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Should I take off my hats indoors?

The modern etiquette of hat wearing

· French Etiquette

In Medieval Europe, knights who failed to remove their helmets in the presence of royalty, or even women, could face fatal consequence.

In the 19th century, men would leave their hats outside a building or a room to prevent the dust on it to fall on the floor.

It has been since then considered a sign of respect for men to take off a hat when greeting a lady or before going indoors.

Is it bad behavior to keep a hat on nowadays ? Let’s take a look !

Hat etiquette for gentlemen

Fashion guidelines for men have always been stricter than for ladies in history. Although many people would say hat etiquette for men is outdated, it is good to show some respect for traditions, and we will explain why.

Men are expected to remove hats when they enter someone’s home, at the office, when seating at a table in a restaurant or coffee shop, when being introduced to someone, at church or official buildings (university, city hall, police station...).

At the shopping mall, on the train, in a hotel lobby, in an airport or in the elevator, even though it is indoors, it is perfectly fine to keep a hat on.

Hat etiquette for ladies

Women’s fashion hats (with ribbons, flowers or in delicate materials such as fascinators) may always be kept on indoors, except when in a working environment or when they are large enough to block the view of other people in a theatre, cinema or museum.

There are some occasions and settings where hats are traditionally worn in the West, such as weddings, horse races or tennis competitions.

When wearing unisex hats like baseball caps or men’s hats, women should follow the same guidelines as for men.

Why should men’s hats be taken off indoors ?

Just like a coat, you put hats when you are going outdoors, either it’s to protect your face from the sun or simply to enhance your outfit.

Having your hat on indoor may suggest that you intend to leave, or that you are not staying. Your hosts or other people around might feel offended.

Elegant ladies hats worn as fashion accessories are an exception to this, as long as they don’t bother people around you.

What are tea hats ?

Since the middle of the 19th century, the traditional European tea party attire is semi-formal with women wearing small fascinator hats or large, extravagant and colorful hats, whether there are inside in a living-room or outside in a garden.

For men attending afternoon tea parties, a nice choice could be a classic Panama hat, an ivy cap or a boater hat.

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