A made to measure suit in tweed is on every Gun's wish list. Here's where to get yours made.
Inheriting a pair of Purdeys or a grouse moor? That would certainly delight most keen Shots. But most Shots would rather wear shooting suits made to measure, created from personally chosen cloth than inherit great-grandfather’s old tweeds (think moth-eaten, ripped linings, mysterious stains).
Shooting suits made to measure
If you’re after luxury, style and comfort (not to mention envious and admiring glances when you’re out in the field), then you need to get yourself to a master tailor and have a bespoke shooting tweed suit made for you. Breeks, waistcoat, gilet, jacket and a shooting coat or cape. (Have a look at our list of best tweed shooting coats if you’re in a hurry and need something right now.)
There’s nothing like experiencing the thrill of selecting the cloth, the trimming, the linings – and knowing shooting suits made to measure will fit you like a glove. (Find out more about what to wear shooting.)
As a keen Shot explained to us: “The cut, comfort and style is just so much better than off the peg. If one looks good, one feels good and hence one is confident and shoots better. I have another suit from Stewart Christie currently being made – it’s crucial to have a number of suits when on a shooting trip.”
Fit and finish
Have a bespoke shooting suit made and you can ask for pockets to be put where you wish and of a size that fits whatever you want to hold.
An expert master tailor who understands shooting garb will also know how to fit a shooting jacket so that you can swing the gun with ease.
Even if you don’t have the physique of David Gandy, a clever cutter will make it look as though you’re not far off – enhancing your best features and disguising those you’d rather forget.
Added to which you’ll get that quiet secret confidence which comes from knowing that your bespoke garb will pass muster when inspected by the most critical and traditionally-minded Gun. (Read how loud should your tweeds be?)
A rite of passage
That first visit to a tailor is a rite of passage, where you meet an expert who will look you up and down and know at a glance how to transform you into a perfectly dressed shooter.
Expect your subsequent fittings (because you’ll probably have three or even four) to heighten the anticipation until finally the day comes when you depart clutching a sartorial creation created just for you.
One is not enough
In fact, why stop at one suit? Far smarter (and extremely practical) to choose lightweight tweeds for early and late in the season and then something a little warmer to face those bleak winter winds.
Top-of-the-range bespoke tailoring
We asked some keen Shots who they would recommend for top-of-the-range bespoke tailoring and after careful consultation, we have created the following prestigious list (in no particular order).
First-time customers can expect a minimum of three visits to this historic tailor. The first is for taking measurements, choosing cloth and deciding on the style of garments. Follow-up visits ensure a perfect fit. Around twelve weeks later the final, finished garment is complete. Wearing Anderson & Sheppard means you’re dressing like royalty – they hold the Royal Warrant for the Prince of Wales.
What joy to actually walk into Savile Row, following in the footsteps of other Guns having shooting suits made to measure. Established in 1849, Huntsman was and still is a tailor to royalty, with Royal Warrants festooning the walls. The selection of tweeds on offer is mouthwatering and if that’s not enough, you can design your own signature tweed.
This Scottish house has been tailoring tweeds since 1858 and has dressed many an estate keeper and ghillie. It also has the Royal Warrant for Balmoral. Don’t expect anything in a hurry. A bespoke suit from Campbell’s of Beauly can take up to three months to create and a jacket will generally use up to 50 different pieces of fabric. Patience, patience. It will all be worth it. Campbells also recently opened a base in London, so you can be fitted there if you don’t have time to head up to Scotland.
Cumbria has a rich sporting tradition and the incumbent Michael W. Redmayne’s great-great grandfather Samuel Redmayne established his tailoring workroom in Wigton in 1868. “The comfort gained from wearing hand canvassed garments has to be experienced to be believed” says Michael. Redmayne will travel from their workroom to your home or office to take your fittings if you’re pushed for time.
Bonnie Prince Charlie was born in 1720 and Stewart Christie & Co was founded in the same year, making it the oldest bespoke tailor in Scotland. It’s also the second oldest business in Edinburgh and they’ve long since dressed the owners of Scottish family estates, so they know exactly the requirements for sporting tweeds.
What do Guns say about bespoke tweeds?
We asked a few stylish Guns of our acquaintance, who are devoted to wearing bespoke tweeds, what the difference is between bespoke and off the peg. As a gentlemen never reveals the name of his tailor, they have to remain anonymous, but here is what they said.
“Having had a suit made exactly for me, I could never go back to off-the-peg. Nothing else feels the same.”
“The nice thing about having a pair of breeks made is that even when you’re shooting terribly, you still know you’re dressed wonderfully.”