A good pair of breeks are an essential piece of your shooting wardrobe, especially if you’ve been invited on a formal shoot. Our How To guide will help you avoid a faux pas in the field, ensuring you’re a perky peacock rather than a sodden shrinking violet.
HOW TO WEAR BREEKS
Breeks are cut to finish below the knee. Any longer, they’re trousers and, any shorter…. they’re shorts. They are this length for a reason and most will have an adjustable buckle or Velcro strap at the hem to allow for a tailored, comfortable fit. They should be worn with a pair of shooting socks.
Steer clear of trainer socks and ankle socks because, apart from looking ridiculous, the breeks and shooting socks should come together to create a watertight seal. In other words, if it rains, water will run off the breeks at the knee and prevent water or mud soaking your legs.
In the spirit of all great debates, from county pasty-offs to whether jam or cream should go first on a scone, country circles continue to debate whether shooting socks should be worn over or under your breeks.
Traditionalists favour wearing shooting socks over the breeks, even if the breeks have a buckle or Velcro strap, pulling the sock over the bottom of the breek up to the knee with the sock folded back down on itself. It’s advisable to wear a garter (not of the frilly variety) which should be tied neatly to create a snug join before turning over the cuff of the sock (you should see several inches of garter tassel outside the sock).
Breeks are cut more generously around the knee for added flexibility but make sure your breeks are loose enough to stop them pulling away from your socks and riding up when bending your knee.
They will have belt loops so you can add a belt if required and, because it can often be uneven or slippery underfoot, you’ll need a sturdy pair of rubber field boots to wear with your breeks. Banish any thoughts of trainers or flip flops from your mind.
WEARING BREEKS WITH CORRECT SHOOTING ATTIRE
At a formal driven shoot, it’s traditional for both men and women to wear a three-piece tweed suit including tweed breeks. The tweed breeks don’t necessarily have to match your jacket or coat but should be in a complementary coloured tweed. Even on a walked-up, or less formal shoot, breeks are still a good option with many guns favouring moleskin or cotton options.
Breeks come in a range of fabrics, from classic tweed to more technical performance fabrics, plain cotton and moleskin - if you come across a velvet pair, then you’ve fallen asleep and woken up in 1980. If you’re choosing tweed, make sure they are fully lined with cotton to wick any sweat away from your body and keep you, and your fellow guns, comfortable in the field.