When Should Men Remove their Hats? | Manners & Etiquette

President Calvin Coolidge tips his hat.

We’re getting into the warm and blustery days, and with that, Meredith Sweetpea has seen many a hat flipped from a gentleman’s head to skitter across the pavement. Perhaps it’s just Mother Nature’s way of asking them to tip their hats to the coming of Spring.

My own grandfather never left the house without his hat, he said it was to protect his bald pate, but I believe there was an air of formality there as well. He always wore a tie to Sunday dinner, after all.

So what are the rules of hat etiquette–or “hat-iquette”– for men?  Please note that even when removing his hat, a gentleman should never show the inside lining.

When should a man remove his hat?

Whether it’s a baseball cap, a derby or a bowler, there are times when a gentleman should remove his hat. This is a quick list of such times:

  • A man should remove his hat when indoors, preferable as he enters the room.
  • When saying goodbye to a woman or someone of higher status. He might tip or remove his hat when passing or meeting a woman. He would replace the hat on his head after a minute of speaking with the woman.
  • During a prayer or religious ceremony held outdoors.
  • During the National Anthem.
  • When the National Flag is passing by in a parade. He may replace the hat after the flag has passed.
  • During a funeral or while witnessing a funeral procession. (More comnon in European countries than in the U.S.)
  • When being addressed by someone.
  • He may tip his hat as part of a flirtation.
  • If the hat is blocking someone’s view, say, at an outdoor performance.
  • Hats should not be worn after dark.

More rules on removing your hat…

  • If the hat has a soft brim, remove it by holding it at the crown.
  • If the hat has a stiff brim, remove it by holding the brim.

When may a man leave his hat on?

On the other hand, there are times when it is perfectly acceptable for a man to continue wearing his hat, even when indoors. Here are some places where it can we worn:

  • In the main areas of a store or in a Western dance hall or saloon.
  • In public transport areas such as train stations.
  • In elevators, unless a woman is present.
  • If the hat is part of a performance.
  • If his hands are full and he cannot physically remove his hat.

Are baseball caps a special exception?

Nowadays, it seems that baseball caps are considered “part of the outfit,” and often are not subject to the same rules of hat-iquette. They should be removed during the National Anthem, however.

Now that we know the proper rules for hat wearing, is anyone up for a good game of croquet?


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