Etiquette Daily
hat on a bike

Hats: The who, when, and where of hats

August 30, 2018 0 Comments

Q: I was taught that men do not wear any type of hat/ball cap inside at any time, unless they are a Rabbi or the head covering is a formal part of their uniform. Where did this rule of respect start? Why has it fallen by the wayside? Everywhere I go, men/boys/teens are wearing hats inside a building. I do not allow it in my house. All of the boys on my son’s ball team know that wearing a hat in my house is a sign of disrespect and I tolerate no disrespect. (I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to manners.)

Any background would help, please? I still feel odd not covering my head when I enter a church – I was raised my early years in the Brethren Church, and Grandmother always had a handkerchief for me to cover my head with.

A: Hats are not the essential article of clothing they once were but are still worn by both sexes for fashion and for function. Knowing when to remove a hat is as important as wearing the right hat for the occasion. If you were a medieval night who failed to remove his helmet or lift his visor and identify himself the consequences could be fatal. During the industrial revolution, as capital and class structure became more fluid, a hat could serve to identify social standing. While these standards are no longer set, there are still guide lines to follow that take into account today’s casual culture.  The following shows when it’s fine to wear a hat and when it’s not.

hat on a bikeMen – Hats can be left on…

  • Outdoors
  • At athletic events
  • On public transportation
  • At religious services, as required
  • In public buildings (post office, airport, hotel/office lobbies)
  • On elevators

Men – Take hats off, including baseball caps…

  • In a home
  • Indoors at work, especially in an office
  • At mealtimes
  • In restaurants and coffee shops
  • At a movie or indoor performance
  • When the national anthem is played
  • When the flag of the United States passes by, as in a parade

Women – Hats and nonbaseball caps can be left on…

  • In a home
  • At luncheons, weddings, garden parties
  • At religious services
  • In a theater, movie, auditorium, or other large gathering place if no view is blocked
  • When the national anthem is played
  • When the flag of the United States passes by, as in a parade

Women take hats off…

  • Indoors at work, especially in an office
  • Anywhere hats may block other’s view

Women remove baseball-style (unisex) caps…

  • In a home
  • Indoors at work
  • At mealtimes, at the table
  • In restaurants and coffee shops
  • At a movie or play
  • When the national anthem is played
  • When the flag of the United States passes

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