I am an outsider. I was not born into shooting, and I had to learn things the hard way: getting judged in the club when I wore my Barbour jackets (because hey, they were cool for the city and looked more like a countryside thing) but when I arrived to the club and everybody told me I couldn't shoot with a Barbour jacket which had buttons near the shoulders because it would hurt, I felt completely stupid thinking I had planned my shooting outfit for nothing.
So if you know of someone who has never been shooting or hunting, and asks you for tips on what to wear for a shoot, it might be a good idea to share this article with them so you can spare them a Barbour Jacket button bruise on the right shoulder.
After being completely immerse in the hunting and clay shooting world for almost a year, I have learnt the importance of dressing accordingly for each occasion, and not for the sake of not being judged, because, who cares of what people think, right? but more for the sake of being comfortable when shooting. This sport is not about the looks, but more about staying warm, dry and being able to swing through and shoot comfortably.
However I found some tricks to look fantastic when shooting, and now that I have been working with a large number of brands, I will tell you a couple of secrets I use to shoot comfortably and look great at the same time!
CITY RETAILERS LIKE ZARA OR H&M ARE MY LITTLE SECRET
Dare to mix: the shooting industry is already quite old fashioned, so don't be afraid to wear a pair of chinos, or suede leather leggings from Zara or H&M.
Speaking for myself, I hate when you go skiing and you meet someone dressed up in the latest Moncler or Kjus outfit, from toe to helmet, and then he is still practicing the wedge position. So the last thing you want to do is look like a world champion when you don't even know how to mount. Don't spend too much money on clothes for something you don't even know if you are going to like, and as a last resource, a pair of jeans is ok.
I have received many compliments from ladies at the club who only wear hunting gear and tweed, and they always ask me where I buy my trousers, so when I tell them that I buy them in Zara, they never believe me. The first thing people do when they have a shoot or a clay shooting lesson is to go on the first hunting website they find and buy extremely expensive clothes, which are great, but only if you are really going to use them. So if you are not that sure, there are options in normal retailers that can make you look great as well as comfortable.
If your first lesson takes place in a cold season, I recommend you to wear an extra layer underneath your jeans, Zara leggings or chinos: I normally wear brown or green leotards underneath during winter, or a pair of Underarmour running leggings. During autumn when it is still not that cold, I wear a pair of Calzedonia invisible thighs, just to add that extra layer in case it gets windy. Some examples for your perusal:
BOOTS ARE YOUR BEST ALLIE:
They not only keep you warm and safe from ticks in the countryside, but also, if worn in the right way, boots can make you look taller and thinner. Especially if they are riding or tall-monteria boots.
Now, here there is no cheap option as none of the big retailers can provide you with the quality you need to be comfortable, warm and stay dry.
In a shooting competition or during a very warm summer, you are fine with a pair of sneakers, those you probably use when you go for a walk in the park, however, and personally speaking, I always prefer to wear boots as my husband had a bad experience with a tick and I'd rather not risk it, so if I can, I would always wear boots, except when I compete, where I would wear sneakers.
I have tried many brands of boots: Hunter, Valverde del Camino and many others, but so far, if I had to pick one brand, I would choose Rey Pavón. The reason why, is firstly because the way they cut them makes you taller and thinner (they cut them right where the knee starts and they are higher on the external side of the knee) they are also comfortable and they are also considered the best boot manufacturer in Spain by leather experts worldwide. Here is an example of my favourite Rey Pavón boots which my husband bought me last Christmas:
SHIRTS ARE ALL ABOUT THE DETAILS
I rarely use t-shirts, as I am not a t-shirt person, but if you are, then summer is fantastic to shoot with a t-shirt, just beware of the sun marks!
For your first shooting day, especially if you go to a members club, you might probably have to adhere to some sort of "etiquette" so check with the club first (normally they say what the required shooting attire is in their website) and they might probably recommend you to wear a shirt. My favourite ones are Ralph Lauren shirts, so easy to wash at high temperatures and so versatile: if you have an event after the shoot, you don't need to get changed, they go so well for the city, you can probably keep wearing it.
My preference will always be light blue as it goes well with everything, especially tweed which normally tends to be green and brown, and even with professional net shooting vests:
And The best compliment to a shirt will be a turtle neck for the winter or a deep blue sweater, you can't go wrong with those and they are still allowing you to shoot comfortably and swing through when you shoot.
On top of that you might probably want to wear a vest and since it is your first time shooting, you might probably not have a shooting vest, so a good alternative would be to wear a feather vest with no embellishments and nothing that can get fastened to the stock when you shoot, this is a good example of a vest I used when I started shooting and still didn't have a shooting vest:
Finally, don't forget to take with you hearing protection, which you can probably find in the 3M Peltor website, a pair of safety glasses and a cap.
Good luck in your first shooting day and if it is not your first shooting day and follow me on instagram, you now know my little secrets to combine tweed with Zara's latest fashion! I leave you with this season's picks for shooting fashion at an affordable price which you can also wear at work (click on the pictures to buy them online):
All the best!