So this week I went on my first ever game shooting day, you can read all about my experiences here. One of the biggest decisions leading up to the day (who am I kidding – the biggest decision), was what to wear. This is what I went for…
Where to start?
There is a certain etiquette with regards to attire when out game shooting, it’s a lot more formal than a day on the clays where you can wear absolutely anything. For game shooting, the guns usually wear brown or green tones and 9/10 this will consist of some tweed. It really does depend on the shoot as to what the dress code is – some shoots are really formal and will insist on breeks, shirts and ties and formal three-piece tweed suits whereas others are more relaxed. As I mention in my Shot to Pot post, our farm shoot is fairly relaxed and given that the guns do some of the beating, very best attire stays in the wardrobe for more formal days.
Substance over style?
The most important thing to start out with is the practical elements that are paramount to safety, there is absolutely no point wearing a very stylish but very impractical outfit that might actually affect your shooting and even become dangerous. So the obvious – ear protection is a must, I wear eye protection too – a habit from clay shooting but this isn’t a necessity. A good pair of boots is also essential, this week I chose to go with my old faithful Le Chamaeu wellies as I knew I would be walking through the mud and wanted to be really comfortable but next time I will probably opt for my Fairfax & Favor Imperial Explorers because the weather will be cooler and the boots are leather lined – which means they’ll keep my toes warm all day (as well as looking super stylish).
Other important things to keep in mind are that you are dressed to shoot. That sounds obvious doesn’t it? What I mean by that is that it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of choosing an outfit that will turn heads on pegs and take you straight to the top of the style stakes. It’s great if you can manage that, but if that outfit interferes with your shooting then you have a big problem. For example, don’t wear a tight fitting shirt that you are unable to manouvre in, or a flat cap that falls down over your eyes or off your head when you tilt it back..you get the idea.
Back to the Style
I did choose my outfit with practicality in mind, I knew that I was likely to be one of, if not the, only girl shooting and so I didn’t want to turn up dressed ready for a country catwalk and make myself look a fool by not being able to shoot anything. But that said I still wanted to inject a little bit of AGAC style into my day, so I went for:
- Traditional check shirt from Barbour. Most of the men wear check shirts with either green or brown check. By wearing a check shirt I could fit in with the other shoot members but by choosing this shirt I could still retain femininity and style
- Lambswool fine cable knit jumper in a neutral tone. Its all about the layers – the day started off really foggy and cold, a typical Autumn morning, but by lunchtime I had ditched the jumper scarf and coat for a more comfortable afternoon shooting.
- Beretta tweed flat cap – most shots wear a flat cap, it’s great for keeping you dry in case of rain and a smart addition to your shoot wardrobe. I chose mine from Beretta (I think it’s actually a mens one) because who doesn’t pair their flat cap with their gun?!
- Waterproof coat. Essential. Out on a shoot you are exposed to the elements and there is no place for sheltering until you retreat for lunch or at the end of the day. So make sure you take a waterproof jacket. I love my Beadnell jacket from Barbour, it’s a classic country style and works really well with multiple layers. It’s lightweight too – again perfect for layering and in the classical olive colour it was a perfect choice to complete my shooting outfit.
- Socks – big thick socks are a definite, I love my Lady Forres socks from House of Cheviot. See my recent post Something to Knock your Socks Off!
Back to the main event…
What I really wanted to talk to you about was one garment in particular – my shooting vest from Holland Cooper, which you may have already seen this make an appearance on a few occasions recently. The reason I really want to talk about this piece with you is not just for my love of Holland Cooper – I’m sure most of you are already aware of that, but for how great this product really is.
As I said, most of you will already know I’m a Holland Cooper fan and can be regularly spotted sporting one of Jade’s beautiful pieces. I absolutely adore Jade’s capes and can’t think of a better garment to describe elegant, modern country fashion. But this shooting vest is something else. As with all of Jade’s creations, the shooting vest is designed by the Founder of Holland Cooper herself and is hand cut and made in Britain by some of the best manufacturers using only the finest Scottish woven tweeds all crafted to produce something that is not only wearable and stylish but will last you a lifetime.
What I love about the vest is that it is so practical, the pockets are big enough for tonnes of cartridges and the shoulder pads have extra padding to enable a comfortable gun mount. A lot of HC’s designs are created for that uber stylish look, whether it be with country or city in mind and everyone wants to be seen in a HC cape. And what I love even more than the practical element is that the super stylish look is not lost on this amazingly practical item – it is stunning. Really. This piece has absolutely been designed with practicality in mind but Jade has not forgotten her signature style which has led to a stunning garment that can do its job and then some.
I love the tawny tweed from which the vest is made – I have the gold label cape in this colour tweed too which pairs beautifully. For me the Tawny tweed totally A Girl About Country, it’s classically country but with a modern, understated and elegant twist, I also love the toffee coloured wax which compliments the tweed so well and provides that extra layer of style to the vest. I also think this colour choice is perfect for a day out game shooting, it really fits in well with the traditional theme but enables the wearer to stand out as a well-dressed, smart shot. The vest will take you from the clay ground to the most formal game shoots with ease and is comfortable in both situations and all in between.
The vest is also cut impeccably, it’s so feminine and so flattering and shows off your figure without impairing performance or being too over the top. A lot of other shooting vests that I have tried are straight cut and not at all flattering – particularly if you have a figure! Whereas the HC shooting vest was most definitely designed with a stylish lady shot in mind and the cut would suit every lady out there. I also think the vest is fantastic value, it’s something that will never date and is totally fit for purpose. I have already got my money’s worth in it and will be wearing it for years to come!
The biggest compliment I can give about the vest is not from me – I had so many comments from other members of the shoot on how smartly dressed I was and how lovely my shooting vest looked. Let me put this into perspective – our shoot consists mainly of middle-aged to old farmers and traditional countrymen, so if they are complimenting my choice of shooting vest you know it’s a winner!
The Holland Cooper Shooting Vest is also perfect for clay shooting…I wore mine paired with the matching skirt for a recent clay day with the Femmes Fatales
A total essential…
…is the only way I can describe this vest. It is sure to be a staple in every stylish country lady’s wardrobe – not just the lady shots amongst us, this vest is also perfect for those who want to emulate the classic country lady look. Perfect for country walks, supper in the pub and everything else in between – the big pockets are a bonus particularly if you are not wanting to carry a handbag! You can get this fabulous shooting vest from the Holland Cooper website or from Jade’s private showroom in The Cotswolds (I am definitely putting my name down for an appointment soon!) but be quick – this is sure to sellout fast! The only problem with knowing how brilliant this vest is, is that I know really want the matching breeks and shooting jacket!