Free Web Hosting Provider - Web Hosting - E-commerce - High Speed Internet - Free Web Page
Search the Web

ATTIRE - Foxhunting in Virginia
Foxhunting in Ol' Virginny
Proper Attire & Appointments
Menu
General
Ratcatcher
Formal Attire
Colors
What & When
Tieing a Stock Tie
Matrix of Options

I stole this stuff from the Bull Run Hunt Members' Handbook. It describes what "proper" means when it comes to the Best Turned-Out Award, but there's good practical advice in here, too. Practical, sanctioned, and tolerated exceptions are quite common in the real world, of course. Your local hunt may do things differently, so it's best to check with your MFH on these kind of things. However, this page might answer a few questions (or prompt a panic call to your local appointments maven).



TOP | GENERAL | RATCATCHER | FORMAL | COLORS | WHEN | STOCK TIE | MATRIX

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

Hunt caps should fit well regardless of whether they have a harness or not. Ribbons on the backs of hunt caps should always be sewn up, unless one is either professional hunt staff or a Master. Long hair is best contained in a hair net.

Ideally, each rider should wear spurs and carry a hunt whip with a thong. The thong may be dropped to ward off the approach of a hound, but it should never be used otherwise, unless requested by staff. It may also be of emergency use to staff who may break theirs. If a hunt whip cannot be safely carried, a rider should at least carry a crop (not a racing bat); but it should never be carried in one's boot. A rider should also carry wire cutters on the saddle; but a holster, cell phone, or radio should be carried only with a Master's permission. Saddle flasks, sandwich cases, fence tools, holsters, camera cases, etc. should be unobtrusive and made of leather. Keep gee-gaws to a minimum.

Coats should remain buttoned while a rider is mounted. Sunglasses are frowned upon in some circles, because they are incongruous with the timeless image of the traditional dress. Fancy jewelry and perfume are inappropriate. As a nod to practicality, authentic-looking rubber riding boots are tolerated.

Hunting tack is simply that which is most appropriate for the job: plain and strong. Bridles, reigns, and stirrup leathers cut from a heavier pattern are more dependable in the hunt field. It must be clean, serviceable, and reliable. Check girth, reins, and stirrup leathers frequently. Breast plates are a good idea, both for the comfort of the horse and the added safety of the rider.

With respect for the overall visual picture, the less correctly turned out riders should remain in the rear of the field.



TOP | GENERAL | RATCATCHER | FORMAL | COLORS | WHEN | STOCK TIE | MATRIX

RATCATCHER

Informal dress, known as ratcatcher, is usually worn during autumn hunting (cub hunting) prior to opening meet. Ratcatcher may also be worn for informal meets during the regular season.

Ladies

Ladies wear a tweed coat or hacking jacket; natural-colored (buff or tan, but never white) breeches; shirt and colored tie or ratcatcher shirt with collar and stock pin; tattersall vest; brown leather gloves; brown or black field boots; and hunt cap or derby with a hat cord.

Gentlemen

Gentlemen wear a tweed coat or hacking jacket; natural-colored (buff or tan, but never white) breeches; shirt and colored tie; tattersall vest; brown leather gloves; brown or black field boots; and hunt cap or derby with a hat cord.

Juniors

Juniors wear a tweed coat or hacking jacket; natural-colored (buff or tan, but never white) breeches with tall black boots or jodhpurs with brown jodhpur boots; shirt and colored tie or ratcatcher shirt with collar; tattersall vest; brown leather gloves; and either a black velvet hunting cap with a harness or a ASTM safety helmet with a harness & black cover.

FORMAL

Formal dress is a bit more complex. There are a few traditional cuts of hunt coats which, to a degree, dictate the rest of the dress. The two most common cuts are the Melton and frock coats.

Melton Coat. The Melton is cut much like a traditional sport coat. It has plain black buttons and should be worn with natural-colored (buff or tan, but never white) breeches; a white shirt; white hunting or stock tie with a plain gold stock pin worn horizontally; tattersall or canary vest with plain brass buttons; black boots without tops (not field boots); brown leather or white string gloves; and a black velvet hunt cap or derby with a hat cord.

Frock Coat. The classic traditional hunting coat is the frock coat which is identified by its long skirts and a seam about the waist. Historically, it is the gentleman's coat, so the corresponding dress is a bit more formal. With a black frock coat (which anyone is entitled to wear) a gentleman must wear white breeches; black boots with brown or colored tops; and a black velvet hunt cap or a silk top hat with hat cord (not a derby). Garters, although rarely seen these days, are correct with top boots and should be the color of the breeches. The skirts of the frock coat should be fully rounded in front, except for hunt staff who have them squared off. Frock coats should have three buttons in front except for staff, who wear five buttons, or a Master not riding up with staff, who wears four buttons. One whistle pocket is proper. The rest of the dress is the same as with a Melton coat.

Ladies

Ladies wear a black frock coat or Melton coat with plain black buttons. A lady will wear a canary or tattersall waistcoat; a white shirt with a white stock tie and a horizontal gold pin; buff or tan britches of twill, cord, or leather; wash or brown leather gloves; and regular hunting spurs high on the heel. Boots will be of black calf without tops -- tabs are sewn in but not sewn down. Ladies do not wear white breeches, or brown boot tops. With a Melton or a frock coat, ladies wear either a black velvet hunting cap or a black derby with hat cord.

Gentlemen

Gentleman wear a black frock coat or Melton coat with plain black buttons. A gentleman will also wear a canary or tattersall waistcoat; a white shirt with white stock tie and horizontal gold pin; wash or brown leather gloves and heavy-pattern hunting spurs high on the heel. Tabs on the boots are sewn in, not sewn down.

  • With a Melton coat, gentleman wear buff or tan britches of twill, cord, or leather and either a black velvet hunting cap or a black derby with hat cord. Boots will be of black calf without boot tops.
  • With a frock coat, gentleman wear white britches of twill, cord, or leather and either a black velvet hunting cap or a black silk hat with hat cord. Boots are of black calf with brown or colored leather tops.

Juniors

It is not necessary for juniors to wear formal attire. They may wear a black or dark-colored Melton coat with plain black buttons. A junior will also wear a canary or tattersall waistcoat; a white shirt with white stock tie and horizontal gold pin; buff or tan britches or jodhpurs; wash or brown leather gloves; and regular hunting spurs high on the heel. Juniors will wear either a black velvet hunting cap with a harness or a ASTM safety helmet with a harness and black cover.

  • With breeches, black butcher boots (tall, without tops) are worn.
  • With jodhpurs, black or brown jodhpur boots are worn.

COLORS

"Colors" is a term which applies to the hunt uniform or livery -- the hunt-peculiar color on the formal coat's collar and buttons with the hunt insignia. The privilege of wearing the hunt uniform (i.e. "ENTITLED to wear colors" or "awarded one's colors") can been granted only by a Master. This is done in recognition of a member's demonstrated responsibility and ability in the hunting field as well as for their continued loyal support of the hunt outside of the hunt field.

Once a member is entitled to wear their hunt's colors and buttons, gentlemen generally change to a red frock coat with hunt colors on the collar and with brass buttons with the hunt insignia. Ladies wear the hunt colors on a black coat's collar, have the insignia on black buttons, and may have black patent leather tops on their dress boots. Many hunts allow ladies to wear midnight blue coats once entitled. Small brass buttons with the hunt insignia may also be worn on the waistcoat.

Colors and scarlet coats are worn on a formal day when hunting with one's own hounds (including joint meets) wherever that may be. Wearing colors is never assumed when hunting with another pack. Visitors should wear black or seek permission from the host Master to wear their colors.

Ladies

The hunt uniform for BRH ladies entitled to wear colors consists of a black coat with a Confederate-gray collar, black buttons with the BRH insignia, and black patent-leather boot tops.

Gentlemen

The hunt uniform for BRH gentlemen consists of a red/scarlet frock coat with Confederate-gray collar and brass buttons with the BRH insignia. Given the currently available off-the-rack coat styles, a four-button front and additional pockets are tolerable; but a five-button front is appropriate only for a Master or Staff. Gentlemen may also wear a black frock or Melton coat with black buttons with the hunt insignia.

Evening dress for BRH comprises a scarlet tail-coat with Confederate-gray silk lapel facings, gray piping on the collar, and brass buttons with the BRH insignia. Evening dress is optional at the BRH hunt ball, and it is appropriate at other hunt balls when invited to wear it.

WHAT TO WEAR WHEN

"Colors" (scarlet coat, collar colors, buttons with hunt insignia) should not be worn unless invited by a Master to do so.

Formal hunting attire is always proper and is never considered over-dressed. Formal hunting attire will be worn at weekend, holiday, and joint meets.

Ratcatcher attire is acceptable for other weekday meets and for cub-hunting.



TOP | GENERAL | RATCATCHER | FORMAL | COLORS | WHEN | STOCK TIE | MATRIX

THE STOCK TIE

The stock tie is a very useful part of a fox-hunter's kit. It can be used as bandage, sling, tourniquet, headlight reflector when hung behind at night, etc.

Place the mid point just below your Adam's apple. Run both sides around the back of your neck (for a slotted tie, run one side through the slot -- for an un-slotted tie, twist one side near the crossing point so it runs flat against your neck) then to your front . Tie a square knot, but not too tight. Cross the ends and arrange everything neatly to cover the part of your shirt front which is not covered by the waistcoat. Keep this work of art in place by inserting large, plain, gold-colored safety pin through both sides and the shirt, horizontally, just below the knot. Pin the flapping ends to your shirt unobtrusively.

tieing a stock tie

Tiein' One'a Them There Stock Ties Fer Real

I reckon some of y'all read that there paragraph above; an' you studied that there cute "how-to" cartoon; but yer still too danged thick, no offense, to figger out how to tie one'a them stock ties. Well, a very purty lady asked me how to do it, once; an' I'm always ready to oblige, so here's what I did.

"Watch me," I tells 'er. "Here, hold it like this. No, like this here. Okay, now put the center up to your adam's apple an' swing them ends 'round like, oops... like this here, see? Okay. Now, iff'n you got one'a them slotted ties, put the long end through the slot. No, no, dagnabbit! Not like that! Like this! Jeeze! Iff'n you got one'a them things without a slot, twist one side as it comes 'round yer neck so it lays flat agin' yer neck. Gooood! Okay, now listen hard. You got them ends hanging down your front, across your... ah... chest. Nah, don't worry none 'bout getting them ends even, the waistcoat'll cover 'em. Now, tie a square knot. No, a SQUARE knot, you danged fool, not one'a them grannies! Look here, consarn it, like this, okay? Dang it, woman, pay attention! Aw, fer cryin' out loud, quit fiddlin' with it. Okay, good. Now, fluff-up that there knot 'til it looks purty good, then tighten it an' re-fluff it. Yeah, that's it. Now fold them ends across like a X 'til you got a... no! you durned fool, like this! Okay, that's a darned sight better. Now, put the pin horizontal-like just below the knot and through one flap... good... then through yer shirt... careful, now... Dagnabbit it, I told you to be careful! Yeah, soda water'll get it out. Then the other flap... No! HORIZONTAL! ya durned idjut... yeah, like the horizon. Now, pin them flappin' ends to yer shirt... right, safety pins, good idea, Sherlock. Oh, of all the... Here, lemme do it... Oops... sorry. Look, it was a accident!" Man, try to help a lady an'... nevermind.

Hope this helps some.



TOP | GENERAL | RATCATCHER | FORMAL | COLORS | WHEN | STOCK TIE | MATRIX

MATRIX OF TURNOUT OPTIONS

This is based on Bull Run Hunt's use of "proper" for their Best-Turned-Out Award -- other hunts may do it differently. Note the absence of comments on shadbelly, sidesaddle, or tack.

MASTER & STAFF GENTLEMAN LADY JUNIOR
COAT Frock coat:
scarlet,
square-cornered,
whistle pocket,
5 brass buttons 
w/ hunt insignia,
hunt's color on collar.
Frock coat: 
black,
rounded skirts,
3 plain black buttons.
-or-
Melton Coat:
black,
3 plain black buttons.
Frock coat:
black,
rounded skirts,
3 plain black buttons.
-or-
Melton Coat:
black,
3 plain black buttons.
Melton Coat:
black or dark,
black buttons.
If Entitled:
Scarlet Frock coat, 
rounded skirts,
3 brass buttons 
w/ hunt insignia,
hunt's color on collar.
If Entitled:
black Frock or Melton coat,
3 black or silver buttons 
w/ hunt insignia,
hunt's color on collar.
Ratcatcher: 
tweed coat or hacking jacket.
Ratcatcher:
tweed coat or hacking jacket.
VEST Yellow or tattersall cloth, 
brass buttons.
Same as Master. Same as Master. Same as Lady or
Gentleman.
If Entitled:
small brass hunt buttons.
If Entitled:
small silver hunt buttons.
BREECHES White leather, cord, twill, or 
other suitable material.
w/ Frock coat (scarlet or black): 
white breeches must be worn.
w/ Melton Coat
buff or tan.
Buff or tan,
cord, twill, or leather.
Buff or tan breeches
-or- 
Jodhpurs.
Ratcatcher:
natural color (not white).
Ratcatcher:
natural color.
SHIRT &
NECKWEAR
White shirt, plain stock tie,
plain gold safety pin 
worn horizontally.
Same as Master. Same as Master. Same as Master.
Ratcatcher:
shirt & tie 
-or-
colored stock tie.
Ratcatcher:
ratcatcher shirt 
w/ collar & stock pin 
-or-
shirt & tie
-or-
colored stock tie.
Ratcatcher:
same as Lady.
HAT Black velvet hunt cap,
ribbons down for masters 
& professionals only.
Black velvet hunt cap,
ribbons up
-or-
w/ Frock coat (scarlet or black):
silk hat & hat cord
w/ Melton Coat:
derby & hat cord.
Black velvet hunt cap,
ribbons up
-or-
derby & hat cord.
Black hunt cap 
w/ harness
-or-
ASTME safety helmet,
harness & black cover.
GLOVES Heavy wash leather 
-or-
brown leather.
Same as Master. Same as Master. Same as Master.
Rain gloves:
white or colored string.
FOOTWEAR Black calf boots,
brown or colored tops 
sewn on boot,
tabs sewn on but 
not sewn down to tops.
w/ Frock coat:
same as Master.
w/ Melton Coat:
black boots w/out tops.
Same as Gentleman, 
except tops are of 
patent leather.
w/ Breeches
black boots.

w/ Jodhpurs
black or brown 
Jodhpur boots.

Ratcatcher:
black or brown field boots.
Ratcatcher:
black or brown field boots.
SPURS Heavy pattern,
moderately short neck, 
preferably w/out rowels, 
worn high on the heel.
Same as Master.  Regular hunting spurs, 
preferably w/out rowels.
Same as Lady.

TOP | GENERAL | RATCATCHER | FORMAL | COLORS | WHEN | STOCK TIE | MATRIX


TOP OF PAGE

http://foxhunting.freeservers.com -- Revised: 02 January 2005.
Copyright © 2005 D.Morris
Comments to dcmdcm•at•earthlink•dot•net.