With the Galway Races in full swing and Ladies Day taking place tomorrow, prepare to see a flurry of feathers, flowers and elaborate hats on your Instagram and Facebook feeds.
As one of the most sartorially stunning days in the Irish calendar, the pressure is on to pull together a breathtaking and unique outfit, with the vital hat topping it off. But it's not just race-goers donning headpieces, as celebrities like Vogue Williams and Kate Middleton have been adding the accessory into even their more everyday outfits.
If there's one woman who knows about how to dress for Ladies Day, it's milliner Margaret O'Connor, whose creations have long been turning famous heads from Kylie Minogue to Lady Gaga. Hailing Tubber, Co. Clare, the master milliner is a dab hand at making headpieces, be they for celebrities walking the red carpet or friends and family attending weddings and festivals.
Speaking to Maggie Doyle on The Ryan Tubridy Show, O'Connor shared her tips for mastering the art of the hat, giving us a sneak peek at what's trending now.
"Everyone is obsessed with the crown, the headpiece, it’s like a headdress", she said. "Kate Middleton started wearing them about four years ago and then Dolce & Gabanna about two years ago did a whole range of cool headbands. You can see all the retail shops now selling headbands, people just can’t get enough of them."
If hats are becoming less of an affection for the elite - as they certainly seem to be - it's a trend O'Connor is thrilled to see. She asserts that hats can be worn for any occasion and with any dress code, whether it's a Gossip Girl-style headband with a mini dress for drinks, or a casual up classy Panama hat with jeans and a t-shirt.
But never mind how to wear them, Maggie asked whether hats suited everyone?
"It’s kind of like a pair of shoes… You have to find out what suits you, you have to try them on, it’s the same with hats", O'Connor replied.
If her experience is anything to go by, O'Connor knows how to master the hat. Having worked with Philip Treacy on hats for guests attending the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, it was here that she caught the bug for millinery.
Soon after, she established her own business, going on to create custom pieces for Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue and a slew of Irish personalities, like Tropical Popical's Andrea Horan, Aoibhín Garrihy and more.
Indeed, O'Connor believes that the same royal wedding that inspired her - as well as the more recent ones like that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - has created a new desire for and appreciation of hats, a trend that we're certainly seeing take off now.
"Meghan’s Mammy wore a small little green piece", she said. "It was small and it had a tiny trim on it… The amount of people who want that… Not everybody is outlandish and wants to go for a crazy hat."
Of course, when you're designing for Lady Gaga, bigger is better, and O'Connor has proven that she can create understated hats with as much glamour as her elaborate headpieces.
Maggie wondered how the Lady Gaga connection came about. O'Connor explained how a PR company she hired to represent her had a bit of a surprise up their sleeve.
She recalled: "We do PR for a stylist and she wants your hats for Lady Gaga. Can you send some hats?"
Talk about a no-brainer. With an order for six hats for Lady Gaga to choose from, O'Connor decided to throw in an extra one for luck. The ornate beaded piece called Marian was named for O'Connor's mother.
No prizes for guessing which hat Gaga chose.
Listen to Margaret and Maggie in conversation on The Ryan Tubridy Show above.