Be honest: if you were invited on a shoot tomorrow, how prepared would you be?
We’re not talking specifics, of course. We couldn’t give two hoots if you can identify a common pheasant by the bright gold bars of its body plumage; or if you know your Browning DG4 from your Arrieta Crown. (That’s a trick one, obviously you should be using a Holland & Holland Royal 12-bore.) No, we’re talking about whether or not your wardrobe would be prepared to up sticks from the city and head into the countryside this weekend. Because, though you may have an eye for your quarry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got an eye for shooting style…
Not to worry. Even if your shoulder pads are wearing through and your boots are a little worse for wear, we’ve rounded up some of the best new kit available from British shooting specialist Holland & Holland to ensure you look as sharp as your shots this winter. And, before you shoot off to the field this season, take a trip to the Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds to brush up with a few clays…
Pick up a shirt you couldn’t wear in the office
Let’s fire off your shooting outfit with a good button-down. This is the well-cut, cuffed and collared foundation of any field outfit. But we’ve got one tip; don’t wear a shirt you could wear to the office. Instead, the traditional choice for shooting is a subtle checked shirt, with colours ranging from mid-greens to pale browns. Of course, if you’re going grouse shooting, wear darker, earthier colours to avoid being seen by the birds.
We’d suggest this safari shirt woven from 100% wool, with button chest pockets and horn buttons. For a more classic look, go for Swiss cotton, and this fine check shirt with mother-of-pearl buttons. Or, if your shoot calls for a darker colour, opt for this rich purple corduroy — guaranteed to also keep you warm in the field.
Invest in the best waistcoat for your shoot
Now here’s a specialist piece of field sports kit; the shooting vest or waistcoat. Functionality at its English country best, these bodywarmers will not only keep you cosy, but they also allow you to store your cartridges or gloves in their usually deep, practical pockets. Many also feature leather or suede shoulder pads to protect from recoil.
This navy sporting vest is one such example, woven from Loden wool and with suede pad fittings on both sides. It also has two small jet pockets, and is fully lined with canvas. Holland & Holland also offers a unisex quilted gilet, constructed from nylon and polyester for unrivalled insulation — and then trimmed with suede piping for the traditional touch. Alternatively, dress a little more formally with this collared waistcoat with dark brown horn buttons.
Men’s Navy Sporting Vest
Unisex Quilted Gilet
Men’s Collared Waistcoat
Choose your jacket wisely — and practically
Game shooting, as you’ll undoubtedly know, takes place principally throughout the misty, frosty winter months. That means you’ll be braving the chill for much of your day — so it pays to find a jacket that not only looks good, but has the quality to back up this style. Look for something well-insulated, hard-wearing and that offers enough movement for you to still comfortably swing your gun. Deep pockets don’t hurt, either.
And Holland & Holland has quite the selection. This men’s field coat is perhaps its most practical, with calf suede lining, knitted rib cuffs and pivot sleeves. It’s also water-resistant, windproof and fully breathable. For a lighter option, this belted safari jacket also boasts plenty of pockets, and very large armholes for maximum arm flexibility. Or, if you’re dressing for formality, it’s got a wool jacket with cotton elbow and shoulder patches, and large, button-flapped bellow pockets.
Men’s Field Coat
Men’s Belted Safari Jacket
Men’s Jacket With Patches
Don’t overlook your extras and accessories
And so we come to the all-important accessories. There are some purely practical pieces you’ll want to pick up — from ear defenders to cartridge bags — but we’re more interested in the style touches that will elevate you above the other guns in the fashion stakes. That means hats, gloves and maybe even a tie — check with your host if you’re unsure of the neckwear policy.
If you do need to smarten up, however, we can think of few better options than this Hugo Guinness partridge print silk tie, designed exclusively for Holland & Holland and available in a range of four colours. Pair that with this green and yellow flecked flat cap to finish off the classic sporting look — and then slip on these lambs leather, wrist-buckled khaki gloves to complete the green theme.
Hugo Guinness Partrige Silk Tie
Holland & Holland Cap
Men’s Khaki Sporting Gloves
In a temperamental British winter, the best boots are versatile
Footwear is trickier than you think. With the winter weather being so unreliable, the countryside on a shoot could deliver anything from rock-hard icy terrain to drizzly sludge underfoot. As such, you must be prepared. Wellington boots are always a safe bet, as are tailored shooting boots. Whichever you opt for, slip on shoes with good ankle support to keep your steps safe on uneven ground.
Holland & Holland offers a couple of good options from Arxus; with leather piping around their tops, neoprene lining and a zip at the back for air circulation. It’s also brought the footwear of famous Austrian shoemakers Ludwig Reiter to Britain, adapting the colours of these hardy boots for English country shooting.
Arxus Primo Country Zip Boots
Ludwig Reiter Wachjuchten Boots
Arxus Primo Nord Zip Boots
Looking for the perfect day out from London? Set your sights on Holland & Holland’s Shooting Grounds…