Post by C.M.
Even though I hummed and hawed about trekking up to Ladies Day at the Galway Races, in the end I only got as far as the pub that evening – the day involves a great deal of standing around, peacocking, I didn’t have any money to spare on a new outfit, let alone to buy the ticket to enter the racecourse, let alone to gamble away my tens of euros on the promise of a mighty steed’s winning way. So much effort! Plus it was raining.
On my journey into the city at about 5pm I had cause to style spot. There appeared to be a trend for no shoes going on, young women choosing to carry them around in their hands like two cumbersome pets instead of adorning their feet, the traditional way. Strange. There were a lot of feathery fascinators. There were a lot of orange legs. In all fairness some people looked great, well turned out, well fitting suits on the men, polished and preened ladies still walking elegantly upright after a day of drinking fun, but in general the looks veered towards body-con dresses that bit too short, platform stilettos and ironed hair.
It got me thinking about what I would have worn. Rifling through my wardrobe I found a few pieces and put them together. It is easier said than done, and some people who are intent on competing for the grand prize of €20,000 put months of work into their outfit, but if it’s just for fun, and a good day’s out glamourizing, this is what I came up with:
Yes, that is a crop top. No, I do not have rock-hard washboard abs (for feminist reasons only, I don’t want an antiquated stamp of forced domesticity stuck to my abdominal muscles! (ahem)). But a hint of flesh around the rib area can give the illusion of a stomach as flat as a generic pop star’s (see TM’s previous post, Top of the Crops, for more on that subject). It’s a “Penney’s Best”, as is the high waisted pencil skirt, the silver shoes are a charity shop find, the umbrella (essential!) is Bugatti, the bag I found buried under some others at the end of my bed. The headpiece is by milliner Catriona King. I was going for a pared back, Rooney Mara-esque silhouette, a classic, slightly 40s look modernised.
Because my exposed middle was feeling the chill I wanted to go in a completely different direction for the next ensemble. Looking to Katherine Hepburn and her no-nonsense but genteel, chic style I took a pair of Dunne’s wide-leg trousers, Miss Selfridge shirt (a relic from my teenage years), my mother’s lovely 1980s clutch and the same accessories; Topshop earrings and some market stall rings . It’s more of a serious lady racer style (I would have liked to have added a pair of binoculars, Queen Elizabeth style). The pants are really long and not great for trailing along the wet ground – one of my biggest fears are soggy cuffs with damp that travels up and touches my leg. Shudder.
Personally, I think this look could really take off
So for outfit number 3 I forwent the Ladies Day brief. A pair of jeans (another charity shop find, €3!), shoes I didn’t mind getting scuffed, stood on, ruined, plain navy top (made a little more dressy with a silky texture) and most importantly waterproof jacket and umbrella would take me smuggly around Ballybrit and beyond. The coat has many pockets so a bag isn’t even strictly needed, a cute little clutch could be added later on if needed. I could just imagine myself hopping excitedly and jumping for joy when my horse came in. Because isn’t that what the races is actually all about? Apart from the champagne tents, celebrity spotting and day off work that is. Hmm, maybe I will go next year, my hat does deserve an outing…