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Hatiquette: Rules for Wearing Hats

August 11, 2010

Flummoxed Over Hat Etiquette

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal addresses the fedora-trend and how hipsters are bucking against the old guard of etiquette. “Why should I have to remove my hat indoors?” and “Who cares?” Both questions are worth asking, I think. Etiquette without basis just becomes random arbitrary rules, and it defeats the purpose of the guidelines in the first place.

The original reason for having to remove your hat while indoors has to do with knights and chivalry, and getting a lance in the eye or something. Also, something about women needing men to be bareheaded? I don’t know. Sounds pretty outdated to me.  But, before you go running out to nice restaurants and grandma’s house, with your favorite chapeau, saying “But Erica from You Should Only Know said it’s old news!” – I think there is still a reason to remove your hat indoors. Sometimes.

Why? Well, I guess partially because some people still think its rude. Reflexively. But more of it is because – it’s sometimes hard to see a hat-wearer’s face and eyes when you are speaking to them.

I’m admittedly not the most fashion-forward dresser, and I prefer my clothing to be more functional than fancy, so to me? Wearing a hat while indoors serves zero purpose (as it’s certainly not protecting your skin or hair from the sun) and it just seems … affected.

Hat Advice from A Fashion Expert

Because I am admittedly, not an expert on fashion, I found someone who is. Keren Form is the Design Director at Hyp Hats, a design company in NYC. She is very, very excited about hats coming back in fashion. She’s been waiting for this for awhile (Hey, it takes all kinds!). As someone who respects the whole “hat as part of a ‘look’ thing” she offered the following Erica-approved tips and guidelines on hat wearing (this applies to both men and women. Equality, people.)

Keren says: “ I believe that a hat such as a fedora worn in a “dressy” sense should be acceptable indoors, unless better accommodations are provided, such as hat racks, etc” (Ed note: This means if there is a hat rack, it means your host wants you to remove your hat. Comply. You are a guest.)

Keren is a firm believer in removing your hat for eating dinner. There are always exceptions – McDonald’s and fast food? Leave your hat on, its fine. But if you needed a reservation, don’t need a key for the bathroom or the napkins aren’t placed in a dispenser? Remove your hat. Especially if you are involved in a conversation with someone. Eye contact!

What should be made clear, is that these are rules for hats that go with your outfit. Hats that say “I took pride in what I am wearing, and thought out my accessory choices.” A fedora can add a bit of class to your outfit – it shows you thought about how you were presenting yourself.  Baseball caps? According to Keren (and this is a direct quote!) “I think a baseball cap is a sloppy head covering. It’s ripped jeans for your head.

I told you, she is brilliant.

Of course, I am not even going to mention that wearing a hat while in a theater or establishment where someone has to view something from behind you should be punishable by toilet-swirlies.

And because what would a post about hats be without pictures of people wearing hats, I present to you – “Pictures of People Wearing Hats”

This is a hat "do." It matches the outfit, there are accessories, and he is outdoors. Nice job, hat-wearer!

I don't care what this man wears. A do. Always a do.

I love this woman's sheer joy in her hat. But ... no.

This is wrong. For so many reasons, I can't even count. He doesn't even get a black bar over his eyes. For shame!

This woman knows how to do a hat. Or her stylist does. Whatever.

How could I not share this?

What do you think? Do you have other rules for hat wearing?

  1. Frank permalink
    August 11, 2010 11:39 am

    I’d be interested to hear your opinion on bucket hats.

    For the record I find them to be rather useful. Today for instance I used mind to protect my genitals while climbing a barbed-wire fence. Then my coworker used it as well. While I’m a bit disturbed that his family jewels touched my hat I’m glad it was there to protect the future of our species.

    • August 11, 2010 11:50 am

      Dear Love of My Life,

      I am glad your genitals are safe. But if you keep wearing bucket hats out in public, you will not be needing them. 🙂

      But on an equally serious note – your bucket hat appears to be functional. It protects delicate areas (your scalp and … manbits) and is appropriate. Just don’t wear it out to dinner if you take me anywhere that doesn’t give us a number after we order.

      Your Girlfriend

  2. August 11, 2010 11:50 am

    First of all, bravo to your picture selection. I think the sentiment could not have been better illustrated.

    Secondly I think there’s no better way to announce an entrance by crossing a threshold and removing one’s hat. It’s polite and dignified and -man or woman- it’s sexy.

    I also think there’s little consideration given to places and people who do find indoor hat wearing insulting. For instance at a place or worship or a large formal event.

    But maybe I’m just jaded by all the hipster gear I’ve been observing? Like you said, you have to know HOW to wear a hat. Then take the etiquette from there.

  3. August 11, 2010 12:49 pm

    I like this post 1000%!!! The crab hat is a bonus. I want to say it’s totally a DON’T…but it’s a CRAB HAT. I’m torn. Really, really torn.


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