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Hat Ettiquette


The popularity and function of headwear in society has changed significantly over time, and consequently, so has hat etiquette. Please refer to the guidelines below to better understand proper hat-wearing behavior.

Men Can Leave Hats On When

  • They are outside
  • At an athletic event, indoors or out
  • In public buildings like post offices, airports, or hotels
  • On public transportation
  • In elevators

Men Should Take Off Hats When

  • They are sitting down to eat a meal
  • In a house of worship unless required by religion
  • Public buildings like schools, town halls, and libraries
  • When the National Anthem is playing
  • In restaurants and cafes

There is discrepancy over things like taking hats off in restaurants. Should people follow the same rules in a fast food restaurant that they would at a five-star establishment? Probably not. This is an example of a situation where it’s difficult to draw boundaries, so you’ll just have to use your best judgment.
For men, the rules are the same whether wearing a fedora, western, or ivy cap. There is no distinction between hat styles when trying to figure out etiquette. Women, on the other hand, have a little more freedom to wear as they please. If they are donning fashionable hats, it is typically acceptable to wear them indoors if not in a work environment. They should also never block anybody’s view. When women wear unisex hats (like baseball caps, for example), they should basically follow the same guidelines listed above for men.

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