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Are you ready for the Glorious 12th?
Friday August 12th marks the start of the grouse shooting season in Great Britain. Known as the Glorious 12th, the well turned out sportsman will now be checking his wardrobe to see what ravages the moths have made since last year. While there's a place for 'shabby chic' on the grouse moor, and the British aristocracy are renowned for carrying off this particular look with effortless aplomb, the modern discerning shot will also have an eye on fashion, style, function and indeed comfort during long days on the tops. Not forgetting of course, that the concept of shooting garb is that of camouflage from the wily grouse.
So once you've ram-rodded your weapons, burnished your boots and run a curry-comb through the springer, why not pause awhile at Country Attire to see the very finest range of clothing and accessories for the country gentleman and his gentleman's gentleman (well someone's got to carry the other Purdey).
Let me see now; starting at the top we need a hat. Now look here, the grouse moor is no place to flaunt a baseball cap, bushman or hoodie (perish the thought) - it simply isn't done. What we need is a tweed flat cap. A Barbour Crieff, Eildon or a Sporting Tweed should be just the ticket.
Jackets and Coats come next. Now I know you may feel you cut a bit of a dash in your grandad's old army greatcoat, but again NO!! Bequeath it to one of your beaters, or better still the spaniel. The true moorland shot will be wearing tweed. This is what tweed was invented for, and at Country Attire we have a fine range with Barbour's New Sporting Range, which is both outstanding, and in stock right now. Among this range you'll find several jackets featuring Gore-Tex technology fabric, which is guaranteed to keep you dry and warm at the butts.(Americans NB: Butt - A stone or turf clad shallow depression in the moorland in which one attempts to shelter from the elements while awaiting the grouse). One can of course opt for the waxed jacket which are acceptable, but tweed is generally the fabric of choice. A nice Tattersall shirt and perhaps a waistcoat or gilet will complete the ensemble to perfection.
As in life, trousers can be an area where confusion can arise. Trews, Breeks, Plus-2s or Plus-4s - which should one choose? The answer, at least for the grouse moor shot is almost always - Breeks - These smart trousers extend to just below the knee and depending on how much they overhang one's socks can be either +2 (inches) or +4. They can come in tweed, moleskin or corduroy but tweed is again the fabric of choice. Do remember, the last person who wore denim on the grouse moor, beaters included, never left the moor....!
And then we have footwear. The breeks work perfectly with a HUNTER wellington boot and their Balmoral range is designed specifically for these days. Comfortable to wear all day long, good to walk the rugged tussocks of heather and of course totally dry. Hiking boots are frowned on, and do remember that the more 'sudden' colours of welly widely available (even here at Country Attire), can scare the grouse and vex one's gillies, although lady shots wearing 'shiney' wellington boots in muted colours have been tolerated in recent years.
Only one's pockets to stuff now, and a hip flask from HUNTER's Balmoral leather range, a couple of Barbour tartan hankerchiefs, a pair of gloves complete the look. The former item of course, should be brimming with Laphroaig 15 year old single malt, to restrict the quaffing quotient to single figures.
And finally, having aquired this range of superb garments from the cream of British tailoring, one might feel ever so slightly NEW? A bit unsullied, clean even - new to the field? The answer here is to don one's new gear, drive to where the grouse moor meets the tarmac, walk a hundred yards or so from the road to the first peat bog, and cast oneself enthusiastically into it. One can involve the dog in this endeavour too, as they seem to understand the process and can join in the sullying with gusto. Then, having previously draped the car with protective sheets, return home and hang the complete ensemble in the garage until dry. Finally beat and brush the garments until nearly clean and return the impressively distressed items to your wardrobe pending the Glorious 12th, whence you will feel enormously at home.