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What is the etiquette of wearing a hat?

Except In Public Places: You may wear a hat indoors (yeh… even a baseball cap if you absolutely must) in public buildings, such as airports, public lobbies, and crowded public elevators. However, historically a gentleman will always remove his hat when a lady enters or is in the same elevator. We don’t see this much anymore. When in an apartment building, even though somewhat public, gentlemen will take off their hats while in the company of ladies… another dying art.


Motley Muse


[SIDE BAR:  A foreign visitor kept seeing Americans wearing their baseball caps indoors, and at times backward. He determined this style indicated a direct correlation to the wearer’s apparent I.Q (intelligence quotient). Wearing a baseball cap indoors meant an I.Q. was reduced by 50%. Wearing the cap backward meant an I.Q. was reduced by another 50%… so what’s left? These findings make total sense to me.]

During a Pledge or National Anthem: Another major peeve of mine is how men and women don’t take off their hats and caps during the playing of a national anthem. Regardless of which country’s anthem is played, hats must come off, period.  Parents… please train your kids!

During a Prayer at a Ceremony or Event: Display your respect and take off your hat.

In Places of Worship: Some places of worship require head coverings for both men and women, such as Muslim mosques and Sikh temples. Do your research or ask someone before entering such places of worship. Women should always pack one large scarf and one long skirt when traveling internationally for such a need to cover their heads. I sure needed them in both Mexico and Greece.

At a Church: Historically churches required women to wear hats or scarves. Now, it is not as required. However, some churches encourage women to wear hats, and in some places, it has become quite a lovely display across the entire sanctuary. It is considered disrespectful for men to wear hats in a Christian church.

At a Jewish Synagogue or Temple: Men are required to cover their heads with a “yarmulke,” a small round skullcap, also called a “kippah,” meaning dome or cupola. There is great symbolism and deep meaning behind wearing a yarmulke. Observant men wear theirs during all waking hours, except when bathing and swimming. Doing so bears witness to their faith. It’s a constant reminder of their humility before God and strong belief in something greater than themselves.

How to Take off a Hat: When taking off your hat, hold it so only the outside of the hat shows, not the inside and lining. Hold it in your right hand across your chest and heart, or place it on your seat while standing tall and respectfully.


People in Uniform: People in the military, Boy Scouts, police, and people in other uniformed organizations keep their hats on during “full dress.” Many other interesting regulations about hat-wearing in the military exist, so hat etiquette is a required course in the military.

People with religious and medical requirements.  In this instance, people will choose specific head coverings that may be worn anywhere, indoors and out.

Women’s Fashion Hats: Traditionally, women wearing fashion hats are not required to take them off when indoors. That said, unless they are small and tight around the head, they too should be removed when at a dining table. at a theatre, sporting event, or other places where they may hamper someone’s view or be disruptive to others. Large hats are generally for the outdoors, not indoors. Think hat civility!

Question of the month: Have you ever been the subject of or a witness to someone being disrespectful or rude by wearing their hat inappropriately? If so, I’d love to hear from you.  Enter your comments and questions below for me to reply.



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