Hat Etiquette for Men & Women

Royal Hats

Today, hats are not frequently worn like they were back in the day. At the turn of the 20th century, most adults wore hats whenever they left the house. But today, there are more people who are hatless partly because of John F. Kennedy’s fashion choices. JFK was the first president not to wear a brimmed hat for outdoor presidential occasions. Over the years with fashion trends shifting more towards hatless attire, it has been harder to learn proper hat etiquette for younger generations. If you’re wearing a hat, there are still rules about when to take it off – whether you follow them, that’s up to you. Just remember, not knowing when to take your hat off can make you appear rude, unsophisticated or both. Here are the basic rules of hat etiquette:

Prince William and Prince Harry
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 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. Although it is not necessary for the hat wearer to remove his hat in 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, 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.

Royal Women
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, other ornamentation, or in delicate colors and materials, including the small hats worn on the front of the head known as fascinators, may be kept on indoors for all occasions. But, when wearing a large hat at the movies, the theater, or any other kind of performance event remove the hat and place it on your lap so that people behind you can see the stage.


About the author

Kimi Sakamoto Kimi Sakamoto is the Social Marketing Coordinator for Village Hat Shop, an online retail leader in headwear and fashion accessories. In addition to managing the company's social media presence - including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram  - she is a regular contributor to The Hat Blog and its sister site - Less Chat, More Hat. Born and raised in California, Kimi enjoys spending time outdoors. You can find her on Google+ and Twitter.

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