Top 5 Ladies Hunting Clothes Essentials
For centuries the sport of hunting was off limits to most women, with all except the very wealthy unable to take part, but as times changed fashions caught up very quickly. While rigid social structures kept women from hunting alongside men in Europe, the expansion of empire and the realities of frontier life in the Americas and Africa meant women often had to take an active part in providing food for the family, and many hunted alongside the men. Famous women who stalked and killed quarry in the American West and India like Annie Oakley, Agnes Herbert and Lady Catherine Jenkins became household names, and the idea of women joining men on the hunt became much more acceptable by the late Victorian period. The clothes they wore were often just adapted versions of their existing outdoorwear, but as the practice increased and canny tailors caught on, soon the women’s hunting attire business was booming.
So, history lesson over, if you’re a woman looking to get into hunting or an existing hunter that wants to smarten up their wardrobe, what are the essentials you really need? Let’s take a look.
A variety of footwear can be worn when hunting, depending on the conditions and the type of terrain. Typically hunters wear boots, but smaller calf boots can be worn or full length riding boots if the hunter will be riding a horse. Brogues are the traditional footwear of the hunter, originally designed to allow water to drain out when hunting in marshy areas, but today you’re just as likely to see female hunters wearing wellington boots as anything else.
Breeks, or Breeches, are one of the most well known traditional garments worn by hunters of both sexes, designed to ensure range of movement in the wearer and to allow the wearer to put on full knee length boots. Plus Fours (Or Plus Twos, as they can also be known) feature fabric that falls four (or two) inches below the knee. At Barrington Ayre they are made from high quality Harris Tweed, which has the advantage of being both highly waterproof and very breathable, thanks to its tight weave but natural fibres. The Breeks we create can be made from plain or patterned Tweed of a variety of weights, from 14oz to 18oz and heavier up to 25oz, depending on the weather and the type of hunt. They can be created in any of the 3,000 styles of Tweed in our fabric library, and can be fitted with a 100% ventile cotton lining to make the garment even more water resistant.
The waistcoat is another garment with a long history in the hunt, originally adapted from men’s waistcoats traditionally worn as a fashion accessory, but made more useful for hunting purposes with the addition of bigger pockets for carrying tools and ammunition. They are also a very handy opportunity to show off your fashion sense, and can also be created from over 3,000 types of Tweed and in innumerable patterns and colours. More practically, waistcoats are useful because they give you more options when it comes to your layers, crucial for keeping warm or cool, and allow you to remove outer garments while still keeping your core nice and warm. Highly waterproof and very breathable, Tweed is the perfect material for high performing hunting garments.
Modern female hunters wear all kinds of clothing, including blazers and bespoke Tweed jackets, but a particularly popular choice is the Field Coat because it pulls off a fine balance between practicality and fashion. The Field Coats and womens hunt coats we make at Barrington Ayre are quilt lined for added comfort and warmth, and can be customised with different linings as well as different patterns and styles so that you can have exactly the item of clothing that you wanted. Field coats are also excellent at keeping you warm and safe while you’re out hunting, and can be made from heavy Tweed that is thorn proof for when you’re moving through brush. They come with several pockets to make it easier to carry tools and ammunition on your hunt, and the fine details such as the piping and pattern can be customised, so you can make every element just as you want it.
Hunting hats are the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating practical and stylish bespoke hunting clothing, because they can provide both comfort and practical benefits that are hard to ignore. Traditional styles such as flat caps and deerstalkers help provide camouflage benefits, and also allow women to cover their hair with them so it isn’t caught in bushes and thorns. They also help keep the head warm and dry, particularly made from Harris Tweed. This allows the wearer to customise it as they see fit, including the pattern from a choice of 3,000 as well as the lining and other fine details.
Women’s hunting clothing is varied and stylish, allowing the discerning wearer to create virtually unlimited types of clothing to achieve whatever look or practical purpose they have in mind. The biggest considerations are the ones that will keep you warm and comfortable while out on the hunt, and the use of waterproof but breathable fabrics are perfect for preventing your clothing from becoming hot and uncomfortable. It’s also necessary to consider how you want your clothes to look, and because it’s so easy to customise anything, you can add anything from a bespoke estate Tweed to a particular colour lining.
The most important thing to choose is your tailor, because the quality of the garment depends so much on how well it fits. The best designed clothes move with your body and fit well enough to be a second skin, which is how you get the best out of anything you wear. It’s more comfortable, allows you to hunt for longer, and prevents you from getting to hot or too cold no matter the weather. Choosing Barrington Ayre guarantees all these things, and ensures you’ll have a garment you can wear and enjoy for years to come.
In addition, if you're planning to go on hunting expeditions with your other half, we also offer men's hunt clothing why not check out our men's hunt coat.