|The origin of shooting flashes goes back to the time when there was more clubbing, hacking, and running-through being done than shooting. In the time before elastic, warriors tied their socks up.
Why the different colors? A better question might be "Why bother wearing flashes at all if your socks stand up on their own?" At one time, a spot of color at the top on the sock might well have provided a method of separating different sub- groups within the larger Scots clans. The same holds true today with clubs and organizations differentiating themselves by the color of their flashes beneath (relatively) bland tweed shooting garments. So color and the selection of a particular color is largely a matter of personal choice.
How are flashes worn?
Pull the socks all the way up over the bottom of your breeks. Wrap the flash once around to hold the sock in place, then tie a square knot and leave the two ends dangling below your sock. When it’s all done, the top of the sock is worn so that it overlaps the bottom of the breeks.
General guidelines for dressing for an European shoot
As Terry Wieland points out in his excellent article,"Dressed for the Sport," (Shooting Sportsman, January/February 2001) as intimidating as British-shooting accoutrements might look, there are few hard-and-fast rules. An appealing mix of tradition and practicality governs everything else regarding dress."The aristocratic British gunner in tweeds and tie is a favorite target for cartoonists on both sides of the Atlantic. In America the fact that a British shooter habitually wears a jacket and tie is held up as evidence of eccentricity, if not decadence. But the fact is, the UK shooter’s choice of clothing in eminently practical and highly refined for the conditions under which he shoots. What’s more, the nuances of proper shooting attire are almost as arcane as the fitting of a custom game gun. This is based no on snobbery, but on practicality. "Contrary to popular belief, there is no real proper or improper dress, within reason. For the vast majority of driven shoots, a "gun" is expected to look presentable, but it is more important that he be dressed to cope with the weather. In that case, the guiding principle is that if it is not raining right now, it either was recently or soon will be. A secondary principle is: Whatever the weather, shooters will be out in it… European and British shooters do not like to be cold and wet any more than anyone else, so their clothing is designed to cope with almost any conditions while allowing the wearer to shoot comfortably and freely at all times. Marrying these various principles is not easy, but through the course of 150 years of sartorial evolution, tailors and outfitters have arrived at an approach that is both elegant and amazingly functional."
View the Shooting Flashes at Orvis