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How to dress for the Glorious Twelfth

Have you been invited to a Glorious Twelfth event? Not sure what to wear for this historic seasonal sport? Read on for our advice on how to put together the perfect British hunting gentleman’s outfit.

What it The Glorious Twelfth and when does it start?

 The Glorious Twelfth is a shooting event held every year in Great Britain and Ireland. Shooting enthusiasts come together to hunt firstly for grouse, and then for pheasants and other game later in the season. The event starts on the 12th of August and lasts for 121 days, ending on the 10th of December. However, an eccentric rule holds that shooters call a ‘cease-fire’ once a week so birds can’t be shot on a Sunday.

The Glorious Twelfth began in 1853 when hunters would search for the treasured red grouse, the most expensive bird at the time. Grouse, regarded as the “King” of game birds, are highly prized owing to the short time they are in season and the incredible speeds at which they fly. Grouse can rocket across the moors at speeds of up to 70 miles an hour often keeping relatively low to the ground.

Why is it called the Glorious Twelfth?

The 12th of August is a sacred date, described by some as the ‘New Year’s Day of hunting’ as it marks the start of the 121-day grouse shooting season – and is hence named the ‘Glorious Twelfth’.

What do I wear for the Glorious Twelfth?

 The attire for the Glorious Twelfth is still very traditional – a rural uniform of sorts. Think tweed, breeches, checked shirts and caps: you’ll need a variety of pieces including a tweed jacket, trousers, tie, waistcoat and coat.

How to dress for the Glorious Twelfth Alexandra Wood

The weather varies year to year (no surprises there, we are in the UK), and with the season spanning from mid-summer to winter, you will need clothing that transitions with the seasons accordingly.

The aim of the game (pardon the pun) is to blend in with your surroundings so that you’re not visible to the blissfully unaware birds. Therefore, tonal colours of the summer grasslands such as rich greens, browns and mustards will be your go-to colours.

Most shooting wear is somewhat heavy as it is usually made with tweeds and waxed fabrics to meet the rigours of the outdoors. However, we offer made-to-measure and ready-to-wear solutions that use lighter weight fabrics, making you more agile when shooting.

Shooting jacket

The shooting jacket comes from a broader family of jackets known as ‘sports jackets’ or ‘sports coats’. There are three common types of sports coat: the shooting jacket, the hacking jacket, and the sports blazer. While the shooting jacket is worn for shooting and hunting, the hacking jacket is worn for horseback riding, and blazers are worn for either casual or formal occasions.

A shooting jacket is mainly worn for hunting, clay shooting and other shooting sports. The shooting jacket is a traditional piece of practical country attire and differs from a classic sports jacket as follows:

  • The jacket features a unique cut within the shoulder area and the lateral area, which allows for movement in the shoulders to give you flexibility when aiming and positioning your rifle. A traditional jacket would restrict movement whereas a good shooting jacket will allow for this extra movement to help you hit super speedy, high flying targets.
  • A shooting jacket features useful, large front pockets (billows pockets) which help to accommodate your cartridges. The pockets are deep enough to ensure your rounds don’t fall out and wide enough to allow for easy accessibility.
  • Some shooting jackets are padded on the shoulder where the rifle is balanced.

Two-piece shooting suit

Experienced shooters who attend the Glorious Twelfth annually own shooting suits made of four or five pieces; however, you’ll still look the part with a two-piece suit.

Tweed is the usual fabric choice for shooting creations as it is durable, warm and the autumnal, natural tones help keep you camouflaged in the woods. The cut is simple with straight, clean lines and little embellishment.

Wear your two-piece shooting suit with a white shirt that carries a subtle checked pattern in a sporting cut for ease of movement.

Gilet / shooting waistcoat / shooting vest

Ideal for a hot day, this comfortable sleeveless jacket allows you to store your shooting essentials (and a flask of something to quench your thirst) within easy reach. Gilets are perfect for hunting as they don’t restrict your arms and, as the season progresses to winter, you can add more layers for extra warmth.

Styles range from quite formal (similar to a standard suit waistcoat), through to sporty with plenty of pockets. They can be produced in tweed or moleskin (or a combination of the two) and may have a suede patch on the shoulder.

Wax jacket/coat

This heavy coat keeps you warm during winter shooting when you’re spending long hours outdoors in the cold, often damp weather. The waxed fabric protects you from the elements, the large pockets make accessing cartridges easy and collars that button up high keep out the wind. Every country gent owns one.

The best part is taking this coat off at the end of the day to sit by the fire with a dram of something warm.


Breeches, breeks or Plus 4s (so-called as they reach four inches below the knee) are a short trouser that gives you plenty of room to move while saving your hems from dragging in mud or watery marshes. These are traditionally paired with knitted socks with a tasselled garter.

By pairing your breeches with a matching shooting jacket, shirt and tie, you won’t look like a newspaper boy from the cast of Newsies.


Once you have the main components of your outfit – coat, jacket, vest, shirt, and trousers – you can complete your shooting outfit with these accessories.

  • Tweed flat cap – it doesn’t have to match the tweed used on your suit but should be in the same tones.
  • Knitted socks with tasselled garter – these will keep your toes and legs warm, and the tassel is a customary flourish.
  • Brogues – generally leather brogues are the shoe of choice; however, the weather will play a significant role in deciding which footwear you choose.
  • Knitted or patterned tie – choose a colour that is in keeping with the tones in your chosen tweed.
  • A pure wool jumper – a lambswool or merino jumper can be layered over your shirt for extra warmth.

Once you’ve got your shooting suit, coat and accessories, putting the outfit together is rather easy. And, if designed well, the tweed jacket can be worn the rest of the year with dark jeans or trousers.

You can have your shooting jacket or suit made-to-measure with us book an appointment, and we’ll help you get suited and booted for your Glorious Twelfth outing.

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