Dear Uncle Giles...
Putting your mind at rest concerning issues in the field and beyond.
Dear Uncle Giles,
In the shooting press and in conversation much is made of the correct attire in which to shoot game. Perhaps the neck tie a must for a majority, but what say you to the cravat please? C.S. by email
Uncle Giles writes
It is the nature of game shooting to be formal. Pest control: informal. Pigeons over decoys: informal. Wildfowling below the highwater mark in a howling gale with some sleet in its teeth: wear whatever is necessary. driven game shooting: formal. And in a formal situation you should dress appropriately.
royal Ascot: morning coat and black top hat. Evening dress: swallow- tail coat and stiff shirt. black tie: dinner jacket.
Yet within even these prescribed areas there are opportunities for a dash of individualism to emerge. A black morning coat, for example, is usually paired with striped trousers, but for the daring there are — or can be — checks. Even in a stiff shirt and white waistcoat there is the possibility to add your diamond and pearl studs and, perhaps, the rose gold watchchain with a matching tiger’s head fob with emerald eyes.
A white tuxedo — especially in the summer — or a doublebreasted faded claret velvet smoking jacket among friends of an autumn evening, does not, in my view, go amiss.
And, yes, a tie is generally regarded as a requirement for a driven day and I would not disagree. but I would venture that a tightly bound paisley necker or a neatly tied square of elaborately patterned Asian silk — secured with a pearl stud or a plain gold hunting stock pin in a nod to our mounted brothers and sisters of la chasse — would be perfectly acceptable.
The misgivings that some harbour against the cravat is that it can be worn loose; unknotted and unfettered; and a chap who dresses loose might just shoot loose, which is unsettling for others in the line. Hence my emphasis on your neckwear being properly tied and secured.
dress neat, shoot neat and don’t upset the neighbours — that’s the ticket.