So, you’ve booked your first day shooting and now the nerves are setting in as you worry about what on earth you are going to wear. The excitement has given way to panic at the thought of what will be expected of you. What will everyone else be wearing? Will I fit in? What is acceptable? Will I be judged? What should I take? Will I look silly?
To answer these, firstly you need to understand why we dress the way we do for a game day.
Much of shooting boils down to history and tradition and to dress smartly is a corner stone of this.
Traditionally tweed was worn out of practicality. It was warm and water proof and the muted colours blended into the landscape to avoid scaring your game.
So why the need to be smart on a day out in the field when you are likely to get muddy and wet?
Dressing in tweed with a shirt and tie is a symbol of respect to the quarry you’ll shoot and it acknowledges the work of the landowners and keepers who without, there would be no day.
Keeping this tradition recognises that this is more than a sport but instead a lifestyle.
With that in mind, it’s important to put a little thought into a shoot day outfit. Arriving with a smart appearance is expected, however first and foremost whatever you choose to wear must be safe and practical.
Here are a few necessary items to ensure you give yourself the best possible start to your day in the field:
Ear defenders are a MUST #no-brainer
Sensible footwear for walking over all terrains. Generally, wellies or country boots are a good shout but short waterproof boots are equally acceptable and can be worn with gaiters on wet days.
A shirt is a given. Traditionally checked with a tie or patterned with a scarf, the choice is yours!
Breeks or trousers are a staple for shoot days, although skirts are becoming more popular. Tweed, waterproof or moleskin are all good options. Avoid jeans (blue denim is a no-no!) However, some coloured trousers can look super smart.
A vest or waistcoat can be a nice addition. Not essential but good for warmer days or layering.
A smart jumper or fleece for warmth.
A biggie…… shooting socks and garters! Nobody wants cold feet and they’re perfect for showing your personality by adding a pop of colour. Coordinate with your tie or scarf for extra flare.
Wearing a hat is part and parcel of a game day. Keeps your head warm and dry and the sun from your eyes, should we ever be blessed with sunshine! There are lots of great options from flat cap to fedora. A baseball cap is not traditional but acceptable if not too gaudy.
A good jacket is probably one of the most important pieces of clothing you need to consider. It needs to keep you warm and dry and yet not be bulky, have plenty of room to move and lots of pockets for those all-important essentials like hip flasks and lip gloss!
Although tweed is traditional and looks very dapper it’s definitely not essential. There are so many fantastic shooting coats on the market that use technical fabrics to keep the heat in and the rain out.
Being well dressed shows good etiquette and respect for your quarry and fellow guns, however the emphasis is on being safe and comfortable. Always check the weather (this is Britain after all!) your day will be so much more enjoyable if you dress appropriately.
Preparing for your first shoot should be exciting rather than stressful, so hopefully this gives you some ideas of how to dress for your time in the field to ensure you have a fun filled day!
Written by Claire Annable