How to practice male hat etiquette

Hat etiquette is good to know whether fashion hats are a staple accessory in your everyday attire, or you look to add the finishing touches to your stylish outfits for special occasions. Both men and women alike need to know hat manners in order take their sophisticated trends to the next level.

At Hats in the Belfry, we understand some of you are new to hat fashions, so we’ve made it easy for you to learn common hat etiquette. Take a look through our collection of etiquette rules as you learn hat etiquette for yourself.

Men’s hat etiquette:

  1. It is traditionally considered an act of charming courtesy and respect for men to remove their hats in the presence of a woman.
  2. Men should remove their hats while on an elevator, especially if a lady is present.
  3. Men typically remove their hats when entering a building or upon arrival to their destination.
  4. Men shall not wear their hat inside a church; it is appropriate for women to wear dress hats, however.
  5. Traditionally, a gentleman will tip his hat to a lady in passing. He may replace it after she has passed or as they begin to walk/talk together.
  6. It is very poor manners and could be taken as an insult if a man were to tip his hat to another man.

Women’s hat etiquette:

  1. Women may only wear a fashionable hat into a theatre if it does not cause those behind to move in order to see around the hat.
    Hat etiquette for Men and Women:
  2. Both men and women should remove their hats during the National Anthem. The only exception to this rule is when a woman is wearing a very proper hat.
  3. Once your hat has been removed, you should hold your hat in your hand such a way that only the outside is visible. Never reveal the inside lining of your hat.

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As the modern man embraces the wearing of hats I am often asked “what is the contemporary etiquette in men’s headwear…. should hats be removed when entering buildings…. how should I hold my hat when I am not wearing it….?”

I have chatted to a number of men about this.

Older guys respect some notions of hats off indoors but younger ones seem less concerned about this old sartorial practice.

Legal Ethicist and committed hat-wearer, Neil Watt has honed his hat wearing practices to a fine art:

“For me, it’s all about showing respect – and avoiding disrespect.

So, when entering a private space (such as a home, or a private room such as a hospital room) I do remove my hat at the door. This does not apply to public spaces, like office buildings, shops or cafes (though higher-end restaurants may require a hat to be removed and I do remove my hat when entering a private office).

My mother would have slapped me for wearing a hat at the table and, while I adhere to this as a general rule, I’m happy to leave the hat on in a burger shop.

Sacred places, however, generally require removal of a hat – except for synagogues where the opposite applies!”

Rosie says: “As a hat maker I agree that it is about the wearer showing their respect with the way they wear their hat, and I would say that it is also about respect for the hat itself – a good hat has a great presence and needs to be looked after.”

The dilemma for the modern man out and about in a hat is where to stow it if needing to remove it indoors. In the old days a hat and coat were taken by staff at reception and placed in a cloakroom until departure – but cloakrooms no longer exist.

Steven Lewis, owner of a copywriting agency explains: “I wasn’t around when wearing a hat was the norm, not the exception. But I imagine in those days the etiquette went both ways: you removed your hat and your host provided somewhere to put it safely. That is something I’ve said in more than one RSL or restaurant: you want me to take it off but you’re offering me nowhere to put it. With a cap, I can put it in my bag (but that’s something many men don’t carry) but with a Borsalino, I’m not putting it on the floor to get dirty or be trodden on! When I’m going somewhere like that, I try to remember to wear a hat I can stow easily.”

Neil Watt has come up with his own solution to this problem.

“I’ve taken to swapping my brief case and satchel for a canvas bag when I’m dining out. It’s big enough to stow my hat in and I hang it off my chair. When travelling I have a fabulous old Stetson roll-up fedora. Otherwise I place my hat on my lap for the duration of a flight (and stick it on my head when the tray table is down) or I wear a cap (8 panel, not baseball!). I never place a hat in the overhead locker.”

Steven Lewis adds:

“In a place where I’m not asked to remove my hat, I generally won’t because it’s part of who I am. I’m not a clotheshorse. I put on a hat because I want to wear it, so that’s what I’m going to do! But, frankly, I’m annoyed when asked to remove my hat because I’ve felt like I’m being treated as if I’m rude or disrespectful when my host has no intention of living up to their side of the arrangement.”

Web designer, Simon Judge wistfully reflects that:

“Gone are the days when a man learned the art of doffing their hats or touching their hats when greeting a woman in the street. All that hat etiquette has disappeared in this new millennium. I am often asked why a man is supposed to eat bare-headed in a restaurant while a woman may wear her hat. Well, the answer is simple. The man’s hat is supposed to be a practical head covering; the women more often than not is decoration.”

Neil adds: “I remove my hat when being introduced to a woman for the first time (again, it’s a respect thing). Subsequent meetings with the same person receive a ‘tip of the hat’. Yes it’s old-school but it still has charm. In the glory days of the hat the rules were many and complicated but I suggest you keep it simple – be respectful – and leave it at that.”

With the casualization of dress and changed attitudes around gender roles, these sartorial rules are no longer compulsory, but they might suit the way you want to project yourself.

Rules aside, I believe there is a psychological notion of taking a hat off indoors to bear oneself truthfully or equally to others in the room – no obstruction to eye contact.

For the modern man hats are often a definer of their character. I believe the modern etiquette is defined by the motivation of the wearer. Hats can be worn as an expression of the individual – stating ‘this is who I am’ and the hat-wearer will find their own individual language about when and how to wear it.

Proper hat etiquette (for men & ladies) has changed drastically. hats.com is here to keep you up-to-date & provide guidelines for proper hat ettiquette in today’s world.

The popularity and function of headwear in society has changed significantly over time, and consequently, so has hat etiquette. Please refer to the guidelines below to better understand proper hat-wearing behavior.

Men Can Leave Hats On When

  • They are outside
  • At an athletic event, indoors or out
  • In public buildings like post offices, airports, or hotels
  • On public transportation
  • In elevators

Men Should Take Off Hats When

  • They are sitting down to eat a meal
  • In a house of worship unless required by religion
  • Public buildings like schools, town halls, and libraries
  • When the National Anthem is playing
  • In restaurants and cafes

There is discrepancy over things like taking hats off in restaurants. Should people follow the same rules in a fast food restaurant that they would at a five-star establishment? Probably not. This is an example of a situation where it’s difficult to draw boundaries, so you’ll just have to use your best judgment.

For men, the rules are the same whether wearing a fedora, western, or ivy cap. There is no distinction between hat styles when trying to figure out etiquette. Women, on the other hand, have a little more freedom to wear as they please. If they are donning fashionable hats, it is typically acceptable to wear them indoors if not in a work environment. They should also never block anybody’s view. When women wear unisex hats (like baseball caps, for example), they should basically follow the same guidelines listed above for men.

by Mike Strange

The Elegant Classy Gentleman

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How to practice male hat etiquette

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How to practice male hat etiquette

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While sitting in a nice restaurant (one of my favorites) awaiting for a group of friend’s to arrive , and this woman asked me, “are you going to take off you’re hat”? Why do ask? I replied after taking a sip of my glass of Chardonnay. “Well men should take off their hats while indoors, or in a restaurant.” I turned to look at her and said, “Who Told You That”

How to practice male hat etiquette

The women paused for a moment confused (as if collecting her thoughts) and proceeded to give an inaccurate, as well as incomplete account of why men should observe such a ritual without knowing the history of how that practice came about. Myself knowing not only the history and origin of such, (I Am the Elegant Classy Gentleman after all) I took the opportunity and liberty to correct and educate her on the subject, as a gentleman should.

How to practice male hat etiquette

“It all started back in Medieval Times” I began (and the gentleman’s code as well). Knights would remove their helmets before the King, or Queen to show respect and humility, also before other Knights (or lift their visor) as a sign of being non-hostile. Since “the old days” men removed their hats in Christian churches, when crossed the threshold entering someones home, to display chivalry in the presence of a “lady”. The practice of men removing one’s headdress was born and evolved over time as it was a mainstay for men’s dress up until the 1960’s to suit the times.

How to practice male hat etiquette

In modern times (The 21st Century to be exact) men’s fashion has taken on a more “casual culture” to wearing hats. The elegant gentleman who wear a headdress for fashion (like myself) noticed that women were exempt from this outdated taboo of wearing hats indoors (or wherever they pleased).

How to practice male hat etiquette

Why you ask? Well their were no women Knights (with the exception of Joan or Arc). In the 21st Century there are no more “Knights”, Chivalry is dead or at least on the brink of extinction (due to females not being ladies, and not respecting the good manners of a gentleman. Yes Chivalry is being wiped out by females.) And from women’s lib since the 1960’s to the current “Me Too Movement” (Which I’m all for), Men and women should be treated as equals. And that includes etiquette and manners as well.

How to practice male hat etiquette

While taking off one’s hat (or “tip” it to show respect to someone you admire, or a deed that they preformed) is still a fair practice (I still do that) It’s time to “update the custom” to reflect the times. I concluded.

How to practice male hat etiquette

The woman was now at a loss for words as I urged her to glance around the dining room and bar area of the restaurant, which reveled several men wearing hats (baseball caps/one was wearing a paper-boy cap) sitting with their dates or group of friends with no worries or a care with those outdated customs.

How to practice male hat etiquette

The woman than nodded her head in agreement with my “accurate” history and rational. Now I asked her “Why out of all the men in the restaurant you felt that you had to say something to me?” You look so…..good and dashing in your suit and bowler. I had no other way to strike up a conversation with you……… “Who Told You That”? I replied!

A reader asks whether hat etiquette has changed, and for advice on avoiding hat hair.

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How to practice male hat etiquette

How to practice male hat etiquette

Hats are one of my favorite ways to accessorize, from retro Audrey Hepburn or Princess Diana styles to the baseball caps in the Louis Vuitton Resort 2022 collection. But I’m fuzzy on hat etiquette (when is it appropriate to wear one indoors?) and I also struggle with how to avoid flattened hair when I take a hat off. Suggestions? — Jessica, South Orange, N.J.

As Jeff Bezos proved when he donned a cowboy hat for his first Blue Origin trip, hats are definitely the statement pieces of the moment — for good or ill.

And though his choice provoked a fair amount of mirth in the watching public, the right selection can protect you from the sun, hide bad hair days (or bald patches), and finish a silhouette like no other accessory.

To wit, the two hottest couture shows both featured hats: structured umbrella looks at Demna Gvasalia’s first Balenciaga couture outing, and ostrich feather jellyfish at Valentino. Even Pyer Moss’ disruptive show/ode to Black inventors contained a statement crystal-fringed lampshade toque. And milliner Stephen Jones is a key part of every Dior show (this time around, with trompe l’oeil tweed baseball-meets-jockey caps).

Plus, there were hats all over “Hamilton,” and hats that made numerous movies memorable, from the fedoras of “Indiana Jones” and “The Blues Brothers” to the Detroit Tigers cap of Doughboy from “Boyz n the Hood” and the giant Ascot topper of “My Fair Lady.”

Though Emily Post still offers certain guidelines for when and where to doff your hat — men should take off their hats in a private home, at mealtimes, during the national anthem, in public buildings and so on; women should do the same with baseball caps, but may leave “fashion hats” on unless they block someone’s view — fashion these days is so fluid, and so geared toward prioritizing the individual over the group, that most rules have simply gone out the window.

Indeed, Jones pretty much confirmed the above. “Ladies do not have to remove their hats indoors, although it is polite for men to remove their hats,” he said in an email. “For myself, even if I wear an evening hat to a red carpet occasion, I would always remove it at dinner.”

The good news is that means you don’t have to deal with the hat head issue, because it’s not necessary to remove the hat. (Though Jones also notes that the flattening effect you are experiencing could happen because a hat is too tight.)

If it does become a problem, however, Wes Sharpton of Hairstory suggests keeping some dry shampoo, also known as hair powder, to hand. “We often times only think about using a powder as an oil absorber, but there are powders that actually have some grip and can build instant volume, especially if applied at the root,” he emailed. You’ve heard of excusing yourself to powder your nose? This is the hair equivalent.

Just disappear for a moment, sprinkle some into your hands and scrunch. Then — well, chapeau.

Your Style Questions, Answered

Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a reader’s fashion-related question, which you can send to her anytime via email or Twitter . Questions are edited and condensed.

So you want to wear a nice hat, do ya? Fine. Then you need to learn how to wear it like a proper lady or gentleman.

This story was part of Retro Week , during which we fired up the flux capacitor and brought you 1950s know-how on everything from casserole-making to fallout-shelter-building to the joys of letting kids relax and play with trash.

These days there doesn’t seem to be much order when it comes to hats. People wear whatever they like, whenever they like, wherever they like. That’s all well and good, but once upon a time, everybody had a nice hat, and there were rules to follow. If you didn’t, people could instantly tell that you weren’t an upstanding member of society. Well, it’s time we bring those rules back.

When it’s OK to wear a hat

Generally, it’s OK to wear your hat when you’re outside, on the street, or in public areas. It is possible for some of these public areas to be inside, though. For example, it’s OK to wear your hat indoors at places like hotel lobbies, airports, train stations, long indoor corridors, elevators, public transportation, etc.

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Ladies, you can wear hats—as long as it’s not a baseball cap—just about anywhere outdoors and indoors, including during some meals (especially if they’re outdoors). If you’re wearing a baseball cap, however, you must follow the same rules that apply to men’s hats.

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When to take your hat off

Guys, whether you’re wearing a fedora, trilby or a baseball cap, you shouldn’t wear your hat indoors most of the time (again, some public areas are OK). For example, places where hats are always off-limits include homes, schools, restaurants, cafes, churches, theaters and some businesses (especially if you’re there for business). But even if you are in an area where hats are OK, you should take them off in the presence of a lady. You should also remove your hat during meals, during movies, during the national anthem, during weddings, during funerals, during dedications, while taking photographs and when you’re being introduced to someone.

Ladies, the only time you must remove your hat is when it might block someone’s view or cause an inconvenience to others. So you shouldn’t wear a hat at the theater or while you’re working. It should be noted that you can also wear your hat during the national anthem, during some meals and when you’re introduced to someone. But again, if it’s a baseball cap, you should follow the same guidelines as men.

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Other guidelines you should know

The biggest things to know involve where and when it’s OK to wear hats, but there are other rules too. Keep these things in mind:

  • When you remove your hat, hold it in your hand so the inner lining is never visible.
  • When removing your hat to introduce yourself or say hello, a simple slight lifting of the hat off of your head for a moment will do. Accompany the gesture with a nod and a smile.
  • Alternatively, you can tip your hat by grabbing the brim and pulling down ever so slightly. If you’ve ever seen a western, you’ve probably seen cowboys do this a lot. It’s less formal than pulling the hat off of your head, but still a polite gesture.
  • If your hat has any ornamentation—feathers, pins, etc.—men should always have it on the left side of the hat. For women, the ornament should be on the right side of the hat.
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With that, you should be ready to show the world you’re a class act.

This article was originally published in 2017 and updated on March 11, 2020 by Elizabeth Yuko. Updates include the following: Checked links for accuracy; edited “theme week” copy; and updated formatting to reflect current style.

Hats aren’t the essential article of clothing they once were, but are still worn by both sexes for function and fashion. Knowing when to remove a hat is as important as wearing the right hat for the occasion.

If you were a medieval knight who failed to remove his helmet or lift his visor and identify himself the consequences could be fatal. Throughout history hats identified social standing and removing a hat was a gesture of respect.

In the “old days,” men took off their hats in Christian churches, when they entered someone’s home, when greeting a boss, and always in the presence of a lady. Ladies were entirely exempt from “hat rules,” wearing them whenever and where ever they wished.

While some of these customs are now historical footnotes, even in today’s casual culture men and women still remove their hats as a sign of respect. Rarely do women wear hats that require several minutes and several hatpins to put on, so it seems that these days, women wearing what were traditionally men’s hats perhaps should adhere to many of the hat rules that men do.

How to practice male hat etiquette

President Calvin Coolidge knew how and when to tip his hat.

Tip Your Hat

Tipping of the hat is a conventional gesture of politeness. This custom has the same origin as a military salute. To tip, barely lift the hat, or respectfully touching of the brim with a nod of the head. Generally, only men tip their hats.

For men, hats are tipped, slightly lifting the hat off your forehead, when meeting a lady (remove your hat if you stop to talk), or to say to anyone, male or female, “thank you,” “excuse me,” “hello,” “goodbye,” “you’re welcome,” or “how do you do.”

Men, for the ultimate good impression, tip your hat:

  • When walking with a friend who passes a woman only the friend knows.
  • Any time a woman, who is a stranger, thanks you for some service.
  • Any time you excuse yourself to a female stranger, as in a crowded bus when you jostle her, or when you have to ask to crowd past.
  • Any time a stranger shows courtesy to a woman you are with, as when a man or woman picks up something she has dropped, or a man gives her his seat.
  • When you ask a woman or an older man for directions.

Remove Your Hat

Removed hats are held in hand in such a way that only the outside and never the lining is visible. Any cigarette, pipe or cigar should always be taken out of your mouth before removing or tipping your hat. If you’re a smoker, you may need to practice becoming adept at holding both your hat and your smoke in your left hand — without dropping ashes on your hat — while extending your right for the handshake.

Men and women should always remove their hats when:

  • At a movie or any indoor performance.
  • When the national anthem is played.
  • When the flag of the United States passes and at funeral processions, portions of outdoor weddings and dedications.

And for strictest courtesy, also remove your hat when:

  • In someone’s home.
  • At mealtimes, at the table.
  • While being introduced, indoors or out (unless it’s frigid!).
  • In a house of worship, unless a hat or head covering is required.
  • Indoors at work, especially in an office (unless required for the job).
  • In public buildings such as a school, library, courthouse, or town hall.
  • In restaurants and coffee shops.
  • A gentleman should take off his hat and hold it in his hand when a lady enters an elevator in any building which can be classified as a dwelling. He may put his hat back on in the corridor.

Leave on Your Hat

Leave your hat on when:

  • In public buildings, such as railroad stations or post offices.
  • In entrance halls and corridors of office buildings or hotels.
  • In elevators of public or office buildings. However, you have to use your judgment with this guideline. For example: In a department store elevator full of women you should remove it.

Further

For men’s hats, all ornaments or decoration should be placed on the left side of the hat and the opposite is true for the ladies. Hatpins and other ornaments should be placed on the right.

See Baldwin’s Hat Care section on the best way to place and remove your hat so that you do not wear a hole in the crown with the oils on your hands.

And by all means, wear your hat at a rodeo, where you will have many opportunities to tip your hat.

How to practice male hat etiquette

The art of wearing a gentleman’s hat is one that men should be familiar with. There was, after all, a time when a gentleman wouldn’t leave his home without one, but this rather staid convention is well and truly behind us. Nowadays, modern gentlemen wear a hat through choice rather than necessity and as a result, the etiquette that was once second nature to these men has deteriorated.

How to practice male hat etiquette

We have, in recent times, seen a mini hat renaissance within menswear. This can largely be attributed to popular TV programs Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, and men are beginning to appreciate the added gravitas a gentleman’s hat can provide. If you too are thinking of enlisting in the oft-intimidating world of hats then you may want to consider some of the following tips.

TYPES OF HAT

Before reading up on the rules of hat-wearing, you should first know your trilbys from your fedoras. Here are some hat styles to consider.

TRILBY

How to practice male hat etiquette

This is the style you’ll see Mr Draper donning in Mad Men. Perhaps the most wearable today, the trilby features a short brim which curves subtly up and around towards the rear, and points slightly down at the front to shield the eyes from sunlight.

Lock & Co Madison Trilby, £225 from Lock & Co

FEDORA

How to practice male hat etiquette

Typically paired with a sharp suit in the city, the fedora is slightly more formal than the trilby. It features a wider brim and is slightly taller, giving it a more dominating appearance. The fedora is often associated with the mob scene as it was favoured by Al Capone, Charlie ‘Lucky’ Luciano and Meyer Lansky, among others.

BOWLER

How to practice male hat etiquette

The bowler (or coke hat) is a traditional style originally designed by William Coke in 1849. It’s a hard hat with a short, rolled brim and a thin grosgrain band.

HOMBURG

How to practice male hat etiquette

Favoured by none other than Sir Winston Churchill himself, the Homburg is a strictly formal hat, best worn with evening wear.

Lock & Co Homburg, £265 from Lock & Co

FLAT CAP

How to practice male hat etiquette

On the other end of the spectrum, the flat cap is one of the least formal of traditional men’s hats. Usually made with a hard-wearing yet soft fabric such as tweed, the flat cap is as versatile as it is practical.

Lock & Co Tweed Flat Cap, £95 from Mr Porter

ETIQUETTE

Like many things in life, hat-wearing comes with its own set of specific rules. We are not saying you should religiously stick to these on every occasion, however if you’re attending a more formal event then you will be expected to abide by them.

1. REMOVING THE HAT

How to practice male hat etiquette

It’s generally accepted that a gentleman should remove his hat when indoors. There are few exceptions to this rule, unless you’re in a pub or lunch-time cafe in which case you can get away with it.

Outdoors is when things get more complicated though. A gentleman should remove his hat when he is being introduced to someone, or when he is saying goodbye to a lady. These notions have been in place for decades and your grandfathers and their grandfathers would have followed them, so you’d be rude not to.

2. TIPPING THE HAT

How to practice male hat etiquette

When wearing a hat was essential practice, tipping it was important business. It was and still is a way of displaying thanks or acknowledgment, and is therefore considered very polite, although it is usually only done to a woman. A gentleman should tip his hat when a lady thanks him or in an instance when a subtle apology is needed.

3. HAT-WEARING CONFIDENCE

How to practice male hat etiquette

This is not a rule so much as a necessity. If you don’t wear your hat with confidence then you simply won’t be able to pull it off and it won’t look good. Look to the black and white films of the ‘40s and ‘50s for your inspiration and if in doubt, just pretend you’re Cary Grant.

How to practice male hat etiquette

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By Yvonne Sam
Social and Political Commentator

I am penning this inquiry in the sincere hope that male readers would respond, thereby updating me as to current social mores and etiquette, pertinent to the vexing practice of wearing hats and caps indoors.

What is the contemporary etiquette in men’s head wear, as nowadays there does not appear to be much order, when it comes to hats and caps. Knowingly, the world has gone casual over time, but have we gone too casual, bordering on to disrespect.

Throughout the course of history, hats identified social standing, and removing a hat was a gesture of respect. Men removed their hats as soon as they crossed the threshold of a house or public building, and always in the presence of a lady. There were rules to follow and if you did not, then people knew, immediately, you were not an upstanding member of society.

On the other hand, ladies were completely exempted from “hat rules”, wearing them whenever and wherever they wished, removing it only if it obstructed someone’s view. It seemed like a good practical policy back then, so why is it still not?

Hats are no longer the essential article of clothing, as they were formerly, but are still worn for fashion and function by both sexes. Nevertheless, knowing when to remove a hat is as equally important as wearing the right hat for the occasion. Basically put, hats come with a complex etiquette.

Have you noticed how often men, both old and young alike, wear their hats (including baseball caps) indoors, while dining, even at functions, seemingly unconcerned about the old sartorial practice of removing hats once indoors.

How to practice male hat etiquetteI was told, way back when, that a hat was indicative of someone being in transit. Hence, wearing a hat inside, showed that you did not plan on staying, or have not the slightest desire to be there, somewhat similar to wearing a coat in a place where you do not want to be, so that you can get out of there faster.

Undoubtedly, hat etiquette has disappeared in this new millennium. Gone, perhaps never to return are the days when a man learned the art of doffing his hat, slightly lifting the hat off his forehead, when greeting a woman.

Tipping of the hat is a conventional gesture of politeness, and this custom shares the same origin as military saluting, which came from the raising of the face visors of medieval Knights to show goodwill.

How to practice male hat etiquetteKnights would be considered aggressive or unfriendly if they did not show their smiling face to the public, so in order to give everyone a look at their heroic grin, the visor would be lifted. Times have changed and well intentioned rules have become relaxed and abandoned altogether, however I will never accept that just because a good custom has been cast aside, one should give up on restoring it.

A few members of the opposing or opposite sex have bombarded me with the question, why should a man be bareheaded while a woman may wear a hat? The changed attitudes around gender roles and the casualization of dress, need to be carefully considered in responding to sartorial rules.

I was raised in the era when the No Hats Inside rule was strictly enforced, and now it is so entrenched in my psyche, that when someone contravenes this etiquette guideline, it feels and look so wrong — like snow in summer. I have raised my children with the same guidelines, and they know that they and their friends must never wear hats or caps indoors.

Rules aside, it is my firmly held belief that there is a psychological notion of taking a hat off indoors, to bear oneself truthfully or equally to others in the room — no obstruction to eye contact.

How to practice male hat etiquetteGuys, before you commence putting heads together towards capping a concerted response, please note, that while the hat storm rages, there are exceptions to the “hats off indoors” rule.

It is not necessary for a man to remove his hat in places where he does not seat himself, such as grocery stores, shops or markets. Individuals with certain health conditions, which result in hair loss, or require having their head covered, are not expected to remove a hat.

The pervasive lack of respect for protocol is also evident in schools and learning institutions. The standards for dress, behavior, consideration and just plain common courtesies, have corroded in the elementary grades.

This corrosion of standards was agonizingly painful to me when I recently attended a school function. I could not believe how many men, young and old alike, were wearing baseball caps. Call me mean, petty or just plain chew me out, but baseball caps are for baseball games and other sporting events. They do not belong at school performances.

How to practice male hat etiquetteSad but true, there was a time when almost everyone knew the rules governing hats. The hat renaissance is creating a predicament of men and boys, who grew up without being taught and learning hat wearing etiquette from their fathers. Yes, entire generations have come of age with little understanding of proper hat protocol.

While more casual rules are being followed today, it is appalling to older folks who remember traditional customs, and for those who honor the tradition of hat removal, that wearing a hat indoors is viewed as disrespectful.

Societal standards for etiquette have grown too lax, with manners, civility and respect for decorum all values of the past. In place of standards, anything goes.

Hats Off! — I remain an advocate for a more civilized directive.

Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.

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How to practice male hat etiquette

Many American men sported stylish hats as part of their daily clothing ensemble until the early 1960s. The majority of men today who wear hats don baseball caps. Whether you prefer a stylish fedora, or a sports cap, hat-wearing etiquette remains the same. Men, unlike women, are expected to remove hats indoors. There are many reasons why the act of removing one’s hat started, and why etiquette continues to dictate this practice.

History of Headdress Removal

The gesture of removing ones hat, headdress or helmet dates back to ancient times — however, the exact date of origin is not known. Knights removed helmets in the presence of a king as a display of vulnerability and trust that the king would not kill them. Knights also removed helmets in church as an expression of security in one’s sanctuary. Knights displayed chivalry by removing headpieces in the presence of a lady. The practice of removing ones headdress evolved to represent a show of respect and courtesy in various situations — including the removal of the hat when entering a home, courtroom, restaurant or church.

National Respect

The U.S. Flag Code addresses hat removal, stating that during the national anthem, when the American Flag is displayed, “men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.” The Flag Code also addresses hat removal for civilian men in situations in which the American flag is raised, lowered or passed, stating that they “stand at attention with the right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”

Practical Reasons for Hat Removal

Hats worn by men for fashion purposes outdoors offer protection from heat, rain and the sun. They also provide warmth on cold days. They offer no such function indoors. Wearing a hat indoors, especially in the presence of older people who honor the tradition of hat removal, may be viewed as disrespectful.

In a bygone era, there were strict rules for when and where to wear a hat. Do any of the old rules apply?

Jim Cartasano owns about 50 hats, and one of them is on his head “24-7.”

Yes, he wears his fedoras in restaurants. He wears them at work. He wears them to business meetings, too — but that is expected in his line of work.

Cartasano, 28, sells hats at Brimz by Big it Up, which opened on Queen St. W. almost five months ago, a sign that the hunger for stylish headgear isn’t going away anytime soon.

“It’s comfortable,” he says, sporting a straw stingy brim. “It’s a part of me.”

In a bygone era, there were strict rules for when and where to wear a hat. They were removed inside hotel lobbies, elevators, restaurants and homes. They certainly would not be tolerated at the dinner table.

On rare occasions, this hatter does go hatless — for example, when he goes to a restaurant that is formal enough to wear a sports jacket. “I’d wear it going to the restaurant, and then when I get to sit down I’d probably take it off,” Cartasano says.

It’s almost-anything goes for today’s popular fedoras, which can be spotted on the heads of men and women alike, on city streets and red carpets.

Jenna Cosentino, 26, bought a straw fedora a few weeks ago. “I’ve worn it to restaurants. I’ve worn it walking down the street. Everywhere.” She does not feel tethered to the old etiquette.

Eric Lynes, owner of Guelph’s Biltmore Hat Co., remembers his grandmother’s old hat rack in the foyer of her home in Louisville, Ky. It had a mirror, hooks and a place to hold umbrellas.

“My grandmother used to always tell me, when I walked into her house, ‘Please rest your hat,’ ” Lynes recalls. “I just haven’t noticed the same type of etiquette with it as it used to be.”

Lynes was once asked to take off his hat in an Italian restaurant in Guelph, and didn’t mind doing so. But other than that single experience, he feels comfortable wearing his stylish chapeaus everywhere.

Lizzie Post, spokesperson for The Emily Post Institute and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post herself, says that, like all matters of etiquette, social rules about hats have very practical origins.

She says the tradition stems from the days of knighthood, when knights would raise their visors to let show they were friends, not foes.

In today’s much more casual society, hats of all kinds are fine to wear in public places, Post says. But some rules of etiquette should still apply.

You should always take off your hat when sharing a meal with someone (unless you’re in a self-service restaurants like McDonald’s), Post says.

Hats should also be removed during introductions, even on the street.

“The majority of hats come with brims that shadow your face, or cover your face in some way,” Post explains. “And you want to have other people see your face. It’s a sign of welcome. It’s a sign of ‘I’m here to be with you, therefore I want you to be able to see me.’ ”

You want people to remember your face, not your hat, she says.

Dameion Royes, president and CEO of Big it Up, says that in the early 1900s, men followed strict seasonal cut-off dates for different styles of hats.

Come April 15th, he says, men were supposed to put away their fur felt hats and don straw boaters.

They also used to tip their hats to dames passing by on the street. “That doesn’t happen anymore,” Royes says. “When did you last walk down the street and a guy wearing his fedora tipped it at you?”

Because he’s in the industry, Royes says people expect him to be wearing a hat. He feels naked without one on his head, much like the men of days gone by.

Post says failing to remove your hat could be off-putting to members of an older generation, but Royes says he hasn’t encountered much opposition.

“You might have that grumpy old curmudgeon who might mumble something under his breath, from an observer point of view, but may never voice that publicly,” he says.

“He might have that nostalgia for that old etiquette. But he probably wouldn’t say it.”

It’s time for a dose of formality again – but what are the hatiquette rules you should apply?

How to practice male hat etiquette

Time was when, particularly in the winter months, a man wouldn’t think of walking out of the front door without a certain kind of hat. A trilby in the city, perhaps – or a flat cap in the countryside. My miner grandfather would have sooner worn my grandmother’s industrial-strength girdle than step out without his bunnet. There are wonderful family photos of a long line of male descendants, proudly sporting said item (a Scottish flat cap, not to be confused with the tourist tat Tam O’Shanter).

Hats are almost an antiquated style notion from a more civilised time, popping up on period dramas, at Ascot and perhaps the odd horse trial. There’s a stateliness to the smarter end of the hat spectrum that’s entirely pleasing when glimpsed in the wild, whether around the gentlemanly environs of St James’s or the piazzas of Milan or Rome; Italian men seem to have kept the hat as a firmament of the wardrobe far more than us British counterparts.

It’s always men of a certain age, too, as if they know a certain sartorial nous that the Gen Z in their bucket hats can’t quite fathom (over the resurgence of the bucket hat, we shall draw a polite veil).

Which is why a recent spate of letters from our esteemed readers has piqued interest, debating whether the etiquette of wearing a hat in a car is déclassé or a mark of a gentleman. The discussion topic was sparked by one letter outlining what a reader’s father insisted was “common”, and has since snowballed into a robust debate. A former policeman advises that dangerous drivers more often than not wore hats, another recalls a headmaster tipping his hat as a funeral cortege passed the car.

So what’s the correct form here? I shall leave that to you, our readers, but allow this hat neophyte to weigh in; cars aren’t the grand affairs they once were, so I’d wager that anything of the formal variety is a crash hazard. A flat cap or banie for countryside drives in the Landy is standard practice, and while the notion of cruising along the Côte d’Azur in a convertible, fresh white havana glistening against the sea feels raffishly Maxim de Winter-esque, hats and soft-tops are a disaster waiting to happen.

Furthermore, consider other nuances of traditional hatiquette; removing hats indoors has been a basic sign of accord and geniality since medieval knights lifted their helmets. When the national anthem is played, obviously, or at meal times. More formal occasions require different rituals; in the Ascot Royal Enclosure, if you’re ever in a position to find yourself there, top hats may be removed to eat, but must remain firmly on indoors (and certainly out) at all times.

Perhaps the oft-overlooked hat is due a revival, particularly as we venture back into city life and begin a more formal chapter once more; a visit to the gloriously old school Lock & Co Hatters – the oldest of its kind in the world – is enough to convince me that I should incorporate hats into my everyday attire.

Certainly, men’s fashion designers have branched into hats where previously it was all about the next cult trainer – Dior Men’s recent show showcased berets on every model, crafted by master milliner Stephen Jones. Flat caps and baker boys have become somewhat synonymous with Peaky Blinders cosplay (we’re looking at you, once again, Mr Beckham), so steer towards the more sartorial end of the hat rail. A sharp trilby in chocolate felt or princely fedora in charcoal tones will forever look grown up and sophisticated.

Whether you choose to place it in the passenger seat alongside you, we shall leave you to tell us.

Almost everyone removes their hats when attending church, a wedding, a funeral, or another important event that occurs indoors. While it may seem habitual, have you ever wondered why people don’t wear hats indoors?

Hats aren’t worn indoors as a sign of respect. The tradition of men removing their hats indoors is thought to date back to the practice of medieval knights removing their helmets when entering a building as a signal of friendly intent.

In this article, we’ll discuss five reasons why people take off their hats before entering a building, so read on to learn about hat etiquette standards and when or where you should be taking off your hat.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Removing a Hat Indoors Shows Respect

While wearing hats indoors is not important to many people, some still take off their hats when entering a building. The majority of people who take off their hats indoors do so as a sign of respect. Even if some younger hat wearers have not grown up with the tradition, they may still remove their hat out of respect for their grandparents, for example.

This tradition may have started with medieval knights removing their helmets when entering buildings as a sign that they came in peace and were no threat, as removing the helmet made them vulnerable and more approachable. The removing of hats in bars and clubs may to some extent also stem from these early origins.

Hat Etiquette Rules Stress Removing Hats Indoors

While hat etiquette may be less apparent nowadays, removing your hat indoors is the number one rule of hat etiquette. Some people may not follow the other hat etiquette rules as closely, but this rule is still very apparent.

People will typically remove their hats when they enter someone’s home, meet someone new, attend an event, or take part in the national anthem.

Wearing a Hat Indoors May Offend Others

Even if you aren’t trying to be rude, many people consider it disrespectful to wear a hat indoors. Why? Because if you do so, you are consciously going against the rules of hat etiquette that has been in place for decades.

Many younger people in the room won’t mind. However, if your grandparents see you donning a hat indoors, you could be in trouble.

Taking Off Work Hats Reduces the Spreading of Dirt

Before hats were a fashion statement, hats mostly had practical uses, such as protection from the sun and heat. Originally, many men who worked while wearing hats would remove them when they got home to prevent the dust or dirt from getting on the furniture.

Even today, men and women wear hats for physical work. Many industries can get pretty dirty, such as construction. Homeowners nowadays will still take their hats off before entering the house to avoid a mess.

Your Hat Could Obstruct Someone’s View

Another reason why someone may take their hat off is to avoid blocking someone’s view. For instance, women sometimes will wear fancy hats to a wedding. Many of these hats have distinct shapes and can be rather tall. Out of respect, during events, hat wearers will take off their hats to prevent blocking someone’s view.

Conclusion

There are a few reasons why people don’t wear hats indoors. First of all, it is a show of respect. Many workers will also remove their hats to avoid bringing dirt into the house.

Removing your hat indoors is also the biggest rule of hat etiquette. People may consider it a rude gesture if you forget to remove your hat.
If you want to learn more about etiquette that stemmed from the nineteenth century, check out True Ladies and Proper Gentleman: Victorian Etiquette for Modern Day Mothers and Fathers by Sarah A. Chrisman on Amazon.

I would like to teach my teenage son the traditional customs for when he should remove his hat and when it is acceptable to keep it on. Do traditional men’s hat etiquette rules still apply, or have they changed with the times?

The timeless tradition of men’s hat etiquette is a social grace worthy of passing along.

Times have changed and some may think we have strayed far away from tradition. The truth is even today, in most situations, wearing a hat indoors is still considered poor etiquette.

Your son would benefit from being aware that these guidelines exist. It will also benefit your son to understand why the tradition is in place. It has nothing to do with social position or income level. It involves respect.

Traditional guidelines are pretty clear. There definitely are places where it is still considered rude and disrespectful for a man to keep his hat on.

You can begin by explaining that all hats, including baseball hats, should be removed when indoors. This includes the homes of friends and family, and in public places like restaurants and places of worship (unless a hat or head covering is required).

A lesser-known social situation that warrants removing one’s hat is when an introduction is made, indoors or out.

A strict rule of Western etiquette worthy of sharing exists in the United States Flag Code. It advises men to remove their hats during the playing and singinf of “The National Anthem.” This rule applies indoors and outside. It’s a longtime sign of respect and one of those etiquette rules that hopefully never goes out of style.

Hat etiquette rules may have faded because we live in a much more casual world than decades past. The rules are a little looser now.

If your son becomes overwhelmed with all the rules, encourage him that, when in doubt to fall back on tradition and remove his hat out of respect for others.

Have a question? Email: [email protected] Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2021 Jacquelyn Youst

Since the dawn of humankind, we have been wearing hats. They have always functioned as powerful markers of status, sex, occupation, class and origin. Whether you are a king, soldier or shaman, they defined you.

Each hat often had a set of rules on how it is worn, when and by whom. These rules extended into all headwear, most notably in terms of when you should remove your hat.

The most common practice was in the tipping of your hat. Either fully removing it, or lifting it slightly at the front. It was always done as a mark of respect for the person, or activity you are engaged in. Typically hats were removed when entering holy places, homes or in the presence of your superiors.

The rules were very detailed, often legally enforced, and varied greatly by location and time. Everyone knew these rules and would vary them only as a profound social comment. If you think of the military, parliament, church, workplace, you can see how it was all tied to social hierarchy.

As a woman, there was another completely different set of rules. It was very rare that a woman would need to remove her hat – probably because of the elaborate pins and stays that were used to hold the enormous hats in fashion. All the rules reeked of racism, elitism and sexism – but it was a different world.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Since the 1960’s all these rules, have faded away, and people often wonder what they should do. Personally, I think you should do whatever you feel like.

If you want to acknowledge someone, or show respect, then tip your hat. It is a gracious thing to do. If you are entering a place you revere, then removing your hat is a gentlemanly way of showing your respect. In much the same way as shaking hands, it is an act of openness and regard. Dealing with any old-world authority, such as courts and churches, usually requires the removal of your hat, but only if you are a man.

I wear my hats from morning until night, and rarely take them off except when I go to bed. No one has ever minded, and honestly, no one even remembers what the rules are. I will often tip my hat to other hat wearers, or when someone has done something I admire. Holding your hat over your heart shows your profound respect.

In France, they call ‘chapeau’ when something is to be celebrated. In much the same way as throwing your hat in the air.

Hats have changed. There are no longer any rules, but by tipping your hat, you have a potent gesture that you can wield thoughtfully. It feels wonderful and can make someone’s day.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Up until the 1950s, men were rarely seen out and about without a hat sitting upon their head. Since that time, the wearing of hats has seen a precipitous decline. No one is precisely sure why. Some say the downfall of hats occurred when JFK did not wear a hat to his inauguration, thus forever branding them as uncool. This is an urban myth, however, as Kennedy did indeed don a hat that day. Another theory posits that the shrinking size of cars made wearing a hat while driving prohibitively difficult. Most likely, the demise of hats can simply be traced to changing styles and the ongoing trend towards a more casual look.

Hats are due for a full resurgence. They are both functional and stylish. They can cover a bad hair day, keep your head warm, and shade your eyes from the sun. They can also be worn to cover a receding hairline, which interestingly enough is why Frank Sinatra, an iconic hat wearer, started wearing one in the first place. They give you a touch of class and sophistication, impart personality, and add an interesting and unique accent to your outfits. And hats are a sure-fire way to boost your confidence. A cool hat can quickly become your signature piece and give you extra swagger.

Of course men today still wear hats, but they are most often confined to ratty baseball caps, hippie beanie caps, or the thankfully almost extinct trucker hat. There is nothing wrong with these kinds of headpieces per se, but there are other hat options out there. So mix up your lids with these various options:

The Flat Cap

How to practice male hat etiquette

The flat cap has a rounded shape, a small brim, and a high back. Long associated with working class men in the UK, the flat cap can be a stylish way to add interest to a casual outfit. They can give your tired jeans and t-shirt look some unique style. Choose the more masculine flat cap over the similar, but rounder and puffier newsboy cap. The latter has been almost entirely co-opted by the ladies.

The Fedora

How to practice male hat etiquette

Fedoras were once considered de rigueur for men going out in public and a necessary accessory to formal and business attire. While once mainstream, a man in a fedora is now seen as a trendsetter. Fedoras are soft, usually made of felt, creased lengthwise down the crown, and pinched on both sides. Obviously you cannot pair a fedora with jeans and a polo. They are only an appropriate accent for dressier outfits. But the payoff — loads of style, class, and confidence — make dressing up worth it. Fedoras will make you look manly and a bit mysterious. Worn by Prohibition-era gangsters, almost all of the movie stars of the 1940s, and Old Blue Eyes himself, donning a fedora puts you in touch with a truly luminous and manly heritage.

The Porkpie

How to practice male hat etiquette
Photo from The French Connection

Named for its resemblance to an actual pork pie, this hat is similar to a fedora but with a flat top instead of a pinched crown. The brim is also shorter and turned up. The hat is often associated with the jazz, blues, and ska culture, but was also worn by the likes of Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atom bomb.

The Homburg

How to practice male hat etiquette
Photo from The Godfather

The Homburg is another hat similar to the fedora. The Homburg’s brim lacks the fedora’s pinches, and is turned up all the way around. The hat is accented with a hatband into which a feather may be stuck. Less casual than a top hat, and dressier than a fedora, the Homburg was the go-to lid for politicians and diplomats in the 20 th century. Favored by the Godfather and resurrected by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Tupac, the Homburg now carries a distinctly gangster flavor.

The Bowler/Derby

How to practice male hat etiquette

Bowlers are hard, made of felt, and have very short brims. While considered a British icon, the bowler was also part of the urban culture of America in the 19 th century. For example, one of the gangs that roamed the mean streets of New York City around the time were the Plug Uglies. The Uglies were never without their bowler hats, which they wore both as their signature piece and to protect their heads during their many scuffles with rival gangs.

Wearing a Hat

How to practice male hat etiquette

Hats can give you a feeling of effortless cool and manly confidence. Few people loved hats more, or wore them better than Frank Sinatra. He was constantly playing with the idea of angling and tilting his hat to convey different attitudes. Here’s how Frank wore his hat to reflect his mood:

  • Wear your hat pushed back to seem more open and accessible
  • Tilt your hat over your eyes to seem mysterious and intimidating
  • Tilt your hat up 1 inch from completely straight to project an all-business attitude

Hat Etiquette

In adopting the hat as your signature piece, you must also accept the responsibility of hat etiquette. Often ignored, hat etiquette will show that your uniqueness extends not only to you choice of headwear, but to your manners as well.

  • Promptly remove your hat upon entering an elevator, restaurant, or someone’s home. Never wear your hat during a meal.
  • Touch the brim of your hat lightly when greeting a friend.
  • Raise the hat by the crown when meeting a female friend in public.
  • Remove your hat during the national anthem and place it over your heart.

We need to reintroduce safe old greetings just like Presidents used to do. I can still remember people bowed with different angles when performed due to the respect and knowledge of the person they met.

How to practice male hat etiquette

How to perform safe greetings is on everybody mind these days after severe warnings to avoid the virus spread. Maybe it is time to reintroduce the old tip your hat what was a common greeting before the gangster and army styles was introduced in Hollywood movies or through Rap Music videos. Hats has been replaced with caps & beanies an so has the greeting etiquette.

The website WikiHow has a nice introduction to hat etiquette ment for men, but also worth reading for women…

How to practice male hat etiquette

Tip your hat when greeting someone. Grab the brim of your hat and lift it just a few inches off of your head toward the person you are greeting, while performing a slight bow. This represents a greeting along the lines of “good afternoon,” or “how do you do?

Like all things retro, many varieties of classic hats have seen a resurgence in popularity. Fedoras, caps and even beanies can add an original touch to business and casual attire.

If you haven’t worn a hat in awhile, make sure your hat etiquette game is up to standard.

The next section is about how warnings about the need of changes in etiquette can go wrong, performed by the Norwegian Prime Minister and her warriors yesterday as they just had declared Norway closed.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Stress? Short time memory like a gold fish? Or no will? The Prime minister of Norway Erna Solberg try to thank Camilla Stoltenberg the leader of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health for her contribution after the press conference where Norway was declared «closed» with a handshake.

The Norwegian Health Minister Bent Hoye, who just has begged every Norwegian citizen to stop handshakes until further notice to avoid the virus distribution, cuts Solbergs try with an underarm karate stroke. A quick response watched by millions live on TV, and they didn’t even blush they say, but smiled. of their own stupidity.

A few hours later Hoye was quarantined due to the new native regulations, since he has been traveling abroad within the last two weeks. Norway is now on the top 10 list and has 900 confirmed cases. All the borders are now closed for foreigners.

This picture prove that some politicians act selfish and never listen to any advise or warnings even their own, just like WHO has tried to inform the whole world about several times lately to stop the distribution.

Is there anything that displays a man with a true style more than a dress hat? It has however, been a long time since hats were an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. For those that are willing to showcase their true gentlemanly style, we’ve set out some general hat etiquette rules for the modern man.

Firstly, we’ll cover the 3 main dress hats that we feel go best with a suit.

Classic Gentleman’s Hats

The Top Hat
A top hat is the most formal hat and is generally worn with tails. Top hats tend to be reserved for more formal black or white tie events.

How to practice male hat etiquette

The Fedora
A Fedora is a broad term that is often over used to describe a certain style of hat. But for the purists, a Fedora is a felt hat that has pinched sides which create a wedge at the front of the hat and a crease down the middle of the crown. This is a stylish look and will definitely give you the look of a man with purpose and pose.

How to practice male hat etiquette
Image Source: Menfashionhub.com

The Homburg
Closely related to the Fedora, the Homburg is considered it’s dresser version. The main difference being that that sides of the crown at not pinched at the front.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Other hats that are also worn with a suit are the Trilby and the Bowler hat, however we feel that the Fedora in particular is a smart option for the modern gentleman.

General Hat Etiquette

In principle, the etiquette of wearing any hat indoors should be straightforward. Emily Post says gentlemen do not wear hats indoors at any occasion, and we are inclined to agree, therefore you should always remove your hat when you enter a building. However, the exception to this is any indoor areas that are considered public places, such as airports, lobbies, shopping malls, public transport and so on.

When Dining

When dining, you clearly would have removed your hat when you entered the restaurant, however if you are partaking in alfresco dining your hat should also be removed. Once seated, never place your hat on the table. It is acceptable to place it on another chair or your lap, but the preference is to have it stored in the cloakroom if available.

Wedding Etiquette

Wear your hat with pride to a wedding and mingle freely, but once you enter the church, be sure to take it off. Hats should be worn to formal church weddings, but today there can be all sorts of gray areas as to whether a wedding is formal or not, so if you are unsure in any way and do not feel entirely comfortable with the idea of possibly being in a minority of one, check into whether hats are required.

Attending Events

Should you be attending a national or sporting event, your hat should be removed during the playing of the national anthem of any country. Also in many countries, when a parade passes carrying the national flag your hat should be removed. If in doubt, better to be safe than sorry.

The Small Touches

Firstly, you should always remove your hat when being introduced to someone. As you remove your hat and are holding it, always ensure that only the outside of the hat is visible to others and that the inside lining stays hidden.

A gentleman should also remove his hat when a lady enters a lift, even though a lift is considered a public space. We feel this is a lovely touch and will be generally be noticed and acknowledged. As with all other matters of style we advise donning a nonchalant, natural air.

Traditionally, if you remove your hat, the further you hold it from your head the greater respect you are showing the person you are greeting. So a tip of the hat can be seen as a friendly greeting, while holding your hat at your waist is a gesture to someone in authority or perhaps someone you wish to impress.

Following the rules above, you will always display the small touches of class of that of a true gentleman.

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Author, Etiquette Expert

How to practice male hat etiquette

Photo credits: ARTHUR EDWARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Have you noticed how often men wear their hats indoors? This is a breach of etiquette that some men don’t seem to know about. And it’s always surprising to me how many people do not remove their baseball caps when the National Anthem is sung. Hats are worn less now, but at the turn of the twentieth century, most adults wore hats whenever they left the house. Then, men tipped their hats to others as a gesture of politeness, though this is considered old-fashioned today.

JFK changed everything by making it stylish to go hatless (he was the first president not to wear a brimmed hat for outdoor presidential occasions) though baseball caps, trucker caps, bicycle caps, ski caps, Panama hats, and porkpie hats are popular these days. Whatever kind of hat is worn, there are still rules about when to take your hat off. The rules are fewer today (it’s okay to wear a hat in the presence of a woman, for example), but not knowing when to take your hat off can make you appear rude, unsophisticated or both. Here are the basic rules of hat etiquette:

Hat Etiquette for Men

• Removing your hat is considered to be a gesture of respect for certain occasions and in certain places. Keeping your hat on during these occasions and in these places (see below) is a gesture of disrespect.

• All hats, including baseball caps and knit caps, should be removed when the wearer is indoors, including in private homes and restaurants, however informal, except for public places such as lobbies, corridors, and elevators.

• Hats should be removed during the singing of the National Anthem, the passing of the American flag and funeral processions, and during formal outdoor occasions such as weddings and dedications.

• After removing your hat, hold it so that the inside of the hat is toward you and not visible to others.

• Some people believe that it’s bad luck to put a hat on a bed, so when you take your hat off in someone’s home, look for a hat rack or some other place to put it.

Hat Etiquette for Women

• If you’re wearing what is traditionally thought of as a man’s hat, such as a baseball cap or a Panama hat, you should follow all the rules for men, above.

• Hats traditionally thought of as “women’s hats,” with ribbons, bows, feathers, flowers, or other ornamentation, or in delicate colors and materials, including the small hats worn on the front of the head and known as fascinators, may be kept on indoors for all occasions, except when you’re wearing a large hat at the movies, the theater, or any other kind of performance event. In this case, remove it and place it on your lap so that people behind you can see the stage.

Part 2 of this hat etiquette series discusses when women should remove their hats and when they can keep them on.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Women have worn hats for many years; however, the type of hats women are wearing have changed. Women have traditionally worn fashion hats, or hats thought of as “women’s hats.” These hats include ribbons, bows, feathers, flowers or other ornamentation, and come in delicate colors and materials. Fashion hats also include the small hats worn on the front of the head, also known as fascinators. Today, more women are wearing baseball-style caps and hats.

When a woman wears a fashion hat, different rules apply then when a women wears a baseball-style cap.

Women’s fashion hats (not baseball-style caps) can be left on:

  • In someone’s home
  • At luncheons, weddings, garden parties
  • At religious services
  • At a movie or any indoor performance
  • When the National Anthem is played
  • When the flag of the United States passes by, as in a parade

Women should take their fashion hat off:

  • Anytime it blocks someone’s view, such as at a wedding or in a theater
  • Indoors at work

Women should remove baseball-style caps:

  • In someone’s home
  • At mealtimes, at the table
  • While being introduced
  • In a house of worship, unless a hat or head covering is required
  • Indoors at work, unless required for the job
  • In public buildings such as a school, library, courthouse or town hall
  • In restaurants
  • At any indoor performance
  • When the National Anthem is played
  • When the flag of the United States passes by, as in a parade

Cancer patients are exempt from hat rules. They may keep their hats or caps on at all times if they wish.

For information on when men should remove their hats or keep them on, see “When should men remove their hats?”

Michigan State University Extension provides many helpful resources for business behavior, including:

  • Business handshake and professional pitch
  • Good Manners—Etiquette (covering greetings, conversation, online interactions, table manners and interviews that include a meal)
  • Job interview etiquette
  • What is business etiquette?

Activities on a variety of these topics can also be found in “Build Your Future: Choices…Connections…Careers” curriculum and the “Youth Business Guide to Success” curriculum.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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How to practice male hat etiquette

How to practice male hat etiquette

Tradition dictates pretty hats be worn at weddings in Europe! Our youngest daughter, Caroline, had this one designed by a milliner in New York City to complement the pink dress that she wore to her sister’s wedding, which was held in the Berlin Dom, Germany. You can tell from her smile that it was a glorious day!

My darling grandson in England, a dapper dresser like his father, asked me if he should take his hat off when being introduced to someone. well, that certainly inspired me for the topic today!

Gentlemen : Yes, a hat should be removed out of respect when being introduced to someone and especially with or while in the presence of a lady! For other occasions, a hat should be removed when the national anthem is played, upon entering a church, a restaurant, a private home, a school, a theater or movie, in a place of business, or during business meetings. A loose rule of thumb for men is to remove your hat when indoors or in the presence of a lady.

A less formal, but still acceptable, gesture for gentlemen is to simply lift the hat off the head for a moment, nod, and place it back on. One may tip the hat by the brim too, just like the cowboys did in western movies.

For both men and women, any hat may be worn outside and in public places such as in elevators, airports, hotels, and public transportation.

Ladies : Oh, lucky you! Your pretty dress hats do not need to be removed when indoors, when the national anthem is played, or any of the above rules for men because your hat is deemed as a fashion accessory for your outfit! The exception is if a lady is wearing an informal hat which is worn for warmth in the winter and should be taken off while indoors.

After five in the evening, or once the sun sets, a lady does not wear a brimmed hat. The reasoning behind this is that a brim is not needed after sunset.

Millennial Tip

Which side are ornaments such as bows, pins, feathers, or flowers placed on a hat?

Women are always RIGHT! Right?! Yes, bows, pins, and other ornamentation are traditionally placed on the right side of a woman’s hat. Although, these days, milliners are quite creative and embellish all aspects of a hat.

For gentlemen, the ornamentation goes on the left side of the hat.

Ladies should be sure to respectfully check with hosts when invited to attend a wedding, funeral, or christening in Europe as well as other countries to see if they recommend that a hat be worn. It is customary for ladies to wear elegant hats to these functions, which I think is simply splendid, as it adds to the celebratory elegance and time honored tradition of these events.

Frankly, baseball caps tend to be the prominent hat of choice these days for both men and women, especially in the United States. Baseball caps are considered a man’s hat, or a unisex hat, so the same rules would apply to women as to men, meaning hats off during the National Anthem and the other formal occasions mentioned previously.

All hats may be left on at all times for both men and women if it is for medical reasons. No questions asked.

Forbidden Faux Pas

No-no: When removing a hat as a courtesy while being introduced, to have the lining face the other person.

What is done: The lining, once the hat is removed, is held toward you, not the other person.

If you’ve ever been a 15-year-old boy railing against the utter unfairness of the world, you probably included in your speech the absurdity that is the no-hat rule. Having never once been a 15-year-old boy myself, I can only recall the outbursts anecdotally but they involved a lot of passionate arguments about how arbitrary it was to: A) make someone take off a perfectly inoffensive hat in school, B) take off a perfectly inoffensive hat at dinner and C) take off a perfectly inoffensive hat period, full stop. The crux of the argument, as you can see, is that a hat is perfectly inoffensive. There is nothing actually obscene about hats. Unless you’re wearing an obscene hat, in which case you should take off your hat. Grow up, man.

Bad news for the boys, however. Long ago and far away, there was a really decent reason that men were asked to doff their caps. Knights, you see, would be considered unfriendly or aggressive if they didn’t show their smiling face to the public. In order to give everyone a good look at their toothy, hero grins they’d have to lift up their visors [source: Emily Post]. And while this is a quite reasonable reason for the origin of the hat-doff, any 15-year-old boy could tell this is an utter nonsense excuse for asking him to take off his hat today.

So that goes a little way towards answering why hats are so inherently rude. And unfortunately for high school boys everywhere, we’re not here today to decide if the rule should be abolished. Because the truth is, the rules are pretty clear: Gentlemen are not to wear hats indoors. Pretty much . ever. The exception might be something like the elevator or the lobby of a building [source: Miss Manners]. I’m just going to go ahead and boldly add my own exemptions, which are indoor sporting stadiums because it just doesn’t seem right to have to take off your hat at the monster truck rally.

Now here’s the thing. We’ve talked glibly about hats like they’re just in the male domain. But ladies wear hats too, and they are given insanely lenient rules compared to men. Basically, women are allowed to wear hats indoors, outdoors — wherever you please, unless it’s rudely blocking the view of someone else [source: Emily Post].

But here’s the catch. That in no way means that ladies get to wear their Red Sox caps to church. Because this rule only applies to “fashion hats” and not hats that could be considered unisex or too casual.

You can tell a lot about a man by the way he wears a hat. Everything from how comfortable he feels in a hat to how experienced he is at wearing different types of hats. A man can use a hat to give others insight into his current mood. A hat pulled down low on the forehead gives off a signal that a man either has something to hide or ain’t up for no tomfoolery that day; a hat cocked to the side usually indicates a pretty even mood; and a hat pushed back on the head exposing the entire face indicates that a man is inviting approach, but beware, his approachability could be due to friendliness, cockiness, or liquor. When it comes to hats though, you learn the most about a man by his etiquette in relation to it. More than his chosen occupation or the family he comes from, his manner with a hat gives insight to the man that lies within. Take heed of the man with poor hat etiquette.

That brings me to this entry’s film. The original Cape Fear from 1962 starred Gregory Peck (Sam Bowden) and Robert Mitchum (Max Cady). Cady is a deranged ex-con from Bowden’s past who stops at nothing to cause trouble for Bowden and his family. Throughout the film, Cady is seen smugly wearing a Panama hat. That hat, in itself, is almost another character in the film. Unlike most felt fedoras, a Panama is light in color, casual in nature, and cuts through a summer day like an aberrant breeze. These qualities stand in stark contrast to Cady’s foreboding nature. Even more foretelling of his evil intentions than Cady’s cloaked threats is his lack of any etiquette surrounding his hat. Cady is a brute and a shrewd one at that. There isn’t an ounce of gentleman in him.

Sam Bowden, on the other had, is a man trained in the higher orders of the mind. He is a man of reason, law, and order. He believes in the writ of habeas corpus as a cornerstone of American jurisprudence and that no man should be denied his rights without due process. Bowden has based his life on such high ideals, but he finds himself torn between remaining civilized or trusting his primordial, gut instincts. Such is the state of man.

Anyone who has ever visited Savannah, Georgia, or plans to in the future will appreciate how little certain parts of the city have changed since they were used as the backdrops to many of the scenes in this film. City hall, the squares, Forsyth Park, and the opulent Armstrong House, they’re all captured in Cape Fear. And what a treat it is to see them all decorated with well-dressed people in classic style. You’ll need everything from city suits to classic windbreakers and banded polo shirts to pull off the looks you’ll see in this one. A pair of Vibram soled shoes or boots and a cotton, khaki safari jacket should also be thrown in if you plan on a few waterway stakeouts anytime soon. Oh, and the next time you are in Savannah, run a stick along the fence surrounding the Armstrong house. You might catch a whiff of cigar smoke causing you to jerk ‘round looking for a man in a Panama hat.

The subject often comes up at living histories and vintage dances of when a gentleman should wear a hat and when he should remove it. While the stuff they told me in the Army about “Hats on outdoors–hats off indoors” is not a bad rule of thumb, in historical practice, it wasn’t always that simple.

I am addressing issues of what you do with a hat depending on where you are. When you remove your hat in the presence of ladies is another matter entirely.

How to practice male hat etiquetteI will confine myself to the 19th and 20th Centuries. In pre-French Revolutionary Europe, there were so many rules relating to social hierarchy, that it requires a separate discussion. I will also preface this by observing that Americans, especially in the first half of the 19th Century, were notorious for their rough manners, and the presence of hats on men in theaters, homes and the floor of the US Senate, was commented upon unfavorably by foreigners.

Generally, for the 19th Century man, the hat remained on outdoors, and in fact, a man outdoors without a hat would be a subject of comment (sorry dashing young Hollywood hunks). However, once indoors, the topic gets a little muddier.

The decider seemed to be the public/private nature of the space. In a public space like a train station, hotel lobby, a saloon or a public dance hall, the hat usually remained on. It is very striking in the numerous paintings of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, that all the men have their top hats glued to their heads, even when sitting at tables with apparently respectable ladies. The only thing that seems to get them off their heads is a swift kick from a high stepping can-can dancer. Probably one major consideration in a place as crowded and turbulent as the Moulin Rouge, or a saloon or chop house, is that there really was no safe place to leave the hat, and the hands had drinks to lift and other work to do.

The same hattedness applied to patrons at retail establishments. The customers kept their hats on, though the staff generally did not wear hats while working. In an office, both employees and visitors would remove their hats, and a well managed office would provide a place for such things to be stowed.

It appears that in situations when hands were likely to be full of luggage or merchandise or other cargo, a gentleman did not need to find additional space in his hands to hold his hat.

However, in more respectable spaces like restaurants (as opposed to chop houses) the hats would be removed before taking one’s seat. Proper sorts of establishments provided convenient pegs upon which hats and other impedimenta could be hung.

How to practice male hat etiquetteOrators would also remove their hats while speaking–even when outdoors, so that the audience might observe their facial expressions. This proved fatal for President W.H. Harrison. In theaters also, the hat would be removed once the gentleman took his seat, if only out of consideration for those sitting behind. Ideally, it would be checked with the topcoat in the cloakroom (an essential part of any respectable establishment of yore – but largely extinct in 21st Century California). Lacking a cloak room, the hat would be held in the lap. A gentleman might also not trust a cloak room to deliver HIS black top hat to him out of the legions of identical black top hats. For such non-trusting gents, the collapsible opera hat was developed.

However, in private spaces, the rules were different. When entering a home a hat was generally removed immediately upon entering (and given to a servant if one were present). In a brief visit, such as a “call of ceremony”, the hat would be removed, but retained in the hand.

Hats would also be removed when entering private clubs.

Also, with a special relevance to current “dress-up” activities, hats would never be worn in a ballroom at a respectable private or subscription ball (such as the Social Daunce Irregulars Victorian Ball), though hats could be worn if dancing outdoors, or while spinning a floozy around the floor in a dockside dive.

Note that the same rules apply to military and non-military gentlemen.

A final note: to mitigate “hat hair”, hair oil was widely worn.

Related Posts

How to practice male hat etiquette

(This is a reposte and update of a post on my old blog from 2007)

As the popularity in hats increases, several generations of men are now confused on how to properly wear, and, just as importantly, not wear, a hat.

Andy Gilchrist, founder of Ask Andy About Clothes and sartorial maven, offers several tips on hat etiquette:

A hat should be removed when inside, except for public areas such as lobbies, corridors and non-residential elevators. When a lady is present in an elevator, the hat must be removed.

A hat must be removed for the National Anthem, passing of the Flag and funeral processions, outdoor weddings, dedications, and photographs.

It is acceptable for women to wear hats in Christian churches, (it was once required, but the custom has all but disappeared) but disrespectful for men to wear them.

Never hold the hat so that the lining is visible.

Tip your hat by lifting it slightly off of your forehead. You should tip it when meeting a lady or to say to anyone, male or female: thank you, excuse me, hello, goodbye, you’re welcome or how do you do. Tipping the hat is a gesture of politeness.

I’d like to add one more suggestion. If you are unsure of the situation, display your gentlemanly manners by removing your hat. No one will ever be displeased by a sign of respect.

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Since 1962 when David and Dorothy Morgan started the company, David Morgan has been a family owned and operated mail order business presenting traditional, quality items discovered in the pursuit of their own personal interests. In addition to jewelry from the Pacific Northwest and their own line of Celtic jewelry, David Morgan offers Akubra® hats from Australia, a range of quality leathergoods, Tilley hats, clothing and luggage, and much more. Many David Morgan suppliers are also family run, putting their personal integrity behind their goods.

08/11/2019

Wondering where it is appropriate to wear a hat as a man? Hats are a wonderful accessory that can provide the perfect finishing touch to a whole range of different outfits. Whether smart or casual, there’s a hat for almost every type of occasion. Some people are bigger on them than others, but either way, there are some rights and wrongs when it comes to wearing them. One of the biggest lessons to learn is where they should and should not be worn. Read on to find out the places you should never wear a hat.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Hats are cool! But there is some places its totally inappropriate to wear one.

Hat Etiquette- Top places it’s still not appropriate to wear a hat

Job Interview

First impressions go a hell of a long way when it comes to job interviews. Most prospective employers make their minds up very quickly about you. So sitting there under a hat is going to tell them you either think you’re too good for the role, or just obsessed with yourself. Wear it on the way there by all means – but if you don’t take it off you’ll just look unprofessional. If your unsure about what to wear to a job interview, theres a handy guide to interview attire here.

First date

Unless your first date is attending the opening day of Ascot (that’s what you’d call setting the bar high) then leave your hat at home. The other person wants to get to know you and will only be distracted by this ‘thing’ sitting on top of your head – no matter how cool you think it makes you look. It just puts the attention onto you, when really, the other person feels they will deserve it just as much.

At a funeral

There’s nothing nice about attending a funeral. Even if it isn’t someone especially close to you. But while you are there you have to show respect for the deceased and those in mourning – and rocking a hat shows anything but that. You might disagree, but the consensus is that its not appropriate to wear a hat at a funeral. If you wear one upon arrival then be sure to take it off when you are there – especially when the family of the deceased is near.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Its not appropriate to wear a hat at work- unless a hat is part of your work uniform of course!

At work

You probably won’t last very long if you stroll into work wearing a hat every day. Unless you’re one of those lucky hipsters working in a creative company of some sort. For more formal work settings wearing a hat is a big no-no. The last thing you need is to be talking to HR about flouting dress code policies and forced to memorize the work handbook. Can you wear a hat on ‘dress down Fridays? You might get lucky on dress-down Fridays, but it’s probably not worth the hassle. Anyway, most people you work with wouldn’t know style if it hit them in the face, so leave your fashion statements for the weekend.

At a fancy restaurant

Most high-end restaurants have a dress code of some sort and you can rest assured they will not be in favor of customers wearing hats. The bigger question is, why do you feel the need to wear one while you are eating? You are inside an insulated building and you should be warm enough – unless it’s a pop-up in the middle of Antarctica. Just take one look around and you’ll see no-one else is wearing one – and neither should you. It may seem a dated idea, but its still not appropriate to wear a hat at the dinner table, let alone a fancy restaurant.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Wearing a hat on holiday is a different ball game. Hats when travelling = no rules apply

When its appropriate to wear a hat

As a gentle reminder, we’ve included a small list of places where it would be normal to wear a hat. When it’s appropriate for a man to wear a hat:

  • on holiday
  • going swimming
  • on a cold day
  • at the gym
  • on the weekends
  • in a casual bar
  • when its part of your work uniform

Are you using hats to hide hair loss?

We get it. Wearing a hat can act as a mask to shield you from dealing with a receding hairline, balding spots or thinning hair. Its a lot easier to whip on a baseball cap or beanie instead of battling with your remaining hair in front of a mirror.

How to practice male hat etiquette

Not leaving the house without your hat could be a sign you are hiding behind it.

While it’s perfectly normal to reach for your favorite hat on a bad hair day, it’s not ok to completely avoid places because you don’t want to show your hair. Hair loss sucks; it can feel powerless, deflate your confidence and stress you out. But when it affects your everyday life, stopping you from going to a fancy restaurant or club without your hat, for example, it may be time to address the situation.

Scalp Micropigmentation is a non-surgical hair loss solution that can give you your freedom back. By choosing to opt for a shaved head look, you no longer have to hide or style your hair. The shaved head look is effortless, timeless and smart. Learn more about scalp micro pigmentation the hairline tattoo that can recreate a full head of shaved hair.

Have you noticed how often men wear their hats indoors? This is a breach of etiquette that some men don’t seem to know about. And it’s always surprising to me how many people do not remove their baseball caps when the National Anthem is sung. Hats are worn less now, but at the turn of the twentieth century, most adults wore hats whenever they left the house. Then, men tipped their hats to others as a gesture of politeness, though this is considered old-fashioned today.

JFK changed everything by making it stylish to go hatless (he was the first president not to wear a brimmed hat for outdoor presidential occasions) though baseball caps, trucker caps, bicycle caps, ski caps, Panama hats, and porkpie hats are popular these days. Whatever kind of hat is worn, there are still rules about when to take your hat off. The rules are fewer today (it’s okay to wear a hat in the presence of a woman, for example), but not knowing when to take your hat off can make you appear rude, unsophisticated or both. Here are the basic rules of hat etiquette:

Hat Etiquette for Men

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  • Removing your hat is considered to be a gesture of respect for certain occasions and in certain places. Keeping your hat on during these occasions and in these places (see below) is a gesture of disrespect.
  • All hats, including baseball caps and knit caps, should be removed when the wearer is indoors, including in private homes and restaurants, however informal, except for public places such as lobbies, corridors, and elevators.
  • Hats should be removed during the singing of the National Anthem, the passing of the American flag and funeral processions, and during formal outdoor occasions such as weddings and dedications.
  • After removing your hat, hold it so that the inside of the hat is toward you and not visible to others.
  • Some people believe that it’s bad luck to put a hat on a bed, so when you take your hat off in someone’s home, look for a hat rack or some other place to put it.

Hat Etiquette for Women

  • If you’re wearing what is traditionally thought of as a man’s hat, such as a baseball cap or a Panama hat, you should follow all the rules for men, above.
  • Hats traditionally thought of as “women’s hats,” with ribbons, bows, feathers, flowers, or other ornamentation, or in delicate colors and materials, including the small hats worn on the front of the head and known as fascinators, may be kept on indoors for all occasions, except when you’re wearing a large hat at the movies, the theatre, or any other kind of performance event. In this case, remove it and place it on your lap so that people behind you can see the stage.

I would like to teach my teenage son the traditional customs for when he should remove his hat and when it is acceptable to keep it on. Do traditional men’s hat etiquette rules still apply, or have they changed with the times?

The timeless tradition of men’s hat etiquette is a social grace worthy of passing along.

Times have changed and some may think we have strayed far away from tradition. The truth is even today, in most situations, wearing a hat indoors is still considered poor etiquette.

Your son would benefit from being aware that these guidelines exist. It will also benefit your son to understand why the tradition is in place. It has nothing to do with social position or income level. It involves respect.

Traditional guidelines are pretty clear. There definitely are places where it is still considered rude and disrespectful for a man to keep his hat on.

You can begin by explaining that all hats, including baseball hats, should be removed when indoors. This includes the homes of friends and family, and in public places like restaurants and places of worship (unless a hat or head covering is required).

A lesser-known social situation that warrants removing one’s hat is when an introduction is made, indoors or out.

A strict rule of Western etiquette worthy of sharing exists in the United States Flag Code. It advises men to remove their hats during the playing and singinf of “The National Anthem.” This rule applies indoors and outside. It’s a longtime sign of respect and one of those etiquette rules that hopefully never goes out of style.

Hat etiquette rules may have faded because we live in a much more casual world than decades past. The rules are a little looser now.

If your son becomes overwhelmed with all the rules, encourage him that, when in doubt to fall back on tradition and remove his hat out of respect for others.

Have a question? Email: [email protected] Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2021 Jacquelyn Youst

RULES OF THE HAT

This year I broke a rule I didn’t know I’d made: no hats at home. It wasn’t intentional, I realized, but over the years hats, like shorts, had become things to wear only in warmer climes (which is to say: not Britain). There were a couple of practical reasons for the change. One was my aforementioned DIY haircutting woes; another was the travel restrictions which made longer-distance trips distinctly more complicated.

A day or two after breaking my accidental covenant, with a navy blue baseball cap in wool flannel (as I said, British weather), I realized the error of my ways. It was versatile, unfussy, and soon began to feel necessary. Why had I ever deprived myself? It’s not like I now had to catch outfield balls (is that right?) But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: rules on headwear run deep in Anglo culture.

You’re probably thinking that I mean social conventions, but sometimes the law gets involved. Collectors of unusual laws like to cite various state codes making it “unlawful to wear a hat or any other covering of the head which obstructs the view of other persons in any theater,” but most hat laws are more about commerce than fashion. The Hat Act of 1732 was a piece of colonial British legislation intended to protect domestic hatmakers from competition from their North American counterparts by restricting their rights to export products and take on apprentices. (Not to be confused with the Hatch Act, which concerns unfair advantages of a different kind.) On a happier and less monopolistic note, in 1879 a Michigan public health law created an obligation for railroad corporations to “provide a uniform hat or cap” for employees (though it also provided for fines if they didn’t wear it).

Then we come to the etiquette manuals. The high-toned De Benneville Randolph Keim wrote in 1889 that “under all circumstances of private life or public occasion the greatest courtesy is for a gentleman to raise his hat or to remove it entirely if the occasion be appropriate.” And when is that, you ask? Primarily when encountering ladies, but also “a civil officer of very high rank.”

Fellow manners expert Eliza Bisbee Duffey concurs. “A gentleman never sits in the house with his hat on in the presence of ladies. Indeed, a gentleman instinctively removes his hat as soon as he enters a room the habitual resort of ladies.” On the other hand, EBD also advises with great seriousness: “never lean your head against the wall as you may disgust your wife or hostess by soiling the paper of her room,” so you might want to take that with a pinch of salt.

Hat anxieties are surprisingly long-lived. A century later in Clothes and the Man, Alan Flusser declares gravely that “hat wearing, with its Old World flavor, carries with it a body of etiquette that should be respected. This is both the pleasure and the responsibility it gives the wearer.”

Hat etiquette easily becomes hat prejudice. This passage appears in a 2004 guide for graduate students, which I won’t name for the sake of the authors: “Baseball caps are very useful to supervisors since they are usually a good indicator of a student whose dissertation should be supervised by somebody else (preferably a loathed colleague).” One problem with baseball cap kids, we learn, is that they favor “any research topic involving the internet.” The authors are, perhaps to their misfortune, professors of computer science.

But these haughty complaints pale in comparison to the obsession—verging on madness—around the close of the nineteenth century concerning straw hats. Specifically, when in late summer to stop wearing them. Many American towns and workplaces declared a straw hat (or white hat) day each year, after which their use was punished with mockery and sometimes destruction. By the afternoon on white hat day 1877 at the New York Stock Exchange, “at least one-third of the brokers doing business on the floor were bareheaded, and dozens of crushed white hats were whirling in the air or ornamenting the gas brackets,” one newspaper reported. Local papers around the North East and Midwest observe heated arguments, mayoral interventions, and on occasions, riots.

In 1895, the Autumnal Straw Hat Association formed in Boston to defend victimized headwear. Thankfully, we have little need of their services and every reason to indulge on a sunny afternoon all year round. Now I just need to see about the shorts.

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    by Alexander Freeling

    This year I broke a rule I didn’t know I’d made: no hats at home. It wasn’t intentional, I realized, but over the years hats, like shorts, had become things to wear only in warmer climes (which is to say: not Britain). There were a couple of practical reasons for the change. One was my aforementioned DIY haircutting woes; another was the travel restrictions which made longer-distance trips distinctly more complicated.

    A day or two after breaking my accidental covenant, with a navy blue baseball cap in wool flannel (as I said, British weather), I realized the error of my ways. It was versatile, unfussy, and soon began to feel necessary. Why had I ever deprived myself? It’s not like I now had to catch outfield balls (is that right?) But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: rules on headwear run deep in Anglo culture.

    You’re probably thinking that I mean social conventions, but sometimes the law gets involved. Collectors of unusual laws like to cite various state codes making it “unlawful to wear a hat or any other covering of the head which obstructs the view of other persons in any theater,” but most hat laws are more about commerce than fashion. The Hat Act of 1732 was a piece of colonial British legislation intended to protect domestic hatmakers from competition from their North American counterparts by restricting their rights to export products and take on apprentices. (Not to be confused with the Hatch Act, which concerns unfair advantages of a different kind.) On a happier and less monopolistic note, in 1879 a Michigan public health law created an obligation for railroad corporations to “provide a uniform hat or cap” for employees (though it also provided for fines if they didn’t wear it).

    Then we come to the etiquette manuals. The high-toned De Benneville Randolph Keim wrote in 1889 that “under all circumstances of private life or public occasion the greatest courtesy is for a gentleman to raise his hat or to remove it entirely if the occasion be appropriate.” And when is that, you ask? Primarily when encountering ladies, but also “a civil officer of very high rank.”

    Fellow manners expert Eliza Bisbee Duffey concurs. “A gentleman never sits in the house with his hat on in the presence of ladies. Indeed, a gentleman instinctively removes his hat as soon as he enters a room the habitual resort of ladies.” On the other hand, EBD also advises with great seriousness: “never lean your head against the wall as you may disgust your wife or hostess by soiling the paper of her room,” so you might want to take that with a pinch of salt.

    Hat anxieties are surprisingly long-lived. A century later in Clothes and the Man, Alan Flusser declares gravely that “hat wearing, with its Old World flavor, carries with it a body of etiquette that should be respected. This is both the pleasure and the responsibility it gives the wearer.”

    Hat etiquette easily becomes hat prejudice. This passage appears in a 2004 guide for graduate students, which I won’t name for the sake of the authors: “Baseball caps are very useful to supervisors since they are usually a good indicator of a student whose dissertation should be supervised by somebody else (preferably a loathed colleague).” One problem with baseball cap kids, we learn, is that they favor “any research topic involving the internet.” The authors are, perhaps to their misfortune, professors of computer science.

    But these haughty complaints pale in comparison to the obsession—verging on madness—around the close of the nineteenth century concerning straw hats. Specifically, when in late summer to stop wearing them. Many American towns and workplaces declared a straw hat (or white hat) day each year, after which their use was punished with mockery and sometimes destruction. By the afternoon on white hat day 1877 at the New York Stock Exchange, “at least one-third of the brokers doing business on the floor were bareheaded, and dozens of crushed white hats were whirling in the air or ornamenting the gas brackets,” one newspaper reported. Local papers around the North East and Midwest observe heated arguments, mayoral interventions, and on occasions, riots.

    In 1895, the Autumnal Straw Hat Association formed in Boston to defend victimized headwear. Thankfully, we have little need of their services and every reason to indulge on a sunny afternoon all year round. Now I just need to see about the shorts.