More and more women are taking up shooting. Which is excellent news.
It’s key to know what to wear shooting. Not only from a sartorial point of view, because you’ll want to have the confidence of knowing you’re looking your best, but also from a comfort point of view. You need to be able to swing your gun freely, stay dry, warm and comfortable whatever the weather and be able to pick your way around hedges and rough terrain. (Read our advice on the best wellies for shooting.)
So we asked some keen Shots what ladies should wear shooting. Here’s what they advised. (Read our guide on the best tweed shooting jackets for ladies.)
(Clay shooting has its own rules – you can find advice on what to wear clay pigeon shooting here.)
What ladies should wear shooting
Hicks & Brown was set up by designer sisters Alice and Rosie, who were brought up on a farm and have excellent fieldsports credentials. We asked them for their tips on what ladies should wear in the field (and not wear) and what’s good to wear on a warm autumnal day.
What ladies should wear shooting and why
Most women want to look stylish but it is also important to be practical. Granted, the way you dress won’t make you a better Shot, but it is important to get your outfit right – you can appear elegant arriving at the shoot and through lunch but ensuring you stay warm and dry with technical clothing over the top is essential when you are out in the field.
- The look for ladies is all about the layers. Combine a warm tweed waterproof jacket and style up with a sheepskin gilet underneath if it’s chilly out. (Read our list of the best thermals for shooting.)
- Pair this with some moleskin breeks and some shooting socks (there are many incredible colours and patterns available so this is a great way to add some contrasting colours to your outfit).
- Finish your look with a fedora or trilby which doubles up on style and practicality. You’ll keep the rain off your hair (helping to prevent the dreaded frizz) and the sun out of your eyes.
- As for your feet – arrive at a shoot in leather boots but then change into wellies. Add the rest of your outerwear once the introductions and shooting brief for the day have taken place.
- Finally, don’t forget your ear protection. You don’t want to damage your hearing and having defenders or ear plugs is one of the shooting safety rules.
What not to wear in the field (and why not)
- You need to be able to move easily and be comfortable. Feeling bulky or wearing something too tight is the worst. You’ll affect your swing, won’t shoot well and could even be unsafe as a result. All your jackets and clothing should allow you to ‘swing through’ the shot.
- Bright shades are a no-no on the shooting field because you want to blend into to your surroundings – colours really are a very important factor in choosing your outfit for the day. You need to camouflage yourself against the hill and heather – which is where tweeds come in.
- Wearing jeans is definitely frowned upon. For one, they aren’t smart enough and secondly, if you get wet you’ll stay wet and feel cold, damp and miserable for the rest of the day.
- Arriving at a shoot without a gunslip is sure to turn heads for the wrong reasons. Bringing your gun in a case will also make it easier to carry and protect it from dirt and damage. (Read our list of the best gunslips.)
- Finally, not wearing ear protection will make you look like a real amateur (and ignorant besides). Ear defenders are definitely what ladies should wear shooting. (More on the best ear defenders here.)
What to wear when it’s not that cold – autumn shooting
A gilet is one of our go-to pieces for shooting at this time of year – when you need more than a jumper but are not quite ready for a big jacket. If the ground is fairly dry shoot in leather boots, keep wellies for when it is muddy and wet.
What to wear shooting in the depths of winter
There is nothing worse than being cold when shooting. It can make you feel even more tense and really can hinder your performance. Our essentials include a good scarf which you can wrap up around your face as well as some shooting specific gloves to keep your hands warm but enable you to still pull the trigger. Wearing thermals underneath is a must. Handwarmers are key for when it gets really cold. (Read our suggestions for the best shooting gloves.)
All Hicks & Brown clothing is designed and crafted in Britain. This piece was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.