Hat Etiquette

New to hats, or even if you're well-versed and keep them as a staple to your everyday look, sometimes it's hard to discern when it's fine to keep your hat on and when it's more polite to take it off.

Hat etiquette can be fairly nuanced, and now in the 21st century, some of it even a bit out of date, but learning the many different points can make for an actual touch of fun while also showing off some savvy to your peers. Here's some quick tips to keep in mind as you don your hat!

For Gentlemen:

  1. Generally hats should be removed when going inside restaurants or cafes and being seated at tables or booths. However, if opting to sit at the bar, this is more flexible and one may keep his hat on.
  2. Hats should be removed (even baseball caps) during the National Anthem, during the pass of the national flag in a parade or a funeral procession. 
  3. If in a public space like a lobby, elevator, corridor, public transport, it's perfectly fine to keep your hat on; however, when you enter places that are considered private spaces like someone's office, home or apartment, it is more polite to take one's hat off.
  4. If going inside a theater, it's appropriate to take your hat off so as to not obscure anyone's view.
  5. Men generally do not wear their hat inside a religious establishment unless keeping your heat covered is part of your religious practice.
  6. 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. Likewise, it is generally considered an act of charming courtesy and respect for men to remove their hats in the presence of a woman.

For Ladies:

  1. It is generally acceptable for ladies to keep their hats on whether indoors or out because they are considered an accessory not unlike a piece of jewelry that is meant to complete their outfit for the day or occasion. The exclusion to this is of course rain hats or any thicker hats meant for warmth whilst outside like knits. 
  2. Their hats may likewise remain on if considered a "fashion" hat and not something unisex like a baseball cap during the National Anthem, the pass of the national flag, or funeral procession. 
  3. If their hat is obscuring someone's view at the theater or any other venue, it is still considered more appropriate to take your hat off. Don't be that lady, lady!

Other Tips:

Once your hat has been removed, you should hold your hat in your hand such a way that only the outside is visible, the easiest is to rest it against your chest if standing, or on your knee or lap if seated. Never reveal the inside lining of your hat.

It's also considered a bit rude to touch someone's hat without approval--so please keep your hands to yourself!