How to master the perfect safari wardrobe with Caroline Hickman
Dear friends and partners,
As part of our series of interviews we are talking to Caroline Hickman, owner and designer for the safari clothing label Hickman & Bousfield. Providing high end, classic safari clothing globally, Hickman & Bousfield pride themselves on always using the best quality natural fabrics. Here Caroline shares her invaluable advice on how to ensure you travel with the perfect safari wardrobe.
Very best wishes, Liz & Stefano
Advice on how to master the perfect safari wardrobe from top safari outfitter Caroline Hickman of Hickman & Bousfield.
Firstly, we all know what safari colours are – but why does it actually matter what colours we wear on safari?
Animals generally don’t like bright colours. It is well known that in East Africa the Tsetse fly like blue, so you should definitely keep clear of this colour on safari in that area. Black is too hot. It’s best to stay neutral and blend in and of course, some of the fun of safari is looking the part. Another bonus to a neutral wardrobe is it is much easier to cobble together at 5am when a lot of morning game drives depart.
What would be your top tips for putting together a safari wardrobe?
Layering is extremely important. It can be freezing first thing in the morning and then temperatures can soar. The sun is also very powerful as you are generally in close proximity to the equator, so I would highly recommend covering up rather than exposing skin to the sun’s intense rays. Leggings and long sleeved t-shirts are great staples. Ensure that your shirts are long enough for regular clambering in and out of safari vehicles. Don’t pack too much; most camps have an excellent laundry service should you need it. My last comment would be dress as yourself, but just adapt the pallet.
What fabrics would you recommend?
Cotton and linen. They are both easy to wash at the camps; they look better with age and breathe well. They also still look good when they are crumpled and sweaty, and you may not have an iron easily to hand in the bush!
One article of clothing you should never forget to pack?
A wide brimmed hat is essential. For ladies, I would say a sports bra. The terrain on safari is often rough and journeys can be more than a little bumpy.
Is there a clothing etiquette on safari?
Many parts of Africa are deeply religious including large Christian and Muslim communities. Dress respectfully and cover up. This is also sensible for practical reasons due to the strength of the sun.
Safari clothing is quite an investment, so are there other occasions for wearing items you purchase for your holiday?
All our clothes are versatile enough to wear at home. Linen shirts and our bush jackets in military green look great with jeans and our moleskin jackets sell extremely well for use in the UK. Safari clothes can be incredibly durable and our linen shirts will last for up to 10 years. I would always recommend that guests mix their safari clothes with items from the high street. You can pick up fantastic neutral chinos in stores like Gap and Zara. Mix safari items with your own clothes to avoid looking like you have been hit with the safari stick.
Where do you source your fabrics/materials?
The linen and cotton is mainly sourced from Italy. Cotton drill and moleskin comes from the Lancashire Mills in England as the quality is undisputed.
What inspired you to set up Hickman & Bousfield?
When I moved to Botswana three and a half years ago, I noticed a real lack of availability of quality safari clothes in natural fabrics. There was also an issue of year-round supply; you might get lucky some months with mainstream designers incorporating safari colours into a season but not necessarily for all the seasons. I was pregnant and had time on my hands so I took inspiration from my husband’s safari kit and durable military gear and set up Hickman & Bousfield.
What is your favourite animal?
It has to be a leopard. Sadly they keep evading me and I have only had a couple of sightings.
Hickman & Bousfield are offering readers of the Cheli & Peacock blog a 10% discount. Please quote the code hb-cp when ordering.
Please come and see Cheli & Peacock at the Rutland Birdfair from 15th to 17th August, 2014 and meet Stefano Cheli, and where there is also the opportunity to win a stylish yet practical Hickman & Bousfield moleskin jacket worth £395.