If there is one thing that defines Britishness, it is our love of ceremony and tradition, and the wearing of a shooting outfit is an act which is both deeply mired in the field sports tradition and, when worn 'properly', almost ceremonious in it's fine details.
Whilst, aesthetically, the shooting outfit exudes British upper class charm and heritage, it's functional purpose is to camouflage the wearer in the field and offer protection against the British elements, whilst maintaining freedom of movement. Winter shooting attire should keep the wearer warm and dry, without restricting movement.
The key to cold weather dressing is layering and shooting garments are perfectly designed to be pieced together to create a warm and waterproof suit.
Starting with the first layers, Shooting Socks come up over the calf and are held in place with garters. Pennine have a good range of shooting socks and garters, such as the Pennine Mayfair Cashmere Shooting Sock and the Contrast Garter. To add a splash of colour to your outfit, Laksen offer the Harlequin Stocking, in merino wool.
Breeks (Scottish dialect for breeches) are similar to plus fours in length, but with less fullness. The bottom seam of the breeks is important as it needs to work with the sock to make the outfit waterproof. For comfort, braces can be worn to hold the breeks in place. Musto have a beautiful range of shooting attire. In this article we will focus on the Stretch Technical Tweed outfit from Musto, comprising Jacket, Waistcoat and Breeks. Designed to work together, and composed of a Scottish wool, nylon and lycra material for added stretch and durability. The breeks feature a weatherproof, breathable drop-liner and adjustable hem.
Moving onwards and upwards to the shirt. The favoured design for shooting shirts is a tattersall pattern, cut loosely to allow for freedom of movement. Barbour's Sporting Country Tattersall is a specific shooting shirt, in 100% cotton, with a superior cut and longer body length.
For additional warmth in bitterly cold weather, a sleeveless, wool waistcoat makes a perfect second layer. A waistcoat is preferable to a pullover or cardigan as it allows for freedom of movement around the arms. Musto's Stretch Technical Tweed Waistcoat features vents to the back to allow air flow and a D30 Recoil Pad facility at the shoulder.
The outer layer of the outfit is the jacket. Practical features to look out for when selecting a shooting jacket include the protection it offers against the elements; such as a weatherproof lining, stormflap and ribbed inner cuffs. Additional practical features might include generous, bellow pockets and internal zipped pockets. The Musto Stretch Technical Tweed Jacket comprises all of these features and, together with the breeks and waistcoat, completes a stylish and traditional outfit.
If you prefer not to wear tweed the most suitable alternative is Gore-tex, in a classic colour such as moss. Lighter than tweed, Gore-tex still looks great in the field and is renowned for it's weatherproofing properties. Musto's Whisper Jacket, in moss, has been designed to reduce rustle noise when moving and to be virtually silent.
When standing for long hours out in the elements, a good pair of boots is essential. Lined boots with grip are advisable for warmth and comfort. Hunter's Balmoral Hawksworth Boots, winner of the Shooting Industry's New Footwear Product of the Year Award 2012, are a good choice.
Musto's Whisper Jacket, Barbour's Sporting Country Tattersall Shirt and Hunter's Balmoral Hawksworth.
Accessories to complete the look include Shooting Gloves. Many options are available, including Barbour's Leather Shooting Gloves which are suitable for both left and right handers, with a fold back trigger finger on each glove. Musto make an excellent Wetgrip Shooting Glove, a close fitting glove that retains grip even when wet.
Two beautiful accessories to complete any shooting outfit are Musto's Leather Gunslip and Cartridge Bag. Designed to compliment each other they are hand crafted in England using Italian leather and feature solid brass hardware.
Last but not least, you've kitted yourself out in magnificent British heritage style, but health and safety is still an important consideration! Our Bisley Active Ear Protectors will safeguard your hearing and Musto's D30 Recoil Shield and D30 Recoil Pad are an excellent, innovative new design to absorb impact energy.
With all of this in place you are ready to go out and enjoy field sports without compromising an inch on style or practicality!