Shooting Attire- An Introduction.
With shooting season in full swing- it’s time to consider your shooting attire. A quintessential British tradition, dressing the part is the most essential part of the shooting and field experience.
There is a multitude of options for shooting attire here at Roomten, with large collections of materials and styles we offer in our made-to-measure and bespoke ranges, including the renowned Norfolk and Hacking jackets and the traditional Plus Four trousers.
If you’re unsure of what style you’re after, and whether it is practical for the purpose intended then look no further, below is a short guide we hope will give you some inspiration for this seasons shooting attire.
The History of Shooting Attire
Up until the 19th Century, for shooting and field sports there was no certain attire to be worn as the shooting suit had not been cultivated at that point. In these times, shooting attire had not become fashioned and so partakers in field sports would have donned all colours of attire, sporting a cravat and most likely a top hat too in materials such as heavy worsted wool or broadcloth, fabrics that provide an adequate waterproofing and durability- their jacket would have included a ‘ticket pocket’ (which still exists in jackets today!) to carry their tins containing explosives for the shoot.
The Victorian Era saw a surge in popularity for fieldsports and Highland dress, as Queen Victoria would often spend much of her time in the Scottish Highlands. With the introduction of national railways throughout this time, the evolution of shooting began as many city dwellers could travel to the countryside for the weekend and take part in such activities. The Victorian Era also saw the introduction of tweed, this hard-wearing, durable yet elegant fabric was popular due to the influence of Highland dress.
Taking its name from a historical theory, the Norfolk jacket was invented by Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk (hence the name). The Norfolk jacket became known within the fieldsport scene due to Prince Wales, who wore the jacket for shooting in the 1880’s after a surge in popularity for field sports and pursuits during the Victorian era. Since this time, there has been many adaptations of the Norfolk jacket but it became a staple part of a field sportsman’s wardrobe throughout the 1930s.
The Norfolk jacket comes in many variations but is best known as a single breasted, 5 button jacket with a full waist belt, leather shoulder and elbow pads and back pleats. Commonly with a Norfolk jacket, a storm collar will be an added feature, this is a collar attached to the lapel to protect the neck in adverse weather conditions. Characteristic of any shooting jacket, the front pockets should be expandable, as these are designed to hold any belongings and cartridges for the shoot.
Originally, the Norfolk jacket would have been made from a heavy tweed. Here at Roomten we have a magnitude of different tweeds and worsted wools to choose from . As always, Roomten can make your Norfolk jacket exactly as you desire.
Plus Four Trousers
Plus Fours are a cropped trouser, descending four inches below the knee. They have adjustable straps on the calf and can also feature a fishtail waistband, intended to be worn with braces. These trousers can also be referred to as Breaches or Breeks and Plus Two’s or Six’s (2 or 6 inches past the knee).
Originating around the same time as the Norfolk jacket, the Plus Fours were invested as they allowed more freedom of movement than the then popular knickerbockers for sporting purposes, as well as maintaining a smart image- they would originally have been paired with a thick cotton knee-high sock and a brown leather brogue. Plus Fours have lost popularity over the years due to the invention of the waterproof boot however are still a staple item for a shooting suit.
Much like any shooting attire, Plus Fours are usually produced in a heavy, durable tweed that is able to withstand cold and damp weathers.
At Roomten we also offer shooting waistcoats. Unlike a suit waistcoat, a shooting waistcoat should be made of a heavy tweed or worsted wool that is insulating against the elements. Shooting waistcoats also feature wide expandable front pockets and a leather patch on one of the shoulders, if not both (this is down to preference), they are also longer in length giving the wearer freedom of movement- this means they the waistcoat can be worn without its jacket counterpart and the midsection is still completely covered.
A traditional shooting shirt would be made of cotton, with a Tattersall print- this is a small check and is most commonly found in shades of blue of brown. A shooting shirt is a thicker cotton to those found for casual or formal wear as they need to keep the wearer warm when out on the field.
Here at Roomten we stock different weights of cotton so whether you’re looking for the classic Tattersall or something a bit different, we have all bases covered.
Pop into store or contact us directly if you would like to find out more information and pricing on our made-to-measure and bespoke shooting attire ranges.