When To Remove Hat? (12 Tips)

remove hat
A gentleman should take his hat off indoors and at formal events. Women can ignore these rules and only take it off when blocking people's view, working, or wearing a unisex hat. Exceptions to the hat-removing etiquette rules include cultural and religious headwear, public areas, and casual settings.

1. Sign of Respect

man removing his hat
Man removing his hat

Men should take their hats off when entering someone’s house, a place of worship, a restaurant, or a public building like a courthouse or a library.

Men should also do it in formal events, during the national anthem, or when the national flag is displayed. This is because hat-removing etiquette started during medieval times. Knights had to take their helmets off for identification and as a sign of respect.

Women’s hat etiquette has looser rules, and they can leave their hats on most of the time if they are wearing fashion hats. In the U.S., it is even a tradition for women to wear enormous hats to attend church. But they should take their hats off inside if they are at work or if it is blocking the view.

2. Be Mindful of Cultural Context

Some religions and peoples have head coverings as part of their traditions, so they don’t need removal. Never ask people to take their religious or cultural head coverings off. It is important to recognize this headwear and respect these beliefs. Check out some cultural and religious headwear:

  • Muslim women wear the niqab, hijab, and others. Muslim men wear turbans, kufis, and others, like the keffiyeh, which inspired the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup mascot.
  • Catholic nuns wear veils, and bishops wear miters.
  • The Orthodox Christian clergy wears Epanokalimavkion.
  • Jewish women wear Tichels, and Jewish men wear Kippahs.
  • Sikhs wear the dastār.
  • Amish women wear bonnets, but Amish men only wear their distinct hats outside.
  • Indigenous people wear headdresses.

3. Keep Your Hat On

Everyone can keep their hats on outside. Gentlemen can leave their hats on in elevators, public transportation, hotel lobbies, and other places that resemble public streets. At airports, post offices, and other public buildings like these, it is also appropriate to keep the hat on.

Some professionals, like soldiers, masons, and firefighters, must keep their hats on. Health professionals wear bouffant caps, and cooks wear chef’s hats and hair nets for hygiene reasons.

Discretion and judgment are important. Even in these places and situations, people may need to take off their hats for events like funeral processions or a national anthem performance.

4. Remove Your Hat Indoors

Men’s hat etiquette dictates a man should take his hat off indoors unless they are an athletic event. Women don’t have to follow such rules. But if they are wearing unisex headwear, such as baseball caps or cowboy hats, or if the hat is only for warmth or it is a rain hat, they should be respectful and take their hats off indoors.

5. Remove Your Hat During Meals

hat placed on table for meal
Hat placed on table for meal

Women don’t have to remove their hats at the dinner table, but men do. It doesn’t matter if the luncheon is indoors or outdoors. This shows respect for the people who are keeping you company.

6. Keep It Casual

If you wear a baseball hat at a sporting event, there’s no problem. Casual settings allow for some bending of strict etiquette rules. If you are at a friend’s house, and they don’t care about you wearing the hat, keep it. Just make sure everyone feels respected.

7. Don’t Wear Offensive Hats

Don’t wear hats with offensive messages and hate symbols. If your hat has a drawing of a symbol you don’t know, research it. Even numbers can be inappropriate. For example, the numbers 88 and 777 are nazi codes. Also, cultural and religious headwear is not for people who are not from that culture. Wearing such hats may hurt others.

9. Follow the Dress Code

Follow dress code guidelines in professional or formal settings. Dress codes create aesthetic harmony. So a couple who sets a dress code for their wedding wants everyone to look beautiful together in the photos. A company with a dress code wants its employees to represent the brand together.

Check the specific hat rules in these situations. This way, you’ll look more polite and professional, allowing you to blend with the group.

10. Keep Still

Avoiding fidgeting with your hat or headwear during social or professional interactions if you can. You’ll distract others. So try to keep calm to meet new people. It will make you look professional and confident.

11. Hats & Hair

Consider your hairstyle before wearing a hat. If you have voluminous hair, you can divide your hair and keep most of it outside the hat to protect it. If you have the straightest hair, use hair clips to prevent the hat from falling. But don’t even use a hat if you have these hairstyles and must take it off too often.

12. Take It Off!

Be prepared to take your hat off in appropriate situations. Your actions have an impact on others and by showing respect for others’ traditions and beliefs, you can help create a positive and inclusive environment.

Ana C.

Ana C. is an artistic writer who loves shaping language around her message. For her, etiquette is about respecting everyone and spreading kindness. She loves hanging out with goats, analyzing TV shows, and eating feijoada with farofa.

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