It’s fall of 2020. You can sense the restlessness in the air around you. You are on the search for the perfect activity to cure your yearlong boredom. You decide to go hunting.
Maybe you are a seasoned hunter. Maybe you have yet to go hunting in your life. But hey, it’s a new year — a weird one at that — and you are ready to try anything to help you pass the time.
But what should you wear? Have no fear, you have come to the right place.
Let me start by saying what we will not be discussing: dirty t-shirts and camo everything. If that’s what you’re looking for, hop in the car and head to your local Cabela’s, no dressing guide needed.
We will instead talk about the less popular, more gentlemanly way to dress for hunting. If you’ve ever watched “Downton Abbey,” you know what I’m talking about. You may have thought this attire was a thing of the past, but I’m here to tell you it’s not, and it is an option for a fashionable, yet functional look.
How can you dress like a gentleman while hunting? Use these key pieces to build your look:
- Long shooting socks. The perfect layer to protect your legs from brush and prickly plants, your shooting socks should go up to the knee. They are generally made out of a wool and nylon mix to keep you warm, and stretch easily. You can get these in a variety of patterns and colors, but I recommend starting with a simple solid-color pair to match the hues in your tweed jacket.
- Tweed breeches. The breeches for hunting are a little different than your typical pair of slacks. They generally sit two or four inches below the knee and can be made out of a fabric that either matches or contrasts with your jacket.
- A shooting shirt that fits your personal style. A shooting shirt looks a lot like a dress shirt, but it offers more breathability and room for you to move. These shirts are made in a variety of colors, but I am a fan of a classic white version.
- Suspenders. Every pair of trousers must be held up somehow. In hunting attire, suspenders are the traditional method. Proper hunting suspenders are made of box cloth and are heartier and sturdier than a dressier suspender.
- Wellington boots. Ever hear someone refer to their “Wellies”? These are a popular type of waterproof footwear called Wellington boots. They were originally leather, but are now more commonly made of rubber. Pick a pair that suits your style.
- The right waistcoat. A waistcoat is that vest-looking piece with buttons that goes under your jacket. You shouldn’t wear just any waistcoat for hunting. You will want to choose a hunting-specific one with baggier pockets perfect for holding ammunition or other gear you may need to stash. Pick a waistcoat made of wool if you will be hunting in cooler weather.
- A well-fitting tweed jacket. If the weather is warmer, stick to your waistcoat alone. But if you need another layer for your day, add a tweed jacket that fits you well.
- The perfect cap to top it all off. No sporting look is complete without the perfect headwear. The common choice for hunting today is a baseball cap, but a classier alternative is the tweed flat cap. It will still protect you from the sun but will also coordinate well with the rest of your ensemble.
- A fluorescent touch. Although not the classiest color, be sure to wear something fluorescent orange or pink while hunting. Maryland law requires that you do. Add a brightly colored bandana or opt for a ribbon tied to your hat.
Some may read this and feel this is a far cry from the hunting ensemble you are accustomed to. But I’m on a mission to help today’s gentleman achieve higher style. Try out this classier version and I can assure you, you will look great with just as much functionality as someone wearing more common hunting attire.
Judah Estreicher is the CEO of JBD Clothiers in Baltimore. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org