For a very long time, recreational hunting was a gentleman’s sport, where an elegant country attire was just as important as having the right rifle. Hunting in style can be just as comfortable and practical as hunting in casual clothes. So here are a few tips to add elegant touches to your outfit.
When preparing for a hunt, most hunters think in practical clothing: camouflage or war paint, boots, and warm underclothes. One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of a hunter might very well be their camo attire.
This means that hunting was long associated with traditional and polished apparel. Camouflage gear came much later, and despite common assumptions, is not a requirement for a successful hunt.
Some forms of hunting even require a rather flashy outfit, like in a battue, where people beat bushes to force game in the direction of hunters. In this case, they wear reflective, bright yellow or orange vests to ensure they stand out and the shooters do not mistake them for a deer or a boar.
As hunting expanded to other ranks in society, the dress code also became looser. While technical clothing is preferred by a wide majority of hunters today, some of them still like to suit up for their hunt. After all, nothing says you can’t combine comfort and style, if you choose the proper outfit.
If you want to put on a more elegant attire for your next hunt, you can start with a tweed jacket, like a Norfolk or a hacking jacket. In traditional country attire, which was long the norm among nobility, they are often combined with a check shirt and breeks – the short pants that stop at your knee so you can stay comfortable in your boots.
You might not be ready to give up your camo yet. And that’s fine. If you want to keep your chances of nabbing your prey without getting seen, choose neutral shades or colors like beige, brown and dark green, depending on the season and the natural colors in your hunting environment.
Styling with the right accessories
While the right jacket might already give you a feeling of being dressed for the hunt, a gentleman’s outfit would not be complete without accessories. This is true whether he is going to a wedding, a cocktail party… or hunting.
It doesn’t take much to turn a beautiful, semi-casual outfit into a more formal one. A simple necklace, a tie or just a lapel pin can be subtle signs that you put some thought into your appearance. The smallest things you wear can help express who you are, and if you are into hunting and shooting, there are about as many possibilities as there are hunters.
Accessories like suspenders are not only a cool addition to your attire, they also have a very functional use. You don’t want to worry about your pants sliding down as you crawl through a forest or a field. Suspenders are the ideal way of keeping your pants up while keeping your hands on your rifle.
Keep it as practical as the accessory itself. Go for the sturdy model and remember to match the color to your outfit. You can play with contrasts or keep it simple with a neutral, matching color. If you don’t already have a checkered shirt, you can also opt for this print in your suspenders.
Necktie or bowtie
There are so many different situations in which a necktie is appropriate. And yes, hunting is one of them. The beauty of ties is there are almost unlimited designs, materials and shapes to choose from, so you can always find the appropriate tie for the event.
In the case of hunting, you would need to choose a necktie made of wool or cotton. These are more resistant materials, thus better suited for the outdoors, and better able to withstand harsh weather conditions than the classical silk tie. You can play around with prints of preys, or wear a solid color necktie.
You can also bring it to an even more formal level with a bowtie. But this would be reserved for a formal hunt where there is a dress code to follow, or where several participants suit up. Wool would also be the go-to material, but you can also play around with a wooden bowtie, if you don’t feel like it will hamper your movements.
If on the contrary you would like to add some style to your outfit while remaining casual, you could also put on a necklace. For example a pendant featuring a golden claw. You could even decide to create your necklace with the tooth or claw from one of your catches.
The hat to top it all
The flat cap might be the one accessory that remains a classic wear for hunters. Hats were at one point so popular that no man would leave their house without wearing one.
The go-to choice for hunting is the flat cap. Of course, a simple fedora hat can also do the trick. The point, beyond being stylish, is to protect your eyes from the sun, as well as to insulate and protect your head.
This is why wool, felt or cotton are ideal: they won’t only be sturdy enough to withstand rain and cold weather, but they will also keep you warm.
As good as they make him look, the clothes do not make the man… While you can make sure to choose the apparel that will best suit your personality, the situation and your practical needs, no glove will help you pull the trigger. So you better remember to work on your aiming skills.