake tan and not dressing for the weather are the biggest style mistakes but I also believe that the wrong shoes can be an even bigger fashion disaster because if you can’t walk, you can’t have a whole lot of fun!

On dressing to impress the judges…

If you look at all the winners of Ladies day over the last few years, you will find that colour really stands out for judges and it is important to dress for the weather.  Leave a little to the imagination and don’t have too much flesh on display.  Coco Chanel summed it up perfectly when she said, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

 

Catriona Hanly Designs are available at the Design Centre Dublin, Olori Boutique in Cork, or visit www.catrionahanly.com for more style tips and online shop.

 

"Jennifer Wrynne  really stood out at Cheltenham when she wore a timeless blue Chantilly lace blue dress from my last collection and she accessorised it perfectly."

“Jennifer Wrynne  really stood out at Cheltenham when she wore a timeless blue Chantilly lace blue dress from my last collection and she accessorised it perfectly.”

 

Vogue Williams Cheltenham

“Vogue Williams stole the show whilst judging at Cheltenham with a sneak preview of my Lough Rynn Tweeds for Autumn Winter 2016/17”

 

"Marie Louise Heavey  went for this season’s bright pink for Ascot last week from my Spring Summer 2016 collection and really turned heads."

“Marie Louise Heavey went for this season’s bright pink for Ascot last week from my Spring Summer 2016 collection and really turned heads.”

 

"Lorna Duffy went on to win ladies day at Naas in purple tweeds and one of my matching hat designs which arrive in the Design Centre and selected stores Nationwide in August."

“Lorna Duffy went on to win ladies day at Naas in purple tweeds and one of my matching hat designs which arrive in the Design Centre and selected stores Nationwide in August.”