Hat Etiquette: When is it Appropriate to Wear it or Take it Off?

Alongside being incredibly stylish, hats are functional as well! Complete your outfit with a hat while also protecting your face from the sun, keeping your hair out of the way, and regulating your body temperature.

However, there’s more to hats than just function and looks. You may be wondering about proper hat etiquette. When is it appropriate to wear it? When should I take it off?

Never feel unsure about your hat etiquette while you’re out and about. Let’s take a look at the general guidelines of hat etiquette. 

When You Should Wear a Hat

You can enjoy wearing a hat in most outdoor settings. This may include parks, outdoor events, and public areas. There are hats for every occasion! Wear baseball caps for outdoor activities, gardening caps for gardening, and so much more. You may also wear hats in particular indoor settings, such as:

  • Airports
  • Train stations
  • Elevators 
  • Public transportation 
  • Long indoor corridors

For feminine outfits, hats become an extension of the outfit. Pair wide-brimmed hats with your favorite summer staples, or fur caps with your winter getup. Taking the time to make your hat part of a cohesive outfit is etiquette in itself!

When You Should Take Your Hat Off

There are some gender-specific etiquette rules to follow as well, so take notes!

No matter the style, men should not wear hats indoors. Here are some indoor venues that are traditionally considered inappropriate for hat-wearing:

  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Homes
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Theaters
  • Most business establishments, especially if you’re the one conducting business

It is also courteous for men to take off their hats in the presence of a lady, no matter where they are. Other occasions a man should remove his hat for are:

  • During the national anthem
  • While eating a meal at a table
  • Movies
  • Weddings
  • Funerals
  • Dedications
  • Taking photographs

For ladies, common hat etiquette practices include removing your hat if you’re inconveniencing someone. For example: if you’re at the movie theater and your hat is blocking the view of another person, you should remove it. Women should also remove their fashionable hats while working, during the national anthem, and being introduced to someone. 

That said, when wearing more casual or functional hats, such as baseball caps, women should follow the same rules as men.

Other Guidelines Worth Mentioning

Let’s take a quick look at a few more hat etiquette guidelines that are definitely worth mentioning:

  • Never reveal the inner lining of your hat. When removed, hold your hat in your hand without showing the inner lining.
  • If you don’t feel like completely removing your hat while being introduced to someone, you don’t have to. Slightly lift your hat off of your head with a gracious smile and nod. Or, tip the hat by gently grabbing the brim and slightly pulling it down. This method is less formal, but still polite.
  • If you’re a gentleman and your hat has any ornamentations, they should be on the left side. If you’re a lady, your ornamentations should be on the right side. Ornamentations include feathers, bows, flowers, and anything else that can attach to the side of a hat.

We hope that you enjoyed our Hat Etiquette 101 lesson! Feel confident and gracious while you go out on the town in your hat. Keep your face shaded in the sun. And, most importantly, try different styles and have fun building your hat collection.


Author bio:

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness.

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