Hats are a sure-fire way to boost your confidence. A cool hat can quickly become your signature piece and give you extra swagger. Emily Post is quoted as saying, in 1959, “It is impossible for a hatless woman to be chic.” Hats are both stylish and functional. They keep your head warm, distract from a bad hair day, and can shade your eyes from the sun. Hats can give you a touch of class and sophistication, impart personality and add an interesting and unique access to your outfits.
In adopting the hat as your signature piece, you must also accept the responsibility of hat etiquette. Often ignored, hat etiquette will show that your uniqueness extends not only to your choice of headwear, but your manners as well.
For men, remember the following:
First, promptly remove your hat upon entering an elevator, restaurant or someone’s home. And never wear your had during a meal. Also, when greeting a friend, touch the brim of your hat lightly. When meeting a female in public raise the hat by the crown. During the national anthem, remove your hat and place it over your heart.
In Post's "Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage" from 1959, she wrote that men tip or lift their hat only to strangers, not to friends, although a man would lift the hat if he encountered his wife. A hat also is tipped to a woman when passing in a narrow space or when the man speaks to her. If a man runs into a female acquaintance, he must take his hat off when talking to her, but can put it back on if they start walking.
Ladies, however, keep their hats on indoors, everywhere except their own houses. If it's a formal hat, even during the National Anthem, a woman would not remove her hat.
What if the woman and man are both wearing baseball caps? Does it make sense that only the man takes off his headgear during the National Anthem? Probably not, Miss Manners suggests. Without the traditional ladies' hat, she wrote, "you cannot claim the ladies' exemption."
Miss Manners recognizes that some rules vary peculiarly. It is acceptable for Christian women to wear hats in church, but disrespectful for men to wear them. Not so with Conservative or Orthodox Jews, who would find it disrespectful for men not to cover their heads with a yarmulke when in a synagogue.
Hat etiquette is neither confusing nor irritating. Simple consideration for others and respect for all is expected at all times. Hats are another reason to observe proper etiquette. So when deciding to wear a hat to compliment an outfit or distract from a bad hair day, wear it with pride and respect those around you.