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Still rude to wear a hat indoors?
May 27, 2011 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Is it still rude to wear a hat indoors?

Has this social faux pas faded or is it still gauche to wear a hat indoors? Opinion? Experiences?
posted by Cosine to Society & Culture (210 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
According to my parents: Yes. But your mileage may vary.
posted by selenized at 9:59 AM on May 27, 2011


When I see people (mostly dudes in ball caps) wearing hats indoors, it touches a nerve. Not enough for me to say anything, not enough for me to deem it "rude", but enough for me to think, "bro, you are inside, there is no sun here, it's climate controlled, WHY DO YOU NEED A HAT," much like when I see people wearing sunglasses indoors. Add to that that many hats are old, sweat-filled, and scrungy, and when someone's wearing a hat at a table, eating, I can't help to worry that it's going to drip gross hat crusties in everyone's food.

Miss Manners says it's still rude to wear a hat indoors.
Your mom probably also thinks it's rude to wear a hat indoors.

Unless it's covering up a massive head wound, just take it off.
posted by phunniemee at 10:01 AM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yes, it is still rude (unless it is a hat meant to be worn indoors, like a cocktail hat).

Fortunately for you, there will probably be someone doing something ruder at most parties, so I doubt your hat would draw much irritation.
posted by momus_window at 10:01 AM on May 27, 2011


I'm not sure I'd consider it rude, but I would assume that the person doing it has either got a terrible haircut they regret, or are going bald and uncomfortable about it.
posted by Coobeastie at 10:01 AM on May 27, 2011


Depends on the context, I think. A baseball hat at work? No.
A stylish cap in an upscale bar? Yes.
I think as long as the hat doesn't have writing/graphics or a baseball brim, it is more or less ok in most environments.
Could you give us an example of where you would like to wear a hat?
posted by rmless at 10:02 AM on May 27, 2011


If you're a guy, yes. I know people do, but when they're not looking like oafs who were raised by wolves, they're looking like pretentious douche-bags who just discovered the pork-pie.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:02 AM on May 27, 2011 [52 favorites]


Yes, it is. However, if you're wearing a baseball cap at a frat party, I think you're okay. The jackasses who won't take their trilby off no matter where they are, though? There's a circle in hell for them.
posted by griphus at 10:03 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rude? No. Impolite, douchey, silly, or hinting at hideous hair underneath? yes.
posted by zippy at 10:04 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Depends on the context (location/event) and the type of hat (baseball cap or top hat) and the person/people you are with (old fashioned folks or hipsters).

For example, casual dinner with my parents, they'll put you in the corner (even you, Cosine!), no matter what the hat is that you're wearing. Other families do not care.

Dinner at a fancy restaurant, I think it is still considered to be rude.

These links are quite amazing.

Are you wondering about a specific setting?
posted by anya32 at 10:05 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Agree with the above-it's setting specific. Anywhere formal-ish, it would be rude.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:07 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am sitting at my desk. At work. I am wearing a hat. I do not consider myself rude. I tend to wear this hat as a matter of course, and nobody (including bosses) has ever said anything about it. I work in theater, so there is that.

(For those answering in the affirmative, is it possible to expand the question to ask *why* this is considered rude? My parents were not wolves and I'm not (normally) a pretentious douche-bag. I understand that hats are not considered formal-wear, but why would this sartorial choice in a basically casual setting raise ire?)

Although, you know, full disclosure, I am going bald.
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:09 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


...is it possible to expand the question to ask *why* this is considered rude?

The same reason it is considered gauche to wear a coat indoors. Unless there's a serious problem with a thermostat, it is an outdoor piece of clothing and you are indoors.
posted by griphus at 10:12 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It depends. My son (almost 10) and husband get into near constant fights about this. Husband thinks that hats should never, ever, ever, EVER be worn inside, even if it's your house and you live there and no one other than immediate family is in the house.

Son and I think this is extreme.

I'll let him wear his baseball cap in the house, though I do make him take it off when we're eating, and when we're in someone else's house.
posted by Lucinda at 10:12 AM on May 27, 2011


Yes, if you are a man. Male hattiquette has not changed in this regard.

What has changed is that nowadays a woman may take off her hat indoors.
posted by tel3path at 10:14 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do toques count? I wouldn't consider wearing a toque indoors rude, because a toque is guaranteed to mess up your hair when taken off.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:15 AM on May 27, 2011


Baseball caps are ok to wear inside, depending on context.

The big change in hat etiquette over the past 50 years is that men shouldn't wear hats outdoors, either... so you should be wearing a hat in the first place such that you would need to take it off when you go indoors.
posted by deanc at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's particularly rude. I have more important things to think about than another person's clothing choices. Also see: not caring about shoes indoors.
posted by Solomon at 10:18 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Shit, hit the button too fast. Anyway, it's about the fact that you are wearing your clothing "wrong." Like a simultaneously having on a belt and suspenders. Some people don't notice. Some people don't care, whether because of personal style or ignorance. However, capital-T Traditionally, you don't wear a hat indoors because there is no rain, wind, sun or people-throwing-garbage-out-their-windows to be protected from and it reflects poorly on the host to imply that the inside of their house/restaurant/opera hall is somewhere your head needs protection from the elements.
posted by griphus at 10:18 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's still not accepted in court. I was called for jury duty a few weeks ago and the judge yell at a few prospective jurors for wearing ball caps. Personally if I'm wearing a cap, I can't really take it off because then my hair sticks straight up. Back in the days of hat wearing, men used greasy goop on their hair to keep that from happening.
posted by octothorpe at 10:20 AM on May 27, 2011


Yes.

Especially if one is eating. Take off your hat to eat. What are you, a barbarian?
posted by Sara C. at 10:21 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I would have said gauche more than rude. I don't take an affront, but I definitely agree with Ideefixe's sentiment that these people are rubes who have just discovered the hat.

I am not a fan of baseball caps in general, and don't encourage their use in any situation. (Other than playing baseball.)
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


According to me it is. Unfortunately I seem to stand alone in this opinion here in the rural West, where men are loathe to part with their ball caps. I think part of the issue is embarrassment over hat head, and I wonder, in days of yore when all men wore hats, did they just deal with hat head, or were hairstyles better suited to the wearing of hats, or what?
posted by HotToddy at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2011


What is and isn't rude is, like the use of the language, always open to debate. I note here that there is not much in the way of a "rule," but rather ok here but not there sort of thing.

Hats: indoors: notice that often it is difficult to put down a hat in some places. Imagine trying to park a cowboy hat in a diner or bar? Besides, how will people know you are a cowboy unless you wear your hat?
Young men usually now keep baseball caps on simply because (1) no place to put it (2) they have no notion that they are being rude.

My general rule of thumb:when wearing a hat, use your head.
posted by Postroad at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some putz had his porkpie on next to us at the bar at the Dutch a couple nights ago, my buddy had to be restrained from knocking it off. I think what's happened is that as hipsters age and start to get bald spots, they have to wear hats full time if they're still going to dress like '70s teenagers ironically and not look like men who actually were teenagers in the '70s.
posted by nicwolff at 10:24 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


but why would this sartorial choice in a basically casual setting raise ire?

I'd amend my advice to say 'some people can pull this off, in some contexts, but as a general rule ...'

A hat says "I'm headed someplace else, I'm going outside any second now." In other words, "I'm not really present, here, now, indoors."

Removing a hat is also a cultural sign of deference (except when having your head covered is a sign of deference ... hey, I don't make the rules).

Social and economic class also come into play. Baseball and trucker caps are working class outdoor gear. Most Metafilter posters, I am guessing, work indoors and probably at white collar jobs.
posted by zippy at 10:26 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]



What if you wear a stylish hat like a fedora from www.goorin.com as a fashion accessory?


ESPECIALLY.
posted by auto-correct at 10:27 AM on May 27, 2011 [28 favorites]


Fedoras are not stylish, and thinking that they are is probably a good reason to just back away from the hat thing entirely before you embarrass yourself.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 10:29 AM on May 27, 2011 [26 favorites]


Rule: Do not wear hats indoors; do not wear fedoras ever.
posted by General Malaise at 10:30 AM on May 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


I would not call it rude - unless the person whose home you're in finds it so - but I think it's crass/tacky. I'm not inclined to give baseball hats any more of a pass because they're utility-wear - and do you need that brim inside?

It doesn't chafe me, but I think less of the general decorum of someone I see wearing one inside. And if I have kids they'll be taught to take their hat off inside.
posted by phearlez at 10:31 AM on May 27, 2011


I should have noted that the rule above is for the men-folk only.

Women may remove their hats indoors. They should also abstain from wearing fedoras unless for funny purposes (it's never funny on a man).
posted by General Malaise at 10:32 AM on May 27, 2011


OP, why do you ask if it's still rude? It had always been rude for a man to wear a hat indoors; nothing has happened to change that.
As for the fedora page you linked to; it's a hat, therefore, it's rude to wear it indoors, same as a baseball cap.
My personal feeling: baseball cap wearers are a contemptuous bunch; the fedora/pork pie/trilby bunch, a few degrees less so.
posted by BostonTerrier at 10:32 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between public indoors and private outdoors.

Public indoors would be Penn Station, an elevator, where in hat-wearing eras men historically did not remove their hats... I could see this being extended to a gigantic frat party or a really crowded bar.

Private indoors would be an office, a small party at someone's home, the dinner table, etc.

It's certainly not clear-cut but there are places where it feels okay to keep the hat on, and places where doesn't feel okay. It's a situation-dependent continuum.

But are we talking about men?

For women it can be rude to not wear a hat, like in church.
posted by thebazilist at 10:33 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I believe hats indoors are a faux pas, but then again I agree with P.J. O'Rourke: "A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks as stupid as a hat. Unless you are being paid to play professional baseball or are hunting ducks in the rain, do not wear a hat."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:33 AM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Taking your hat off inside indicates respect - for other people present.

So don't think of it as "wearing a hat indoors is rude" - think of it as "removing your hat indoors confers respect for those around me".
posted by gyusan at 10:34 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't say it's necessarily "rude," depending on context (wedding vs. casual restaurant). But it is uncouth.
posted by red clover at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2011


What if you wear a stylish hat like a fedora from www.goorin.com as a fashion accessory?

Then you should take it off when you come indoors, and never put it back on.

Here's an example of why a hat indoors is a faux pas: one acceptable hat to wear is a panama hat on sunny days. Now imagine walking indoors, perhaps to a restaurant, or work, or a bar, and continuing to wear your panama hat. Does that make any sense? It's not sunny indoors; your panama hat isn't protecting you from anything. It just looks silly.

A fedora can work ok if it's paired with an overcoat while outdoors. Now imagine taking off your overcoat once you come inside and leaving on the fedora. Does that make sense? No. It's like taking off your coat and leaving your gloves on.
posted by deanc at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


A nice hat can be a classy thing if you wear it right. It seems like empty affectation if you wear it wrong; for example if you are going to wear a nice hat, you better be wearing nice shoes and not black leather reeboks (I work in IT, this is kind of a thing). The difference between 0 and classy is an exponential thing so if you take off your hat inside you are about 1,000,000 times classier than the doofy guy who keeps his on.


You should also take it off when you go inside, or at the very minimum at the dinner table.If it is conceivable that you might not wear shoes in a place, then you sure as hell shouldn't be wearing a hat.
posted by dobie at 10:36 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is fascinating. I had no idea. No person ever mentioned or even hinted at this when I wore a hat 24/7 for about a year, 3 years ago. Thanks a lot for letting me look stupid, everybody.

I don't mean to derail, but can someone give a short explanation of why a hat is a rude piece of clothing that should be taken off in order to show respect?
posted by the jam at 10:38 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hats: indoors: notice that often it is difficult to put down a hat in some places. Imagine trying to park a cowboy hat in a diner or bar?

This is why God invented hatracks.

Besides, how will people know you are a cowboy unless you wear your hat?

If your identity as a cowboy is dependent upon your hat, you're not a cowboy.
posted by KathrynT at 10:39 AM on May 27, 2011 [21 favorites]


What if you wear a stylish hat like a fedora from www.goorin.com as a fashion accessory?

I would avoid you, as I have no need for an additional ukelele.
posted by bonehead at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2011 [18 favorites]


What about Jamie Hyneman? He probably sleeps in his beret and I would never ask him to remove it indoors. Do we make an exception for hats that are part of a person's overall look or do we just make an exception for Jamie because he's awesome? Or do we not make an exception for him at all?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I usually see it as a matter of lesser harm. I like to wear baseball caps when I dress casual, just because. If we go to a casual restaurant like a Denny's or BBQ joint, I actually make it a point to take off my cap as soon as I enter the door. I'm sure it's not exactly necessary, nor does it violate any sort of dress code, but personally I derive a sense of satisfaction from it.

I think it's a matter of respect to the host. To me, removal of a hat implies deference to others, and as a guest I feel there's a certain level of etiquette I expect myself to maintain. Whether I'm invited into someone's house, or I walk into In-N-Out Burger, I feel like I should not put myself above everyone else and thus will remove any headgear.

Without any certified knowledge of the matter, I'd posit that this mannerism originated by nobility in the presence of royalty. But that's just based on how I interpret the "hats off" gesture.

For occasions where I'll actually "dress up," which can mean anything from putting on a nice shirt and jeans, or a full suit, I never wear hats. So that's less of an issue for me.
posted by CancerMan at 10:43 AM on May 27, 2011


Cosine, I'm sorry but no. Men do not wear hats indoors. End of. While people can argue against that, that does not change the fact those people are wrong.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:44 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


i'm not a hat guy. i have honestly never thought about this. who cares? the level of chafing some of you in here are exhibiting over this is funny, and perplexing. because again; who cares?

what other articles of clothing are people supposed to take off when inside? what about in particular rooms? what seasonal fashion manners should one observe?
posted by rainperimeter at 10:44 AM on May 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


As a middle-aged but laid-back lifelong Californian, it wouldn't even register on my brain if someone was wearing a hat indoors. For comparison, though, a much-younger coworker, East Coast born and bred, commented to me recently about how rude she thought it was that some men wear hats indoors (especially, she pointed out, baseball hats).

So I think your answer is "it depends."
posted by chez shoes at 10:44 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


There's a restaurant I frequent that asks all males wearing hats to remove them while dining. I think it's a nice thing to do.
posted by notmydesk at 10:45 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forgive me for going against the flow here..

Dude (or dudette), wear the hat. Wear it if it's a fedora. It's your head and you sense of fashion. If that's who you are, then go for it.

If someone asks you to take it off in their house, then respect their wish. Otherwise, do what you want to do. A hat is not an insult.

(This falls into the same category as wearing opposite-gender clothing for me. So long as you're not naked and your articles of clothing aren't broadcasting slurs, what could possibly be the harm. The only thing it it might do is make people uncomfortable. *hops off her soapbox*)
posted by royalsong at 10:45 AM on May 27, 2011 [28 favorites]


It just looks silly.

It is not rude to dress in a way that you consider silly.

Otherwise, do what you want to do. A hat is not an insult.

Hear, hear.
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


what other articles of clothing are people supposed to take off when inside?

Coat, gloves, galoshes. If wearing a three-piece suit, a gentleman may remove his pants as long as the vest and jacket stay on and his socks match the vest.
posted by griphus at 10:49 AM on May 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


what seasonal fashion manners should one observe?

None, if you don't care about such things and don't mind it being obvious that you don't. If you do care about such things, then you follow the etiquette of the circle you run in or wish to run in. I mean, come on, nobody's saying they'll shoot you in the head if you don't take your hat off. If you don't want to, then don't. Just be aware that some people will receive messages from your actions, whether or not you're deliberately sending them.
posted by KathrynT at 10:49 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes. It's rude. And if I see you doing it, I will silently judge you.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:51 AM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Grown men really shouldn't be wearing baseball caps unless they are baseball players, IMO.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:51 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have been yelled at for wearing a hat indoors because it blocked other people's view. So there's that logic.

I tend to think that making people show off their hat hair isn't the best idea, but clearly I am way outvoted on this one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:51 AM on May 27, 2011


However, capital-T Traditionally, you don't wear a hat indoors because there is no rain, wind, sun or people-throwing-garbage-out-their-windows to be protected from and it reflects poorly on the host to imply that the inside of their house/restaurant/opera hall is somewhere your head needs protection from the elements.

This comes from the fact that men are supposed to wear hats for manly utilitarian reasons, rather than as fashion accessories as they are considered for women. But these days since a hat is not a normal utilitarian component of a man's wardrobe, most men wearing them are doing it for either fashion reasons or vanity reasons (i.e. covering a bald spot). So the traditional is stuck in a time period when it made no sense for a man to wear a hat indoors, even though the current reasons for someone to wear a hat are just as valid indoors and outdoors. But that's the way a lot of traditions work, and if you are going for a stylish and high class look then you are going to run up against it. Also, as others have said, aside from the indoors/outdoors question, many will see wearing a fedora as an obnoxious affectation.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:52 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It also depends where you are. I, an Englishman, have shared with friends from Georgia and Tennessee dismay at the tendencies of Yankee males to wear hats indoors, but New Yorkers seem inexplicably OK with it.
posted by nowonmai at 10:52 AM on May 27, 2011


What about Jamie Hyneman? He probably sleeps in his beret and I would never ask him to remove it indoors. Do we make an exception for hats that are part of a person's overall look or do we just make an exception for Jamie because he's awesome? Or do we not make an exception for him at all?

I think it's still gauche; these customs are not simply sublimated because it's part of your "overall look."

There's a fundamental difference between having a well-developed personal style* that goes against the norm, and a personal style that goes against manners. Jamie could easily pull off wearing a beret with a tuxedo, though I think on most people, it would look pretty foolish. He can't pull off wearing a beret to a wake.

*N.B.: very few people have actual style. I don't. Many people confuse being fashionable with having style. They are very distinct things.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:54 AM on May 27, 2011


...New Yorkers seem inexplicably OK with it.

Actually, as I have learned from my old roommate who steadfastly refused to ever take his (very expensive and flashy) baseball cap off, plenty of clubs will not let you past the door without removing the offending article of clothing.
posted by griphus at 10:56 AM on May 27, 2011


About the rudeness/etiquette -- I always heard it as the likely apocryphal story that in knight days, you would take off your armor/helmet when coming indoors as a guest, and this was a courtesy that lasted into hat days, for men only though.

Also, I worked with an Orthodox married woman who wore a hat instead of a wig, so that her head was covered. She wasn't Hasidic; I do wonder what Hasidic men wear indoors.
posted by sweetkid at 10:59 AM on May 27, 2011


Grown men really shouldn't be wearing baseball caps unless they are baseball players, IMO.

In mine, grownups should really be able to wear whatever they'd like to.

Wear the hat proudly, OP!

But God help you should you put your elbows on the table, because then it's REALLY on.
posted by davidjmcgee at 11:00 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's no objective standard, you're question is really "Do most people still consider it rude?" and the only possible answer is "Depends on wear you are."

I think the number of people who can pull off hats is much smaller than the number of people who wear hats. But, I don't think it's rude and I don't understand people who care. But this thread is evidence that some people still do.

Wear are you planning on wearing this hat? And are fedoras still considered "stylish"? I'd hoped that trend would have run its course by now.
posted by spaltavian at 11:03 AM on May 27, 2011


I don't mean to derail, but can someone give a short explanation of why a hat is a rude piece of clothing that should be taken off in order to show respect?

The general implication is that you are not fully present indoors, and that you haven't been made comfortable but still need to be protected from the elements. This might be fine if you're standing in the foyer dropping off a letter, but it's not so polite if you've been invited into the smoking room for cigars and brandy.

That said, I don't think you'll run into many people who are actually offended by you wearing a hat indoors (though if it's an ugly hat or you're wearing it at the dinner table, chance of offense goes up), but there are a great many who will think that you're a pretentious douche with no actual class to back up your sartorial affectations. Whether you care about the opinions of those people vs. other people who will think your hat is cool will probably dictate whether you give a shit.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:04 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I often wear baseball caps, and don't usually remove them indoors if I'm not in a place where I'm otherwise dressed up enough not to be wearing a hat in the first place.

I ALWAYS take off my hat when I am eating, even if I'm home and alone. Why? My mom smacked the habit into me. I've got no better reason than that.
posted by rollbiz at 11:04 AM on May 27, 2011


If someone asks you to take it off in their house, then respect their wish. Otherwise, do what you want to do. A hat is not an insult.

I generally agree with this, except for the fact that you've forced the host to have to ask you. A greater show of respect would be for you to remove the hat regardless. That would be especially true if you either already knew ahead of time what kind of host you had (whether they would expect that), or if you were meeting someone for the very first time and didn't know. Making your host ask you implies that you consider yourself above them, that your opinions and customs take precedence over theirs.

Of course, this is probably indicative of how I was raised, so YMMV.

I guess I personally would err on the side of being humble to people I meet and defer to whatever custom might be expected of me. While I don't feel others should remove their hats indoors (except for my kids at my own table), I feel I should. It's not required attire, after all, like if it were part of a uniform I had to wear at all times or religious in nature.
posted by CancerMan at 11:04 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, these answers really surprise me. I'm pretty traditional about this type of thing - for instance, if you show up for an office interview with me, and you're wearing a dress and you're not wearing pantyhose, I'm not hiring you, because interviews are formal and you should know better - but for the most part, I don't care if someone wears a hat indoors or not. Nowadays, hats are mostly fashion accessories, and if that's your accessory for the day (or the year), I don't see why you should have to deconstruct your outfit every time you go indoors.

And I think the relative coolness of a fedora totally depends on who's wearing it. Miley Cyrus in a fedora=Not cool. On the other hand, last week I saw a teenage girl at the farmer's market wearing one with a "farm girl" type of sundress, and she looked pretty adorable.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:05 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


So long as you're not naked and your articles of clothing aren't broadcasting slurs, what could possibly be the harm. The only thing it it might do is make people uncomfortable.

Sure, the meaning of clothes are socially constructed, and it's not objectively morally wrong to wear a GI Joe t-shirt to a funeral, or a tuxedo to a backyard barbecue, or pajamas to work. Nevertheless, the primary use of clothing is to communicate messages about ourselves and how we see our relationships with others.

It's not really credible to pretend that you're just doing that arbitrarily and can just ignore the fact that you're communicating rude things through the choices of clothing you make.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 11:09 AM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Whatever the social norm may have become, it will always be classy to take it off when you enter a room.
posted by chillmost at 11:16 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm a semi-pro classical musician, and I've seen enough people get reamed by conductors for wearing caps during rehearsals that I've definitely been conditioned to not only pay attention to it, but not to do it.
posted by SNWidget at 11:16 AM on May 27, 2011


It depends on the temperature outdoors and your reason for wearing the hat in the first place. If it is cold and you wore the hat to not be cold, take it off when you come inside. If it is not cold and you wore the hat for styling, take it off when you come inside because it is ugly.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:19 AM on May 27, 2011


If someone asks you to take it off in their house, then respect their wish. Otherwise, do what you want to do. A hat is not an insult.

I'm not going to feel insulted if you wear your hat in my home, and I probably won't go so far as to ask you to take it off, but I will think you are being silly and cultivating an annoying affectation.
posted by deanc at 11:20 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wear a bowler, generally. Which I hope doesn't fall under the standard douchebaggery clause of the fedora. FWIW, I'm 25 and not raised according to any "traditional social graces" or what have you.

Remove your hat inside. I take it off the same time I take off my overcoat, always.* Nthing everyone above: it signifies respect, and most importantly leaving it on looks like you're about to leave - for me it's when I put my hat on that I'm walking out the door, before that I'm doing the standard small-talk-at-the-end-of-the night.

I think the most important point here is that, while there's quite a bit of legitimate debate over whether it's rude, gauche, or just fine: the fact of there being legitimate debate means that some people will find it gauche, and unless you want to make a stand on this issue, don't do it. You CAN make a stand, and maybe you're right. It's your call about whether it's worth it.

*And if I'm not wearing a coat, I'm not wearing my bowler, because then it's warm and not raining, which means why would I wear a seriously-warm bowler?
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:24 AM on May 27, 2011


Removing one's hat indoors is, or was, an agreed upon convention for men. How do you feel about people who write in all caps online? They're showing they're unaware of or don't care about an agreed upon convention among a group of people.

Flout this convention and you'll come across as the sartorial equivalent of an all-caps writer to a sizable chunk of the population. As this thread shows, there are still quite a few people who feel this way.

And please, don't tip your hat to a man if you're a man. That's essentially saying "Hello ma'am" to a guy.
posted by zombiedance at 11:24 AM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's still not accepted in court. I was called for jury duty a few weeks ago and the judge yell at a few prospective jurors for wearing ball caps.

I appeared before a judge in Federal court a few years ago who literally shouted at an attorney who placed her glasses on her head for a few moments while looking at an exhibit. I would posit that the opinions of judges regarding what etiquette is appropriate in their courtrooms are not necessarily the finest source of information regarding the real world.
posted by The World Famous at 11:25 AM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wear whatever it is you please, if you can pull it off. It's just a piece of clothing. Fashion changes, expectations change, and you'd be a fool to try to fit with everyone's prejudice - don't listen to the fuddy-duddys - it's comical that anyone would bother being offended by what YOU wear. Don't like it, don't wear it. Out here in Los Angeles, California, it's generally pretty relaxed as to what you wear. In Podunk, Shitville-Smallville there may be odd conventions rubes get hung up on. I never make a note of anyone wearing anything, unless it's aesthetically objectionable - there are plenty of ugly hats, but whatevs, doesn't bother me. I certainly wouldn't judge anyone on the basis of hat-wearing. But then again, I appreciate men wearing skirts, women wearing pants and people wearing whatever it is they wish to wear - all of which once upon a time gave some bluenoses a nosebleed. Have confidence in who you are, relax, and if someone's violin is getting strung too tight, just laugh.
posted by VikingSword at 11:25 AM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Do toques count?

Yes, unless it's actually wintertime.
posted by Rash at 11:25 AM on May 27, 2011


It was bad manners back when hats were actually attractive, well-made pieces of clothing, and it's doubly-bad manners now that a hat is more likely to be some crappy baseball cap that the owner thinks is oh-so ironic/hip.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:28 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm trying trying trying to convince a man near and dear to me that his stylish outdoor hat (I'm not up on men's fashion enough to know if it's a porkpie or a trilby or what) is not really an indoor accessory. There is definite potential for looking like a hipster douchebag who needs the hat to establish his "identity", edspite the fact that he is not a hipster douchebag. But he's willing to look like one because he doesn't know what to do with his hat when it's not on his head.
We're not talking about in someone's house or at his cubicle at work or in a fancy restaurant with a coatrack. This is at a bar, coffeeshops, a casual restaurant where your coat is on the back of the chair you're sitting in, etc. What's he supposed to do, hold it in his lap? I'd rather it stay on his head than get set on the table. And it's more of an issue in spring or fall when there's not a big need for outdoor layers, so he's less likely to use a $3 coatcheck at the museum even if it's there. I'm in favor of his taking it off, but I sympathize with the practicalities of the situation.
posted by aimedwander at 11:33 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


You Can Leave Your Hat On

/Obligatory
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:34 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see a map plotting this. Where I am in California it seems not to matter at all. I can't recall ever hearing it mentioned.

I admit i am a hat wearer. I hate 95% of overhead lighting and the bill makes it less annoying.

So, to answer your question: Not here.
posted by cccorlew at 11:35 AM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


What about Jamie Hyneman?

Those warehouses where "Mythbusters" films are more outdoor spaces than inside.

When we saw him in the real world not "in character", he was not wearing his hat indoors -- because he's not a rude, uncouth rube. Which is yet another reason he rocks.
posted by Gucky at 11:36 AM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Hats are to protect you from the elements. Out of the elements, take it off. Unless you happen to be a dolt.

So yeah, still rude.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:38 AM on May 27, 2011


Re cowboys: it is correct for a cowboy to wear his hat at all times, even indoors. The rest of you, you're not cowboys and line dancing doesn't count.
posted by tel3path at 11:41 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]



When we saw him in the real world not "in character", he was not wearing his hat indoors -- because he's not a rude, uncouth rube. Which is yet another reason he rocks.


OK, but it's still an silly affectation, IMO. I mean, a beret? For real?

That being said, I'll concur with other Californians. As silly as I might think your hat may look, indoors or out, nobody seems to give a crap regarding the etiquette of hats indoors. It might occur to me that some guy is being a douche for wearing that porkpie, but not for wearing it indoors.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:42 AM on May 27, 2011


There are going to be contexts where it's rude and contexts where it's not.

The fact that we're all aware at all that some people consider it rude in some contexts is reason enough to consider, whenever entering a new context with a hat on, whether you might be likely to communicate an insult or draw negative attention or significantly change the atmosphere (in a negative way) by wearing a hat. It's impossible to say something like that is universally right or wrong - it's entirely cultural and constructed - but it is easy, and possible, to ask yourself whether it's a good idea, in any particular situation, to be wearing a hat.

It's not about following an abirtrary rule, it's about being sensitive to the preferences and comfort zone and traditions of the people you're with.
posted by Miko at 11:43 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


And fedoras are, too, stylish. Just not indoors. Especially if you are in a nightclub, during nightclub hours, trying to engage some HB8s with The Cube. In that situation, your fedora is stylish, but you are not. At all.
posted by tel3path at 11:44 AM on May 27, 2011


What if you wear a stylish hat like a fedora as a fashion accessory?

Fedora-snark aside, if you're wearing the hat for fashion/style reasons, it especially behooves you to follow the customs that attach to the clothing. The selling point of a Goorin-style hat especially is its reference to a specific earlier fashion period, and that period had Hat Rules even if ours doesn't. But I think ours generally still does.

It's slightly more subtle than indoors/outdoors, as thebazilist says, and people don't generally care about precise adherence to a rule (unless you're in ROTC), but yes: indoors, in private, dining, in church, etc., take your hat off. Nightclubs are in the gray area, I think.

Re cowboys: Cowboys get a pass because they're supposed to be coarse, uncivilized, rugged people who sleep under the stars. They leave their hat on at the saloon bar, they may take it off at the poker game in back, they do take it off in the sitting room where they're meeting their future wife's parents.
posted by hattifattener at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Anecdata: the late Paul "Bear" Bryant, legendary football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, was instantly recognizable by his trademark houndstooth fedora. When Alabama played a bowl game in the New Orleans Superdome, Coach Bryant was on the sidelines, hatless. When asked by a reporter why, Bryant responded that his momma told him it was impolite to wear a hat indoors.

My feeling is that, yes, it is impolite to wear a hat indoors. However, this is admittedly an old-fashioned sentiment, and if I'm out working in the yard in a ballcap I don't always take it right off when I come inside, especially if I'm just going right back out again. But in general, yeah -- take your hat off indoors. They are for keeping the sun and the rain off your head. Indoors, there's a roof for that.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I feel like I've noticed some increased anxiety around clothing-conformity in recent years - the thing about how some people will throw out your resume if you interview in nylons and some people will throw out your resume if you interview without wearing nylons, with just seems like the devil's choice to me. Anyway, I wonder whether this has to do with the increasing meanness of the economy - artificial and silly distinctions about what is really a very tiny difference in class/upbringing/region/subculture loom very large because we all have to sort through the desperate and miserable somehow.

Hats don't bother me, but then activist circles have a whole tradition of punk/ska guys in hats, plus the various short-haired people who are always wearing knit ones.

And that's a question - is a knit hat always rude inside? What if your head is cold? I have it on good authority from the short-haired and balding that in Minnesota winters in large houses with small budgets one's head can get chilly.
posted by Frowner at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


he's not a rude, uncouth rube

I believe this, but. Here he is in the White House, clearly indoors, clearly at a semi-formal event, and he's got his hat on, and it looks bad. Check out how much classier Bill Nye looks in his bow tie, next to a guy with a hat on indoors. I don't want to assume too much about Mr Hyneman; in the same series of photos are pictures of him outdoors, and perhaps he was only inside briefly. But an indoor hat is not a good look.

I wanted to offer that it (indoor hat-wearing) turns the hat into a costume, and my three-year-old came by, looked, and said "There's a painter!" Sure enough.

As for that pantyhose deal, I think a lot of women you are not hiring are not wearing pantyhose because they are no longer in style, and they did not want to appear as rude, uncouth rubes by not bothering to keep their interview attire current.
posted by kmennie at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have an expensive Borsalino hat that I will not remove in a bar because it might "walk away". But otherwise, I remove it when indoors. It's only respect to those around you.
posted by Splunge at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2011


Do toques count?

Yes, unless it's actually wintertime.


...and one is in a arena for the express purpose of watching hockey or curling. In indoor heated areas or in arenas for other purposes (figure skating comes to mind), toques are always unacceptible. I might bend the rules for ringette and broomball, but no further. Toques are mildy acceptable having a certain lumberjack charm) in ice-huts, but only until the pot-bellied stove gets going.

Mitten etiquette is somewhat looser, mostly because the jacket strings make them more difficult to put in pockets and really, because who wants to look at dangly mittens.
posted by bonehead at 12:02 PM on May 27, 2011


[Removed a few comments. Please stick to the specific question - this is not a general referendum on fashion propriety. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 12:03 PM on May 27, 2011


I'm with chez shoes. I don't think most Portlanders would even notice whether someone was or wasn't wearing a hat. I seriously have never given this a moment's thought, and can't believe anyone gives one shit about this issue. If you feel disrespected by someone else's fashion choice? Sounds like a personal problem.
posted by peep at 12:07 PM on May 27, 2011 [18 favorites]


Yes, it is.

At my rural-living uncle's funeral, a man wore a trucker cap. I couldn't believe it; he's of the generation (older than me) whom you would expect to find that tacky. Yes, they're sportsmen and old farmers up there (as was my uncle, big time, on both counts as well as a devotee of trucker caps), but ... really!

And some of the 40-ish men (including at least one nephew-in-law) wore jeans, but that's another story.
posted by jgirl at 12:10 PM on May 27, 2011


I am sitting at my desk. At work. I am wearing a hat. I do not consider myself rude.

Most people engaged in rudeness don't!

It is absolutely without question rude for a man to wear a hat in most indoor settings. Exceptions for things like giant train stations or the like. But this isn't really a debate; it's long-established.
posted by Justinian at 12:11 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really think it depends. Formal occasions? Take your hat off (especially if it's a baseball cap). Less formal occasions (a bar or whatever)? Who cares? I don't.

If you're a Welsh dude in a band? Yeah, totally wear that knit hat. It doesn't matter if it's 85 degrees in the venue. It makes you awesome.

I don't understand all the fedora hate. Yes, I get that they can be silly, but I've also met some really awesome men who've worn them. But it was more about "this is just part of my thing" more than "OMG, I'm totally wearing a fedora! I'm so awesome."

(And, uh, I've been known to wear one. And a possibly homeless guy told me "Girl, you are rocking that hat" which was actually pretty awesome.)

So short answer: It's rude depending on where and who you are.
posted by darksong at 12:14 PM on May 27, 2011


Let's separate the general men's hat etiquette from the knee-jerk omghipsterdouchebag fedora/pork pie hate.

Regarding etiquette: anya32's links cover it pretty well... the thing clouding the issue is that all of those little rules are from another age when an average middle class citizen wouldn't even think of being seen in public in jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt. These days people go grocery shopping in their pajama pants, so it's not too surprising to see guys wearing their crusty old baseball caps pretty much everywhere... So, if you decide to fight the good fight and observe traditional etiquette (of any kind), don't expect anyone else to reciprocate, or even notice.

Regarding the fedora thing: Retro-anachronistic clothing/accessory questions seem to be a trigger around here, and generally result in a chorus of "pretentious affectation!" and "hipster douchebag!" responses. Haters gonna hate. If you wear it with 90% confidence and 10% fashion sense (which, in this context does mean taking the hat off inside) you can pull it off.
posted by usonian at 12:20 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


If these answers aren't enough for you and you want to read about 200 more, try here. Actually the second post in the thread covers most of the ground you should be aware of if you're going to wear a hat.

On a personal level, if you're going to wear your hat indoors, I'm going to notice it. I won't typically say anything, but some people (including one of my relatives) will definitely comment on your lack of manners. (For the record, I do find it an absolute shame that men need to be told to take off their hats and ballcaps while standing for the national anthem.)

That said, I'm very sympathetic to hat wearers in restaurants or public buildings that don't provide decent or secure locations to hang your hat. It's a miserable feeling worrying if some moron is going to steal your hat, knock your hat off the rack, play with your hat, or try your hat on. Really what the hell is wrong with people? Why do they assume it's perfectly dandy to try another person's hat on? They'd never come up to you and say, "wow, can I try on your leather jacket/trench coat/hoodie?"
posted by sardonyx at 12:31 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's separate the general men's hat etiquette from the knee-jerk omghipsterdouchebag fedora/pork pie hate.

Frankly, that's the reason for the omghipsterdouchebag fedora/pork pie hate. 99% of such people do not understand the etiquette involved in wearing a hat. Which makes them douchebags.

It's like people who buy cashmere coats and leave the big honkin' 100% CASHMERE WOOL tag on the sleeve. You're supposed to cut that off, and if you lack the class to know you're supposed to (or at least surmise that one ought to), you shouldn't buy a cashmere topcoat.

If you don't want to get involved in fashion etiquette, just stick to t-shirts, jeans, parkas, sneakers, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 12:47 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


I've been wearing a ball cap since about age 4. It's just something I'm use to wearing and I almost feel naked without it. I only take it off indoors to tip toe around fuddy duddies that cling to dated and pointless traditions. Judge my rudeness or politeness by what I say and how I act, not by what I choose to wear.
posted by Beardsley Klamm at 12:54 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


i have never slept with a man who wears hats indoors, and i never will. *shudder*
posted by lia at 12:55 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have been a hat wearer for over 35 years now. I put on a hat automatically every time I leave the house, and I have a dozen hats and a half-dozen caps (including my Mets and Old Senators caps and my late dad's Angels cap) within view of my desk, so I speak with some authority: yes, it is rude. I actually think you know that and are looking for people to validate your desire to do it anyway, and that's fine; if you want to wear a hat/cap indoors, be your bad self. But a lot of people will judge you, and you just have to accept that.

> The big change in hat etiquette over the past 50 years is that men shouldn't wear hats outdoors, either

Bullshit. Not wearing hats is a change in habit, not a judgment about etiquette, and it's a change that some of us are hoping to reverse.
posted by languagehat at 12:55 PM on May 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


There is no magical percentage where "rude" morphs into "not rude" because everybody is doing it.

Also, it's the worst sort of snobbery (reverse or otherwise) to think that people eating in inexpensive/casual restaurants should be subjected to your stupid hat/appalling table manners/etc, but that "fancy places" deserve better.

You either have manners or you don't.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 12:56 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


“A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat. When you put on a hat you are surrendering to the same urge that makes children wear mouse ears at Disney World or drunks wear lampshades at parties. Wearing a hat implies that you are bald if you are a man and that your hair is dirty if you are a woman. Every style of hat is identified with some form of undesirable (derby = corrupt party worker; fedora = Italian gangster; top hat = rich bum’ pillbox = Kennedy wife. Et cetera). Furthermore, the head is symbolically identified with the sexual organs, so that when you walk down the street wearing a hat, anyone who has the least knowledge of psychology will see you as having a beaver hanging off your penis or feathers protruding from your genitals. A hat should only be worn if you are employed as a racehorse trainer or are hunting ducks in the rain.”
P. J. O'Rourke
posted by dancestoblue at 1:02 PM on May 27, 2011


Conventions of etiquette are generally employed to accomplish one of two things, (1) to serve as shibboleths that delineate and police membership of either "in" or "out" groups, and (2) to minimize unintentional-but-undesirable miscommunications and their resulting social tension. Both of these are always in play, no matter what convention we're talking about, though conventionalists will only emphasize the latter, and whiny, self-aggrandizing man-children—excuse me, "free thinkers"—will rail incessantly against the former. Neither will do much to acknowledge the other side.

A significant number of people are going to form a judgment of yo u based on your decision to wear a hat indoors. Some of these people are just snobs, yes. Others simply had the rule drilled into them so deeply that seeing it broken makes them uncomfortable, even if they couldn't articulate why (on seeing a man wearing a baseball cap indoors, for instance, I tend to find myself gripped with the apprehension that my sixth-grade social studies teacher is going to somehow materialize from nowhere and knock it off his fool head). Others—and this is probably the group you should care most about—will read into it actual, hostile intent. They will see the hat and understand it immediately to mean, "I'm just about to leave. I don't have time for you right now, please leave."

If you don't mind communicating that to a group of people, however small, then fine. Wear your ugly fucking fedora. The rest of us snobs were probably going to find a reason to be dismissive of you anyway, and the rest of the world could care less one way or the other.
posted by wreckingball at 1:04 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I only take it off indoors to tip toe around fuddy duddies that cling to dated and pointless traditions. Judge my rudeness or politeness by what I say and how I act, not by what I choose to wear.

Sure, and those "fuddy duddies" will undoubtedly think you were very polite, because of your act of removing your headgear rather than what you chose to wear. That's part of showing respect, I think.

Of course, if you followed up with a loud statement about fuddy duddies and dated traditions, that'd also be subject to judgment of rude or polite.
posted by CancerMan at 1:06 PM on May 27, 2011


[Non-hat-related commentary needs to go to memail. Seriously, folks, make sure you're addressing the actual question. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 1:31 PM on May 27, 2011


I went to college and everyone wore a hat all the time.

Then I joined the Marine Corps and we were taught that it is disrespectful to wear a cover(hat) inside when not on field duty.

Marines are conscious of this, because we are nothing if not aggressors against rudeness.

But in all seriousness, yeah, Marines are taught not to do this.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:32 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have never slept with a person who cares whether or not I wears hats indoors, and i never will. *shudder*
posted by Seamus at 1:44 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


This thread is kind of on the chatty/empty hipster-hate side of things but without more detail there is no one rule.

In an office, or at your grandparents for dinner, it's probably rude. At a party or other laid-back, informal environment it's not.

No one would care if I wore a baseball cap all day in my office, but if I had a client coming in for a meeting, they might think I am an idiot.
posted by archivist at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2011


In an office, or at your grandparents for dinner, it's probably rude. At a party or other laid-back, informal environment it's not.

Sorry, this is incorrect. Outside it's not rude, inside it's rude. Pretty easy to remember!
posted by cyndigo at 1:48 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are practical consequences of wearing clothing items in certain ways, for example at your place of work. You conform to them, because there's a paycheck involved. Don't ask why - it's irrelevant; if they request you hang a fresh banana around your neck every day, do so to get paid. That's a reason to wear or not wear a hat indoors. But otherwise? In your leisure time? At bottom it's really prejudice and convention to demand or expect that other people ought to wear clothes the way you approve of. People's expectations are founded on familiarity - some people may have never seen a niqab, others will take violent exception based on their growing up with a different norms - in large cities, particularly multicultural cities, getting excited over someone's garb is becoming rare. Some may say it's different with religious clothing - but really, think about it more deeply, is it truly different in ways that make it OK to negatively judge someone here while being tolerant there? What if someone is wearing a hat because they are a cancer victim, or for a thousand other reasons? It's wrong to judge people like that and ridiculous to feel entitled to have a say in how someone else dresses. It's about tolerance.

A bit about professional settings and expectations. Obviously different work places will have different expectations. When I worked at a large talent agency, I was aware of a whole host of codes sent by clothing. Directors dressed differently from actors, writers had their code, agents theirs etc. These codes were pretty strictly observed, because they signaled that you were "in" or "in the know", that you knew the rules. It also frequently signaled that you wanted in, it was aspirational. Someone even (a woman screenwriter) wrote a "hollywood insider advice" book, where she detailed these clothing codes, as an observation! But what I observed, was another rule, which I've seen in many walks of life - those who cling to these rules the tightest are often insecure, or in desperate need to signal something, or simply had no imagination. It is always the peasants who are the most particular about their Sunday clothes. The petty bourgeoise who follow the "rules" down to the button and police others. Conversely, if you have nothing to prove, having grown up with some things taken for granted, you are relaxed about the supposed "rules" which in reality are strictly followed only by the nouveau riche. At the agency, the biggest directors, stars and writers were the ones who were secure enough to break these rules from what I saw.

There is today great freedom to wear what you wish. Expectations have thankfully broadened. Now nobody (at least in large cities here on the West Coast) is really shocked to see things which may seem pretty extreme elsewhere (a couple of years ago I read a "shocked" article in NYTimes about how people in business settings in Los Angeles would wear flip-flops!). But with all this great freedom comes great responsibility. There are no longer strict rules which you can follow unthinkingly in matters of attire - now *you* are responsible for picking clothes that say something about your aesthetic sense. That's a blessing and a curse - a blessing, because rules used to demand a suit or some X clothing from someone who just looks bad in a suit or X, due to body type or whatever. And a curse, because if now you wear a hideous fedora indoor or outdoor - well, it's all on YOU, not "I just follow convention, shrug".
posted by VikingSword at 1:50 PM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Outside it's not rude, inside it's rude. Pretty easy to remember!

It's rude to wear a hat outside if you're talking with lady.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:50 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every January for the past 30 years or so, we have had a pretend rodeo in town put on by the multimillionaire owner of a bunch of newspapers who is basically a small-town Rupert Murdoch. I know when the futurity is in town because the parking lots at the restaurants I go to are filled with very expensive trucks pulling air-conditioned horse trailers and inside are a bunch of guys wearing rhinestone encrusted shirts, brand new Wrangler jeans, oversized belt buckles, and spotless Stetsons on their heads.

In contrast, my family in Texas owned a little land and a few cattle. Uncle Clark (his mother, my great-grandmother, always called him Stanley and I never found out where Clark came from) drove his trucks (always Fords) until they fell apart. If he had enough money for a brand new truck and air conditioned horse trailer, he would have bought a new tractor instead, as that is where he spent more time. He chewed plug tobacco and kept an empty coffee can beside his chair as a spittoon. The second he walked in the door after working outside all day his Resistol hat went straight to the hook by the door, where it stayed until he went out again. I don't know about the ettiquette for baseball caps, fedoras, porkpie hats, or Panamas, but real cowboys take their hats off insoors.
posted by TedW at 1:57 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


archivist: "without more detail there is no one rule. "

Yes there is. You can ignore it, dismiss it, laugh at it, choose not to abide by it or not even know it exists, or decide that you or your hat is an exception, but there certainly is a rule. The rule is that men do not wear hats indoors.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:57 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


I feel like I've noticed some increased anxiety around clothing-conformity in recent years - the thing about how some people will throw out your resume if you interview in nylons and some people will throw out your resume if you interview without wearing nylons, with just seems like the devil's choice to me.

Yeah... I also got taught when I got out of college that women should always wear a skirt to an interview rather than pants just in case you got an old sexist male as your interviewer who would have a problem with your lack of femininity. That was another one the career counselors were all, "Don't worry about dressing to impress someone like that" about.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:00 PM on May 27, 2011


Yeah, nowadays people very often use dressing down as a way to convey high status. Non-hat-removal can be used in the same way, as implied by some of the pro-non-hat-removal/anti-hat-removal arguments here.

It's often a hostile way of implying "I'm powerful enough to insult you and there's nothing you can do about it. Plus if anyone called me on it, I would just boast about how humble and down-to-earth I am."

Oh well, hatters gotta hat.
posted by tel3path at 2:01 PM on May 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm going to hedge a bit. Ultimately, wearing a hat like Cosine describes indoors is like wearing a costume. There are certain forums where this kind of costuming is ok-- for example night clubs, certain parties, concerts, Burning Man. In most places, however, you are not supposed to appear "in costume."
posted by deanc at 2:03 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


tel3path It's often a hostile way of implying "I'm powerful enough to insult you and there's nothing you can do about it. Plus if anyone called me on it, I would just boast about how humble and down-to-earth I am."


This, a thousand times times this. And I hate that shit.
posted by cyndigo at 2:06 PM on May 27, 2011


Sorry, this is incorrect. Outside it's not rude, inside it's rude. Pretty easy to remember!

So much depends on social context, what country or city you're in, and so many other variables that it's just not possible to distill anything down to a rule that simple. It is, I would argue, rude to impute rudeness to someone who it is understood does not intend offense.
posted by The World Famous at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Haven't previewed the above answers, sorry. Just jumped in to say that when I see a young guy wearing any kind of hat indoors, I assume he is bald or balding. Learned that one via an embarassing experience my roommate once had when she scolded a guy for wearing a hat indoors and snatched it off his head.

Otherwise, yeah, I do think it's bad manners in general, and it colors my impression of the person. (And by the way, unless it's part of a special ensemble, my answer applies to women as well)
posted by vignettist at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2011


Count me down as not caring at all whether anyone wears a hat inside. I am totally surprised at how judgmental and hostile people are about this, and how personally you all seem to take it. I mean, some hats are just obviously outdoor hats (bulky, awkward), but I think some styles are just fine indoors (cadet caps, some knit caps). I would love to see this question broken down by age and location; all I know is this twentysomething Oregonian thinks this is all totally ridiculous, and that if you are offended by a hat you must be offended by just about everything.

There seem to be mixed feelings about whether or not this outdated rule applies equally to women, can anybody help a sister out? I'd hate to get glove-slapped next time I have a shitty hair day and wear a cap to class.
posted by dialetheia at 2:12 PM on May 27, 2011 [19 favorites]


If you don't know where to put your hat when you take it off indoors, you have not earned the right to wear one.

(Hint: if the source of confusion is fast food restaurants and other parts of the exurban landscape, leave it in your car, duh.)
posted by Sara C. at 2:24 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


dialetheia: "Count me down as not caring at all whether anyone wears a hat inside. I am totally surprised at how judgmental and hostile people are about this, and how personally you all seem to take it.

Just so you understand, I don't care if you hate the rule, ignore the rule, and think the rule is stupid. I just care that you know the rule. Disregard it at your whim; I actually really do not care.

There seem to be mixed feelings about whether or not this outdated rule applies equally to women, can anybody help a sister out? I'd hate to get glove-slapped next time I have a shitty hair day and wear a cap to class."

There has never been a rule that women may not wear hats indoors. In fact, women were required not only to wear hats but to keep them on indoors anywhere except their own homes (or when wearing an evening dress) right through the 60s. For this reason (and reasons of anchorage), women have always been exempted from taking their hats off even during the national anthem.

Etiquette mavens will debate the merits of caps as hats, but you're fine.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:25 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here is a list of hats, many of which may be appropriate to wear indoors. The list includes a wide variety of bridal veils, bicycle helmets, and religious hats. It is appropriate to wear turbans and kippahs indoors.

Bicycle helmets, for instance, are encouraged to be brought inside by my local bike advocacy group, in order to help local business owners become aware that they have bicyclist customers. I know a small child I know who has had brain surgery. He had to wear a helmet indoors. Hats are required at some restaurant jobs. They keep hair out of your food.

As many others have mentioned, it's about context.
posted by aniola at 2:25 PM on May 27, 2011


i don't think it's rude to wear a hat indoors. totally with dialetheia and usonian on being surprised at the kneejerk reactions here, and on the regional/age thing. i would be much more impressed by the rudeness of a person asking someone to take off their hat than the presence of the hat-wearer. a hat would also not register to me as 'costume'-like. sensin' some classism in a lot of these responses.
posted by ilk at 2:27 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


No-one has recommended asking someone to take off their hat. That can certainly be rude depending on how it is phrased.

At some point, someone always points out that they are surprised X is considered rude and that it is shocking that anyone would correct someone for X. Correcting adults is always unconscionably rude, and pointing this out is changing the subject.

A woman wearing a unisex hat such as a ball cap would be expected to remove it indoors, and more urgently required to do so for hat-removing situations such as the national anthem, being in the presence of a coffin, etc. As well as ball caps this would apply to trilbies and fedoras (both of which originated as feminine hats, named after the respective fictional females who wore them). And porkpies. Etc.
posted by tel3path at 2:37 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bridal veil: not a hat (hence the term "veil").

Bike helmet: why on god's green earth would anyone wear a bike helmet indoors? I don't know about you, but 100% of my bike riding takes place outdoors. I remove my helmet when going inside.

Religious hats: if we're talking about religious hats with regard to religions that require adherents to keep their heads/hair covered at all times, well of course those are exceptions to the rule. Note that most religions that do this have special kinds of hats that are not utilitarian - if you're a Sikh or an Orthodox Jew, you wear special religious headgear, not just "oh, hey, throw on whatever as long as your head's covered". (The possible exception being the wide-brimmed hats most Hasidic Jewish men wear, but they replace them with Kippahs indoors.)

I'm not even going to approach the "but what if a small adorable child has a terrible brain injury, and... and... and...!" b.s., because I think we can all agree that's a major exception.

And indoor jobs that require indoor employees to wear hats are ridiculous, sorry. Such jobs also typically require employees to wear garishly colored ill-fitting grease spattered polo shirts that are shared among the entire employee pool. Which does not mean that it is appropriate for you and all your friends/relatives/coworkers/classmates to share the same three filthy outfits amongst yourselves.
posted by Sara C. at 2:40 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's been hammered into me that, yes, it is rude to wear hats indoors. Although, it's a fairly lax rule and mostly only applies to when you're eating. So, you can wear a hat while you're in the mall (for example), but not while you're eating dinner. The mall food court is 50-50 and it depends on who I'm with as to whether or not I bother to remove my hat. The pub is also a weird "I'm not sure" zone (at least for me). It's casual enough that I feel like I should be able to leave my hat on, but I'm usually eating a full meal along with my pints, so maybe I should take my hat off?

The rule doesn't apply to women, though. Historically, this is because women's hats were basically sewn into their hair at the start of the day and didn't come out until they went to sleep. As this is no longer the case, I'm not sure what the hat double standard persists.
posted by asnider at 2:41 PM on May 27, 2011


I am SHOCKED with how heated and nearly petty this discussion has gotten. It seems like a lot of MeFites will pass irrevocable judgement on a man depending on how they adhere to social norms that are at best less understood than during the heyday of hat wearing, and I feel, much closer to outdated.

Perhaps we should break this down a little further and drop some of the judgmental attitudes.

For the record I am in Los Angeles.

I, for one, love hats but historically have rarely worn them (with the regrettable exception of my freshman year at university where I was not without my fedora.) The appropriation of head-ware by the douche-set is tragic in my mind and has dissuaded me from much other hat wearing.

However, I will wear a "ball cap" on occasion when doing outdoor activities, working out, or casual setting like shopping for groceries or occasionally a the mall. I also have a wool Kangol "beret" that I agonized over buying, but have been told by several people I "actually pull off."

I remove the Kangol when indoors unless it is a crowded bar and there is no reasonable place to stash the hat. However I did wear it to a the MOCA exhibit on street art recently and did not remove it. My thought process was "the venue is a (giant) warehouse, and the art is often trying to capture the vibe of urban streets." Plus there was no place to stash it.

The ball cap also gets removed 90% of the time whilst indoors, due to my own wish to adhere to "outdated" norms. Notable exceptions from recent memory are Disneyland (where you are never quite sure if you will be indoors or out in the next few minutes,) and the movie theater (I walked and frankly forgot to doff when I took my seat.)

I propose the following situations to the No-hats-Indoors-Ever hardliners:

A ball cap worn on a summers day at an outdoor mall. Should a man remove the ballcap each time he enters a new shop?

At an outdoor event where food is served (lets say a picnic,) do you remove your straw brimmed hat to eat? What if you are in a gazebo?

What about vehicular spaces? Planes trains and automobiles always have hats removed? How about a yacht?

TLDR: It depends, seemingly based on geographical location, and if you care that your hat-wearing may make a sub-set of those around you make harsh snap judgements then you should err on the side of removing it.

Or, use common sense. Look around you and if you see more men with hats-in-hand than hats-on-head, you are better off removing it.
posted by OctopusHat Jack at 2:42 PM on May 27, 2011


whoa, that was a lot of line-breaks, my apologies.
posted by OctopusHat Jack at 2:43 PM on May 27, 2011


According to Wikipedia, there are 1.2 billion Muslims (for example) in the world. I'll agree that it's Wikipedia, and I'll agree that I don't know that much about the religion, but I'd guess a significant percentage of them wear something on their head. I don't know that at that point, I'd be calling it an exception.

I have been required to wear a hat to keep my hair out of the food at a food co-op that had no ridiculous polo shirt requirement. I'm pretty sure the customers appreciated my hair not being in their food when they purchased it.

My point, again, is that context matters. The context in which it is considered rude to wear a hat indoors is varying and limited.
posted by aniola at 2:48 PM on May 27, 2011


totally with dialetheia and usonian on being surprised at the kneejerk reactions here, and on the regional/age thing

The consensus is generally, "do not wear a hat. if you are to wear a hat, be scrupulous about the etiquette involved." You aren't supposed to be wearing a hat in the first place: therefore, the circumstances under which you wear a hat should ensure that it is not an intrusion/imposition (physical or aesthetic) against everyone else. That's why people have such a strong reaction (I, too, am pretty shocked by the amount of traffic this question has generated).

I don't wear gloves indoors. I don't eat at a restaurant while wearing a puffy ski jacket. I don't wear my sunglasses while indoors. I wouldn't do any of these things unless I wanted to become known as "gloves guy" or "ski jacket guy" or "sunglasses guy." Are you wearing a hat because you want to cover your head, or because you want to become known as "hat guy"?

Part of this is because, for men, hats are a utility item. To turn the classism accusation back on the accuser, wearing a hat indoors is an appropriation of a cultural item normally used for utilitarian purposes to turn it into a costume accessory.

The context in which it is considered rude to wear a hat indoors is varying and limited.

No, the opposite: the context in which is considered acceptable to wear a hat indoors is varying and limited.
posted by deanc at 2:51 PM on May 27, 2011


A ball cap worn on a summers day at an outdoor mall. Should a man remove the ballcap each time he enters a new shop?

Yes.

At an outdoor event where food is served (lets say a picnic,) do you remove your straw brimmed hat to eat? What if you are in a gazebo?

You're outdoors, so you don't remove your hat. You have spontaneously invented a fictitious rule about removing hats while eating.

What about vehicular spaces? Planes trains and automobiles always have hats removed? How about a yacht?

These are considered an extension of the outdoors, so the hat would be left on.

I understand your surprise at the answers. I'm equally surprised... okay, not surprised, but disappointed... to be told that I'm blue-haired, rude, petty, classist, and (most impressively of all) judgemental for responding to a question about hat etiquette with answers about hat etiquette.

I started to worry that I was indeed being unreasonable, so I did a quick straw poll, and 100% the severed heads of the men I killed for wearing hats indoors agree that it is totally reasonable of me to answer the question as posed.
posted by tel3path at 2:53 PM on May 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


The class thing is a total canard. Up and down the socio-economic spectrum, people have been taught not to wear hats indoors. Everyone, anyone, can have class no matter what economic class you're in or from. Class is about respecting yourself and others, not about how much money you have. I'd venture that fewer wealthy people have class these days than less wealthy people.

A ball cap worn on a summers day at an outdoor mall. Should a man remove the ballcap each time he enters a new shop?

I'm keen to your trick question! A man should not be wearing a ballcap unless he's a baseball player on the field. If he were wearing a hat, he should take it off when he goes inside.

At an outdoor event where food is served (lets say a picnic,) do you remove your straw brimmed hat to eat? What if you are in a gazebo?

The rule is you take your hat off inside (subject to certain exceptions). It's not that you take your hat off to eat. The confusion arises because someone's parents or grandparents let the "no hats inside" rule slide, but so help me, you will not wear you hat at the dinner table. It's a line in the sand, sanctum sanctorum. You would, however, take your hat off if you were talking to a lady at the picnic, or a clergyman, or whatever. A gazebo is outside. You don't need to take your hat off (unless talking with a woman or a clergyman, etc.).

What about vehicular spaces? Planes trains and automobiles always have hats removed? How about a yacht?

If the vehicle is in your living room, it's inside, and you take you hat off. In the more likely event that the vehicle is not inside a building, you don't need to take your hat off (unless you're talking with a woman, or a clergyman or whatever). N.B.: A subway is not inside; it's underground; you can keep your hat on.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:05 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Obviously, in the case of a plane or other vehicle where you're sitting and there's a headrest, you would take your hat off. It's not a contest to keep your hat on all the time when wearing your hat would be ridiculous.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:08 PM on May 27, 2011


Two votes from twenty-somethings here in the UK - it is still good manners to take your hat off indoors.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:23 PM on May 27, 2011


This is totally a regional thing. I live in a liberal progressive West Coast American city (Olympia). We do not care one fuck about hats. We are also cool with women wearing pants.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 3:26 PM on May 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


The thing is, whether or not people care about it isn't the question; the question is whether it is rude. It is. Rude, I mean. A lot of people might not care. A lot of people also won't care if your table manners aren't the greatest. That doesn't mean it isn't rude.
posted by Justinian at 3:28 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, with some exceptions, it is still rude to wear a hat indoors. Hats are, generally, meant to keep the cold, wind, sun and birdshit out of your hair. They are outdoor clothing, you would no more wear a hat indoors than you would keep your galoshes on indoors.

Hint: rudeness has little to do with intent and almost everything to do with expectations. If people think it is rude, it is rude.


N.B.: A subway is not inside; it's underground; you can keep your hat on.

Unless it is going to poke someone in the eye, or drip on them.
posted by gjc at 3:29 PM on May 27, 2011


I live in a liberal cosmopolitan world-class European city. Every native here is entirely innocent of manners of any kind. The rule about removing men's hats indoors still stands, as does the rule about women's pants being appropriate in every setting.
posted by tel3path at 3:29 PM on May 27, 2011


Those of you who are shocked at how heated this is clearly didn't see the question about taking off your shoes upon entering someone else's house. This is flag football compared to that rugby match.

Those of you insistent on indoor hat-wearing not being rude - well, look, any question about whether something is or is not rude/disrespectful comes down to two factors: You are welcome to opine any way you like about the validity of opinion, including whether said opinion is irrational or antiquated or whatever. You're pretty much crossing into rude* territory when you tell other people how strongly they hold that opinion is inappropriate, mind you - it's opinion, it is by nature variable. It's not up to you how strongly people should feel their opinions. Until someone knocks your hat off your head you really shouldn't condemn their passion when someone asks them for their opinion.

Condemning etiquette rules as wrong is even more pointless. They are what they are. You can choose not to care about them but that doesn't make the answer "standard etiquette rules say X" wrong - it just makes it something you don't think is worth respecting. The only way they're wrong is if they are factually incorrect.

As far as religious requirements go, I suspect Ms Manners would be aghast that someone would imply she'd want anyone to violate their beliefs and/or use etiquette as a cudgel to cause emotional harm to others. Everything I have ever read from her and other etiquette aficionados says something to the effect that etiquette exists to help people feel more comfortable, both in their own actions and those of others. Using etiquette rules to try to make others feel badly is, itself, a violation of etiquette.

You're welcome to assert that multiculturalism implies the rules of etiquette should be changed and indoor hat-wearing allowed. But it has not had that result of yet, so it's irrelevant. Modern rules of etiquette continue to demand a man remove his hat when he is indoors, just as they demand that you not use that rule to harass others - whether it be because of a religious belief or because they choose not to honor that (or any) rules of etiquette.

So also in that vein, saying that nobody cares where you happen to be? Might be true, depending on how well you have your finger on the pulse of everyone's opinion. It might also be that the people who do care, because they recognize that it's up to opinion and etiquette, are too respectful of opinion or etiquette to ever tell you that they think what the hat-non-removers are doing is rude.

* See what I did there?
posted by phearlez at 3:32 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I also do not much care if someone leaves his hat on indoors. I might think him a bit of a rube, but I also do not necessarily care if someone is a bit of a rube.

Those are my personal preferences. My own personal preferences are not a complete subset of worldwide social customs. Telling the two apart is one of the purposes of etiquette.
posted by tel3path at 3:32 PM on May 27, 2011


Also, this is why buildings and homes have foyers and vestibules. So you can take off your outer-wear before you enter the home proper.
posted by gjc at 3:33 PM on May 27, 2011


N.B.: A subway is not inside; it's underground; you can keep your hat on.

Unless it is going to poke someone in the eye, or drip on them.


See the second point: It's not a contest to keep your hat on all the time when wearing your hat would be ridiculous.

That said, what kind of hat pokes someone in the eye? Are we living in some Mad Max dystopian future of spiked BattleHats?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rudeness on wikipedia:
a display of disrespectfulness by not complying with the social "laws" or etiquette of a group or culture
So does one believe that ones culture is static and ubiquitous across the whole world? Or does one accept that culture changes with time and regions?

Because, in this current time, in my region, wearing a hat indoors is not rude. OP: I say no.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 3:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Obligatory.
posted by gjc at 3:37 PM on May 27, 2011


I think it's rude for people to wear their hats indoors because almost all hats cause a shadow over the face, making it difficult to see people's eyes. I have a lot of trouble having a conversation with someone whose eyes I can't see. It makes me nervous, because it's harder to gauge their reactions to things. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

There are good reasons to wear hats (or sunglasses for that matter) in certain situations, such as when trying to protect onesself from the elements, and those practical reasons outweigh in importance the difficulty of conversing with someone whose face is obscured. But it seems rude to me to put one's personal fashion sense above the comfort of one's conversation partners.
posted by decathecting at 3:38 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because, in this current time, in my region, wearing a hat indoors is not rude. OP: I say no.

Just because polite people do not yell "Hey Rube! Take off that hat!" does not mean that no one (or even most people) in your region do not consider it rude.
posted by cyndigo at 3:38 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


In this current time, in the USA, wearing a man's hat indoors is rude. This is true whether or not anyone is actually bothered by it, and it is true whether or not anyone has confronted you about it.

No-one has yet confronted me about my personal guilty pleasure of displaying my latest victim's head on a pike, but I am aware that I am bending a number of etiquette principles by doing so. This is a choice I make because, in this instance, publicizing my personal might and disregard for the law is more important to me than etiquette. If continuing to wear your hat indoors is important to you, then of course you must do it, but you aren't making the act of indoor-hat-wearing more polite by doing so.
posted by tel3path at 3:41 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just because polite people do not yell "Hey Rube! Take off that hat!" does not mean that no one (or even most people) in your region do not consider it rude.

If this thread is any indication, only rude people think it's inappropriate to wear a hat indoors.

That said: Etiquette in western culture, including every part of the United States that I'm familiar with, indicates that a man should remove his hat indoors in all but the most informal of settings. Whether or not etiquette needs to be followed in any given setting is a separate question.
posted by The World Famous at 3:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


this is hilarious. i get that there are very specific occasions that you'd take your hat off (grandma's funeral, bff's wedding, etc). but holy hell, what difference does it make the rest of the time? i'm standing in solidarity with my fellow west coasters and other laid back folks; it seems like a really dated and petty thing to get worked up over. i'm not even sure i knew this was a thing.

it makes me think that if my wearing a hat indoors makes me a "gauche", uncouth, rube then the rest of my appearance must indicate i'm only a half step above being a slovenly, hobo mouthbreather that throws my feces at strangers or something. anyway, it's a good thing we all know you don't judge a book by the fucking cover. right?
posted by rainperimeter at 3:58 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Just because polite people do not yell "Hey Rube! Take off that hat!" does not mean that no one (or even most people) in your region do not consider it rude.

Unless someone has conducted a study that conclusively shows the numbers, then it's an empty assertion. We are then reduced to anecdotes. Many people in this thread speak from experience that on the West Coast, they have not heard of it being called rude. No doubt there are people on all sides of this issue in every region, but unless you're omniscient, it's not useful to assert things that cannot be verified. Going by anecdata (for what it's worth), so far it does appear that there may be a pronounced regional difference, and large metropolises on the West Coast of the U.S. stand on the side of "not rude". I think it's also unquestionably true that clothing has gotten more informal here in California over the past few decades.

OK, I actually located the NYTimes article I referred to in my previous post - warning for those who count their clicks, this link leads directly to NYTimes:

Hollywood Casual, Down to Their Toes

This is so relevant to the discussion, I'll pick a sizable quote (pardon the length) - but it illustrates both how the West Coast, especially Hollywood (which is my reference frame) leads the casual clothing revolution, and the attitude of "anything goes" (and so, I say to the OP, out here, it's definitely NOT RUDE to wear a hat indoor). It is strongly contrasting this with other parts of the country (and the article is from 2006!), proving regional differences:

IT was only recently that Donald De Line, a leading Hollywood producer and a keen observer of local trends, noted the onslaught of nearly naked feet, and not just on women.

Suddenly, flip-flops — those slabs of rubber with V-shaped slivers between the toes — are ubiquitous in what were once dressed-up settings.

"I was meeting with a director and a writer on a project, and they both were wearing flip-flops," said Mr. De Line, parking his pristine Mustang at the premiere party for "Superman Returns" at a Westwood theater. He was wearing Vans, shoes designed for skateboarders. He added: "I noticed, because that is definitely a new level of casual."

In a city that for decades has been leading America toward a more relaxed personal style, Los Angeles is once again resetting the standard for dressing down. No longer content to banish the necktie, untuck the shirttails and let the stubble grow wild, Angelenos this summer are enthusiastically adopting flip-flops — also known as thongs or beachcombers — to dinner, to meetings or even, last week, to a premiere.

"I've seen guys on the red carpet wearing flip-flops," said Vivian Turner, a celebrity stylist who has helped dress famous names like Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie and Geena Davis. "It's the first thing in the summertime: put on a great skinny suit with the shirt open and a pair of thongs. I totally approve. Thongs are cool."

Well, they are here, anyway. It may still be difficult to imagine a pair of flip-flops, even expensive ones, at a Wall Street investment house, or thwacking their way through a Congressional hearing room. Last summer, the Northwestern University national championship women's lacrosse team caused a furor in the capital when team members were photographed wearing flip-flops on a White House visit. The trend seems to baffle, if not offend, some people from other parts of the country.

posted by VikingSword at 3:59 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am on the West Coast, and I am always impressed by people who politely take their hats off inside.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:01 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


>in all but the most informal of settings

Here's the beauty of etiquette: it has sweet fuck-all to do with money. You take off your hat (and don't chew with your mouth open and lick your fingers) whether you're at the White House or Applebee's, whether you're accepting an Academy Award or entering the home of your gardener.

It's about respecting other people, regardless of their social situation OR YOURS. Which is why, as someone mentioned upthread, that Hollywood thumbing-one's-nose at the "prudes" is very much a statement of considering oneself to be above the proles.

I support the right of every person to present/behave as they wish, within the bounds of public safety. But it's disingenuous to then demand that no one notice/judge your presentation/behaviour.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 4:15 PM on May 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


it makes me think that if my wearing a hat indoors makes me a "gauche", uncouth, rube then the rest of my appearance must indicate i'm only a half step above being a slovenly, hobo mouthbreather that throws my feces at strangers or something. anyway, it's a good thing we all know you don't judge a book by the fucking cover. right?

Exaggerate much? When you send the signal that you don't care what people think about you, you can't really be offended when they form an opinion.


"I've seen guys on the red carpet wearing flip-flops," said Vivian Turner, a celebrity stylist who has helped dress famous names like Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie and Geena Davis. "It's the first thing in the summertime: put on a great skinny suit with the shirt open and a pair of thongs. I totally approve. Thongs are cool."

I'm not really going to take etiquette advice from someone whose job it is to dress celebrities who are so vain that they can't leave the house without getting validation that what they have chosen to wear is "cool".
posted by gjc at 4:18 PM on May 27, 2011


I'll agree that I don't know that much about the religion, but I'd guess a significant percentage of them wear something on their head.

You clearly don't know much about Islam. There is no rule within Islam that requires adherents to wear hats. Many devout women wear headscarves. Which are not hats*. Men are, to the best of my knowledge, not required to wear headgear of any kind. Many Muslim men wear hats, but it's for the same reasons that Christians, Hindus, and practitioners of Vodun wear hats: because it looks cool.

I am almost certain that Muslim men in affluent westernized parts of the world remove their hats indoors. Muslim men in poor non-industrialized parts of the world are outdoors most of the time anyway, thus I'm not sure there's much of a distinction to be made in those cases.

*The same goes for headgear required in foodservice contexts. Those little fabric do-rag thingies that tie in the back are not hats, sorry.
posted by Sara C. at 4:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


A fashion stylist is an authority on fashion and style, not necessarily on etiquette. Fashion often relies on pushing the limits of etiquette, and sometimes produces changes in etiquette, but it is not in itself etiquette.
posted by tel3path at 4:25 PM on May 27, 2011


>in all but the most informal of settings

Here's the beauty of etiquette: it has sweet fuck-all to do with money. You take off your hat (and don't chew with your mouth open and lick your fingers) whether you're at the White House or Applebee's, whether you're accepting an Academy Award or entering the home of your gardener.


You seem to have mis-read my statement. I didn't say anything about money. I referenced the formality of settings, referring to "the most informal of settings." Applebees is not the most informal of settings by a long shot, nor is the home of one's gardener. Moreover, the "setting" does not refer merely to the nature of the structure or building wherein one might wish to wear a hat.

Working alone in the basement of one's majestic mansion on a hobby plumbing project might be one of the most informal of settings, for example, where a very wealthy person might safely wear a hat without fear of breaching etiquette. If Ralph Lauren hops off his horse and stops to use the toilet in his million-dollar barn, he may leave his hat on. And if I am home alone watching a movie, etiquette does not require that I remove my hat or, indeed, that I wear anything at all.
posted by The World Famous at 4:35 PM on May 27, 2011


Just because some jerk in L.A. thinks it's cool to wear flip flops with a suit (it's not, but whatever) doesn't mean up is down and red is blue. It's still rude to wear your hat indoors.
posted by Sara C. at 4:36 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm a woman in Australia, so your mileage may vary.

Here's the thing. The sun here is fierce. Some parts of the country have a hole in the ozone layer. We have a lot of sunburn and skin cancer.

So much, in fact, that the government runs an advertisement campaign urging people to "Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide" which stands for Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on wrap around sunglasses.

So, as a pale skinned person in a fierce-sun climate, one wears a broad brimmed straw or cloth hat when outdoors to avoid sunburn.

Then one goes indoors (shopping centre, post office, chemist, cafe) and one has nowhere to put that hat.

For example, your hands are full with shopping bags, so you can't take your hat off and hold it as you walk around indoors.

Or perhaps the cafe table is a little damp from just being wiped down by the waitress, or it has some sticky cake crumbs on it - you don't want to put something that is going on your hair/scalp on a table that is less than pristine. (I don't think I have ever seen a hat rack in a cafe.)

Plus, if you take your hat off, your hair will be all sweaty and smushed and yucky looking underneath.

Also, if the fluorescent lighting indoors is especially fierce, the hat helps stop you getting a migraine headache from the glare of it.

So, you keep that hat on your head. It's the sensible thing to do.
posted by Year of meteors at 4:37 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Etiquette requires nothing of a person who is alone. Etiquette is other-directed. Solitude is not the same category as informality.
posted by tel3path at 4:39 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A fashion stylist is an authority on fashion and style, not necessarily on etiquette. Fashion often relies on pushing the limits of etiquette, and sometimes produces changes in etiquette, but it is not in itself etiquette.

It may very well be etiquette for a given setting. There are different rules for clothing etiquette on the red carpet, and a fashion stylist's job it is to take all that into account. This is yet another example of what many people have claimed in this thread: whether wearing a hat indoor is rude or not is entirely context dependent. It depends on the region of the country, in depends on circumstances, it depends on the particular subcultural environment. Nobody is going to consider it rude that a model or a member of the public at a fashion show, for example, is wearing a hat - and I have attended many, many fashion shows, both in the U.S. and in Paris (where I worked as a fashion photographer back in the 80's). And nobody that I know of would consider somebody at a hollywood party "rude" for wearing a hat indoor - and I've been to tons of such parties, and I don't mean costume parties. Someone mentioned upthread that it would be rude not to take off your hat in a store in a mall, or when walking into a cafe... well, that's just utterly implausible, at least here in Los Angeles - go to any cafe or any number of stores, and I guess they must be filled with "rude" people wearing hats... or, you know, you are mistaken when it comes to what you think the standards are. As a matter of fact, I was trying to think of ordinary non-party type gatherings, like Thanksgiving, and I went through photos of two such Thanksgiving dinners in Los Angeles that I attended, one in 2009, one in 2007, and in both there were people wearing hats (baseball and knits) - and I certainly don't remember any mention of that fact, it was so unremarkable. Bottom line, to the OP: standards differ, it does not seem to be considered generally "rude" to wear a hat indoors in large metropolitan areas of the West Coast (anecdotally, fwiw).
posted by VikingSword at 4:40 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you are anywhere that the sun can get you, you can keep your hat on, man or woman. Sun is the only reason why I wear a hat at all. If it weren't for the sun, I would never wear a hat.

A hat should not go on the table because it isn't part of the meal. I've often had no choice but to put my hat on the floor, which is a failing of the hatrack-less venue. That doesn't mean I should sit down at a cafe table with my ballcap still on.

Hair musses can be avoided in various ways. One way is to pin the front of your hair back when donning the hat, and remove it when taking off the hat. The pin can be quickly stowed in the inner brim. Also, when putting the hat on, a swift snap upwards at the back can help to maintain the body of the hairstyle.
posted by tel3path at 4:45 PM on May 27, 2011


gjc, sorry if you're getting mixed signals there; i in fact don't care what you think about my outward appearance. you'll like it or not. make a character assessment. maybe somehow you'll allow me the chance to prove that assessment wrong or right. perhaps we will become friends or not. or the brief encounter we have, despite my style of dress that you dislike, will actually be completely pleasant. i really can't give this too much of my attention. this is probably exactly how you go on about your day, too.
posted by rainperimeter at 4:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes there is overlap between solitude and informality, but that doesn't mean it's fair to redefine "the most informal of settings" to exclude Applebee's because other people are present.

Also, just because something is common practice doesn't necessarily make it polite, although it might gradually become so if common practice is actually more respectful than the previous standard. It's not common practice to acknowledge gifts, for example, but that is a far more open-and-shut case of disrespect despite being completely normal. I doubt that anyone who is ignoring gifts is doing so on the basis that it's nicer to the recipient, therefore common practice isn't going to change the etiquette standard any time soon.

Nobody who is arguing for keeping hats on is doing so because they think it's more respectful to others than leaving it off. The arguments for leaving hats on are based on stuff like: nobody cares/has complained; it's more convenient to leave the hat on; because it just looks cool; etc.
posted by tel3path at 4:53 PM on May 27, 2011


Cosine, yes, generally speaking men should take their hats off indoors. They should also not wear their hair beyond a certain length, wear it obviously colored (by artificial means as opposed to sunbleached), wear earrings or other facial piercings, leather trousers (unless you travel by motorcycle), floral prints, vulgar T-shirts, kilts, chaps, shoes-without-socks, sandals, more than 2 items of jewellery, and so on. Nor should they smoke a pipe, cigar, or play a banjo/accordion/ukelele. If you are in a place where 2 or more of these norms are relaxed, it is not unreasonable to assume that the hat-inside rule is also relaxed and no great offense will be caused. Otherwise, you should stick to basic etiquette and remove your hat indoors. This is meant as a guideline, not an exact formula.
posted by K.P. at 4:58 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Look, the question is about hat etiquette, and although personal experiences was in the question, most people who are answering in the "yes, it's rude" category are going by current social convention, where the people in the "no it's not" category are in the "I've never heard of this, is something I'd need a hat to know about" category.

A simple google search of "hat indoors etiquette us" brings up a number of results that support "yes it's rude" as current social convention, so yes, it's rude.
posted by sweetkid at 4:59 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


On thinking about it, I think it's perfectly acceptable to keep a hat on if you're mostly outside but ducking inside for a few minutes, like in the context of shopping or getting food to take out. It would probably be better to take it off if you could, but obviously in those situations it's not practical.

Really it's most important to remove your hat when you're coming indoors to go to a place where you'll be settling in and staying a while. Probably because the tradition of removing hats is related to hospitality and showing your host that you are comfortable in their home.
posted by Sara C. at 4:59 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes there is overlap between solitude and informality, but that doesn't mean it's fair to redefine "the most informal of settings" to exclude Applebee's because other people are present.

That's not why Applebee's is excluded from the "most informal of settings." A restaurant is simply not the most informal possible setting, period. Welding in a metal shop is the among the most informal of settings. Being interviewed in the locker room after winning the Super Bowl is among the most informal of settings. It has nothing to do with how many people are there.
posted by The World Famous at 4:59 PM on May 27, 2011


There are no etiquette rules about male hair length, artificial colour, jewellery (in general, though in formal/professional situations this may vary) leather trousers (in general, though in formal/professional situations this may vary) floral prints (ditto), vulgar t-shirts (ditto, and depending on the nature of the vulgarity), chaps (ditto), shoes-without-socks (ditto), sandals (ditto), number of items of jewellery (ditto), kilts (in general, though in less formal/professional situations this may vary).

There are no etiquette rules about whether men should smoke pipes or cigars in settings where smoking is allowed.

There are no etiquette rules about whether men should play any given instrument in settings where playing musical instruments is appropriate.
posted by tel3path at 5:02 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


> it does not seem to be considered generally "rude" to wear a hat indoors in large metropolitan areas of the West Coast

Yes, that appears to be the case. Can we break off the fisticuffs for a moment and agree that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question? I submit that:

1) In more traditional areas (notably the East Coast, in the US), it is still considered rude/gauche to wear a hat indoors (even though hat-wearing has, lamentably, drastically declined in popularity).

2) In less traditional areas (notably the West Coast, in the US), it is not considered rude/gauche to wear a hat indoors (or to wear sandals with suits, or any number of things that make Easterners shudder).

Nobody is a Bad Person for believing as they do or having the habits they do. The OP can make their own judgment about what is valid for them, based on the copious data available in this very interesting thread.
posted by languagehat at 5:06 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


You're conflating "not rude" with "not uncommon," and sadly, those are 2 different things.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 5:10 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having thought about this some more, here's my answer: anywhere it is appropriate to keep on an overcoat, a raincoat, or gloves, it is also appropriate to keep your hat on. If you'd take off your raincoat or shuck your gloves, then the hat comes OFF.
posted by KathrynT at 5:11 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sara C, this is why women are required to remove their hats when hosting guests in their own homes. Because keeping the hat on makes it look like the hostess is on her way somewhere else.
posted by tel3path at 5:13 PM on May 27, 2011


If you're being interviewed in the locker room after winning the Super Bowl, why is it important to you to keep your hat on?

You're conflating "important" with "not rude." It's important because, dude, you just won the Super Bowl and your hat says that on it. And someone might be paying you a lot of money to wear that hat. Likewise, if you're Sebastian Vettel being interviewed indoors after winning a race, it is important (and not at all rude) that you fulfill your contractual obligations by wearing your Red Bull hat. There are very, very few circumstances where it etiquette does not indicate that a man's hat should be removed indoors. But there are circumstances.

If it's an emergency, wouldn't a towel be better?

Over which part of the body are you imagining these hats are worn?

You're conflating "not rude" with "not uncommon," and sadly, those are 2 different things.

I can't imagine it's very pleasant to spend life thinking that rudeness is common just because of an article of clothing that people sometimes wear indoors.
posted by The World Famous at 5:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are no etiquette rules about...

The OP did not ask specifically about "etiquette rules." They asked if it was "rude," a "social faux pax" or "gauche." It is possible to be all 3 of these things without violating a specific rule of etiquette.
posted by K.P. at 5:20 PM on May 27, 2011


Is our society SO overrun with mincing, powdered-wig niceties that individuality and creative expression are stifled? No, I don't think so. And neither does the bloke wearing the "I Farted In Key West" shirt sitting next to me on the bus.

Continue the rush to the lowest common denominator if you like the trajectory. I'll keep sending rsvps and thank-you notes, reciprocating social invitations, keeping my napkin on my lap, taking off my fucking hat, and trying to make the world a bit more pleasant. (Note: this includes NOT correcting boors unless they're my children or if someone has specifically asked a question about etiquette.)
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 5:25 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really can't think of a case where it is in fact possible to be "rude", commit a "social faux pas", or be "gauche" without violating any specific rule of etiquette.
posted by tel3path at 5:26 PM on May 27, 2011


I'm going to assume that any man under 25 wearing a hat indoors is rude (baseball cap) or pretentious (anything else) and that any man over 25 who wears a hat indoors is going bald. This presumption is based on the fact that this is always the case.
posted by joannemullen at 5:28 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


By the way, if it is cold indoors, either because

a) the heater is off; or
b) because the heater isn't turned up high enough; or
c) because the heater is turned up all the way and is struggling mightily but just isn't up to the job; or
d) there is a constant cold draft from a door to the outside opening and closing,

and you are wearing a hat/beret/cap made of wool/merino/rabbit felt/possum fur or some other very-insulating fabric

and you would be physically uncomfortable/cold/chilly if you took that hat off,

you have my blessing to wear that hat/beret indoors until you start feeling too warm.

My best friend really feels the cold.

While it gets less cold in Australia than in the US, we also use a lot less heating in winter, so when there is frost on the ground [and parts of Australia have been recorded as low as −10.0°C/14ºF] it can be really uncomfortably cold indoors.

My friend would always leave her wool beret on indoors so she didn't get all cold and shivery.

Being cold is a miserable feeling, and no judgemental people should be allowed to shame people into taking off their hats indoors if they will feel cold as a result.
posted by Year of meteors at 5:44 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jack Donaghy would never wear a hat indoors.

Being cold is a miserable feeling, and no judgemental people should be allowed to shame people into taking off their hats indoors if they will feel cold as a result.

That there is an exception to the rule implies there IS a rule. Also, being female, the rule doesn't apply. Unless she was living as a male.
posted by gjc at 5:49 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well as already stated, it's against etiquette for judgemental people to shame people into doing not-X.

If someone is in your home and he is wearing a parka and stadium boots and a hat that politicians wear to go to Russia in and has a scarf wound around his face such that he peeks out like a 20s mobster proffering a password at a speakeasy, the polite thing to do would be to notice this oddity and ask "are you warm enough? perhaps I could close the window?"

The well-established fact that shaming people about something is poor etiquette, or that a person might have pragmatic reasons for doing something notionally rude, doesn't change the fact that that thing is notionally rude. All it should do is bring those pragmatic reasons to the uppermost position in the mind of the person most empowered to remove those pragmatic reasons.
posted by tel3path at 5:50 PM on May 27, 2011


I'll give an actual example of what it's like when social conventions are broken. A few months ago I went on a trip with some friends and looong story short, one of the friends of our group of three was being a grump and was aiming all of her vitriol inexplicably at me. It was clear she didn't want me to be there and didn't want to partake in any of our activities. We went to a bar and she sat there with a hat and coat on, staring into space, until I got so uncomfortable I thought maybe it was time to leave. It's caused a major rift in our friendship ( again, long long story majorly abridged) and when I recounted this story to a mutual friend, the thing that really got her was the hat and coat on indoors. Because it made it seem like the friend didn't want to be there, wasn't making herself comfortable, and wanted to be on her way. It's why we say 'take your coat off, stay a while!'. Flouting social conventions of taking hats/coats off makes people uncomfortable. It's not just a case of judgemental/not judgementa, it's a case of giving off specific and offputting social cues.
posted by sweetkid at 5:54 PM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I imagine that, although a decompressed airlock is notionally "indoors" on a space station, a male astronaut should not be required to keep his helmet on because of the unfortunate effects of vacuum on the unprotected human body.

I can't think of every possible edge case, of course. Still, the basic rule still stands, other things being equal and given that nobody has made a case for hat-leaving-on's greater contribution to civility than hat-taking-off.
posted by tel3path at 5:54 PM on May 27, 2011


I'm going to assume that any man under 25 wearing a hat indoors is rude (baseball cap) or pretentious (anything else) and that any man over 25 who wears a hat indoors is going bald.

That's a great rule of thumb. I am, in fact, over 25 and going bald, so it's totally fine and not rude at all if I wear a hat indoors! Success!
posted by The World Famous at 5:54 PM on May 27, 2011


"should not be required to take his helmet off." Ahem.

It is late and I am tired, so I don my nightcap and set forth, candle in hand, up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.
posted by tel3path at 5:56 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sarah C., there are large populations of Muslims, both in the westernized part of the world and elsewhere, who do believe there is a rule that requires them to wear hats. Muslim males frequently wear a kufi or similar headcovering.

I once asked a friend (an American-born Washington DC resident, if it matters) about the significance of his kufi and was told that while not all Muslims believe it is necessary, many believe that it is important because Muhammad covered his head, and because of a hadith stating that headcoverings distinguish Muslims from people of other faiths. Those who wear a kufi tend to wear it any time they are outside their own homes, both indoors and outdoors.
posted by decathecting at 6:39 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


sweetkid, in that example it is your friends body-language, eye contact, and what she said or didn't say that would strike me as rude or unfriendly.

The hat/coat thing wouldn't bother me at all.

I went to dinner at a friends house the other day. They're lovely people, and I was really happy to see them and spend time with them. They have a lot of floor-to-ceiling glass windows (no curtains) in their lounge room, and a wood fire that they were only able to light once they got home from work. (Because if you leave a fire burning all day unattended, it's a fire hazard.)

I kept my jumper, wool coat, and scarf on for several hours while the room warmed up. When I arrived, there was a throw rug on the couch, and when I sat down, I politely asked if it was okay to use the throw rug. When they said that was fine, I draped the throw rug over my legs too.

That's not rudeness, that's just thinking "I would much rather be able to concentrate on listening to your delightful and charming conversation than shivering and being cold."
posted by Year of meteors at 6:42 PM on May 27, 2011


Correction: it is rude, unless there is a good reason. Ignorance and biting one's thumb at convention is not a good reason.

Acceptable reasons are also: astronauts, muslims, and visiting friends who are too cheap to put the fucking heat on.
posted by gjc at 6:47 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decathecting, I hate to call your friend wrong, but Wikipedia would beg to differ. A Kufi is a hat originating in West Africa and commonly worn throughout the African diaspora by men of all religions. Even if you go with the proper name of the cap worn by Muslim men worldwide to set themselves apart as Muslims, the article makes it clear that Islam does not require men to wear Taqiyah, but that many choose to wear Taqiyah to set them apart as Muslims. This would be like suggesting that Christians are required to wear those crass T-shirts with religious pop cultural references on them.

Even if one imagines that some Muslim men deem it necessary to wear hats for religious reasons (though this is IN NO WAY mandatory in the way that it is mandatory for Sikhs or Orthodox Jews, by the way - it's just not), the Taqiyah goes along with my original suggestion that religious headgear is set apart from utilitarian headgear. Muslim men don't wear Stetsons or Yankees caps to identify themselves as Muslim, they wear Taqiyah.
posted by Sara C. at 6:57 PM on May 27, 2011


Personally I probably wouldn't judge you (much), and as you can see a lot of people here wouldn't either (particularly in certain regions of the country). However, there are enough people who would find it rude that it seems reasonable to assume that it still qualifies as a faux pas. There is no single ultimate authority to appeal to on this (beyond Miss Manners, that is - I love her so); St. Peter is not going to be standing at the pearly gates waiting to ask you why you wore your hat indoors. But, you should assume that in many places you go, there will be a number of people (particularly older ones) who will be put off. That's just facts. It's your decision whether it's worth it to you to risk that.

Obviously, one also should not tell someone publicly (like, in front of other people, particularly) that they are being rude by wearing a hat, because the essential purpose of etiquette is making people feel comfortable (even the really dumb arbitrary rules have a lot to do with this, I think - if there are standard rules that everyone knows, people will know what to do, and thereby don't have to feel awkward about doing things incorrectly. Problems arise, of course, when people don't know the rules and then end up feeling awkward and excluded). Loudly announcing, "Hey asshole in the hat, were you raised in a barn?" in the middle of a restaurant would be decidedly more uncouth than wearing a hat would be. A lot of the pro-hat voices in this thread seem to be assuming that the anti-hat contingent would be the types to make a nasty, public call-out - but I would bet you that 99% of them aren't. They're not trying to be superior dicks; they were just raised a certain way (and a way that remains pretty common, if not universal) and are cluing you in now so that you won't have to face the (likely silent) judgment of your grandmother's friends (or whoever it may be - as this thread shows, it's not JUST old folks who care about this) later. Yes, it's a mostly arbitrary rule. So are most rules about attire - you guys wouldn't wear swim trunks to the office, right?
posted by naoko at 7:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Loudly announcing, "Hey asshole in the hat, were you raised in a barn?" in the middle of a restaurant would be decidedly more uncouth than wearing a hat would be.

Unless the hat wearer is your kid brother, in which case "You have to take your hat off in restaurants, you fuckin' heathen!" is par for the course.
posted by Sara C. at 7:49 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


So long as you are not obstructing my view, I don't care if you wear a hat inside or not.

I went a Mariachi El Bronx gig a little while back where a six foot man wearing a poncho and gigantic sombrero stood in front of me and I could not see anything. (The gig was a in London, so... I guess he wore fancy dress?)

That dude was an ass. Do not be him. Otherwise, hats ahoy!
posted by hot soup girl at 7:57 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


So long as you are not obstructing my view

Oh, this reminds me of a particularly rude thing that I did that I admit makes everything that I just said above slightly suspect - I recently said (to my boyfriend) "people wearing hats at concerts should be shot" within earshot of someone who was wearing a hat, at a concert. It wasn't intentional (one of those things where the room gets quiet just long enough for you to say something more audibly than you meant to and you make a total ass of yourself), but it did happen. But shit, have you been to the Paradise Rock Club? The view is bad enough in there as it is.
posted by naoko at 8:07 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stunning number of responses, thanks all!

For the record I was asking for a friend, I don't wear a hat myself unless I am blocking the sun and when I do I always remove it when a roof is handling that job.
posted by Cosine at 10:34 PM on May 27, 2011


Interesting thread! A bit late to the game, I know, but my personal opinion is that it depends on the setting. I flew in first class recently from Los Angeles to New York, on an internationally-configured aircraft, and the purser wore a hat. Trust me, she pulled it off big time. She looked very fashionable. It wasn't actually a hat per se, but more of a fedora-type... it was black and went very well with her uniform.

I was a bit surprised at first, as it was the first time I saw a flight attendant/purser wear a hat, but again, she managed to pull it off while looking professional, yet stylish. So, it really does depend on the setting and environment. Basically, a common rule I follow is, if others take off their hat, I'll take mine off.
posted by dubious_dude at 3:34 AM on May 28, 2011


I am really shocked by all the hat judging folks. I must have offended countless, countless people in my life! I am a 40+ year old woman and I wear a baseball type hat a lot. There are few places that I would not wear a hat such as dinner at someone's house or fancy restaurant. If I was allowed to wear a hat at a job I would, depending on the type of job.
Hat acceptable situations for me:

Grocery shopping or any shopping for that matter.
Any non-fancy restaurant.
Dining at a friend's home in a non-formal situation.
Any non-serious situation I guess.

Do I wear a hat all the time? No but I often do and I guess I will continue to offend. I thought this kind of anti-hat sentiment was WAY outdated. Huh.
posted by futz at 8:28 AM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


You should wear a hat if and when you want to wear a hat. Unless someone can provide a valid justification why you should not. "It's rude" is not a justification, unless you can clearly enunciate why it is rude in the specific circumstance you're in. People who want to see you as rude will find reasons to see you as rude. In other words, I'm as rude as you choose to see me. It's a game, and unless the rules are clearly delineated, you should refuse to play, or else the goalposts will be continually shifting (see also: tipping, otherwise known as "We've ALWAYS tipped 35%!").

Reasons I've heard for removing one's hat indoors (specifically as regards perceived rudeness):

1. It appears as if you are about to leave. If your host is concerned about this, assure them that you are in no hurry to leave. Add that if it would make them more comfortable, you will remove it.
2. It's a sign of respect. This is nonsense. Anyone who will judge you on whether or not you wear a hat doesn't deserve your respect.
3. It (the hat) is gross in some way. If this is true, clean your hat. But if you're wearing a gross hat and you remove it, whatever's under the hat is also going to be gross. And more likely (esp. hair) to fall from one's head (into food, for example). But seriously, wash your hat.
4. It obscures the face. If you are wearing your hat in such a manner as to obscure your face, you're probably being pretty silly. Stop that. You're making people uncomfortable. Or you're being self-conscious, in which case, Stop that. You're making people uncomfortable. The important thing is that we be able to relax in each others' presence. (And having excessive rules about ill-defined "rudeness" is not a way to make other comfortable. Stop it. You're making people uncomfortable.)

OP, I hope this helps your friend. Tell them to be confident, and wear/not-wear their hat proudly, as they choose.

[Disclosure: I own a non-ironic fedora. And I look good in it. Hat-ers.]
posted by Eideteker at 2:27 PM on May 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm as rude as you choose to see me. It's a game, and unless the rules are clearly delineated, you should refuse to play, or else the goalposts will be continually shifting

No, that's too glib. The rules are pretty well defined (though all those post-JFK no hat years did cause them to fade a bit) and as we have seen, there's many who still see it as gauche (including me, for the record, though that's btw). And the goalposts do shift, and continually. Men no longer bow, too few rise at table for their elders, waltzing is now acceptable even in polite society, and try finding a spittoon at even a good hotel. By the time I die, perhaps everyone will be wearing hats all the time. A safe middle ground for OP and the rest of is to be neither the first to break the rules nor the last to hold on to them.

2. It's a sign of respect. This is nonsense. Anyone who will judge you on whether or not you wear a hat doesn't deserve your respect.


Again, too glib. Anything you wear is making a deliberate statement and an invitation to judgement, good or bad. A hat indoors is stating that you are ignorant (thus OP's first question) or utterly self-regarding. It's not a moral question (save insofar as arrant self-regard is immoral) anymore than bad grammar is a moral question - but it does reveal a lot about you.

Here's the bottom line on manners. Your job, the job of all of us, is to try to make other people as comfortable as possible. Sometimes, oftentimes, this requires respecting the irrational. If I'm invited to a service at a temple and they offer me a yarmulke, I'm game. And barring any strong reason to the contrary, I'm happy to comply with the expected. why act better in a temple than anywhere else?

Of course, I look awful in hats and never wear them. So maybe just jealous.

(By the way, would you feel comfortable in exporting this F-U, don't judge me by the clothes I wear thing if you were, say, trekking the back waters of Nepal where the locals were deeply offended by short shorts? Become the Ugly American? And if you would scruple for them, why not for your fellow countrymen? Something to consider.)

Old story - fellow standing in back of an elevator, wearing a hat and a woman walks in. He takes off his hat. She is in front of him and cannot see him after this. Elevator is slow. Woman says to no one "Why's this elevator so Goddamn slow?"

Without a word, man puts hat back on.

Old poem -

"Now that people are wearing hats again
I can tell people to go piss in their hats again"

(I heard that years ago on the radio and if anyone can get me a citation for the author, I will be most grateful.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:28 PM on May 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


The issue is whether it is rude for men to wear hats indoors. It has never been, nor is it now, rude for women to wear hats indoors.

Note that at the recent royal wedding, women were required to wear a hat inside Westminster Abbey (leading to some of the ugliest and most bizarre hats in history, but that's a different matter). Any man trying the same would have been flogged.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:24 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Yet again, this is not the place for lively debate. If you've stated your position, please take further discussion with other posters to memail. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2011


Wow, the responses to this thread are really surprising. I never gave hats that much thought. I grew up in the American midwest, and have since lived in various other places. And, while I suppose I haven't had all that many friends who wore baseball caps, I've certainly known men who wore other kinds with fair regularity. And I really haven't noticed if they wear them inside. And I doubt most of the other people I know notice either.

Of course, sometimes I wear my coat inside, because I get cold easily. And I refuse to worry too much about whether I am being rude as a result, because I would infinitely rather be warm.

Given how liberal metafilter tends to be, I really didn't expect this response. Perhaps the Hat Thing is just very deeply ingrained in my culture and I never noticed it?
posted by Because at 3:57 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


1) In more traditional areas (notably the East Coast, in the US), it is still considered rude/gauche to wear a hat indoors (even though hat-wearing has, lamentably, drastically declined in popularity).

FWIW, I live in the Tennessee, and I didn't really know this rule existed. It must be faded badly.

Years ago I went to PF Chang's with a couple of friends, one of whom wore a baseball cap the whole time. Midway through the meal someone from a table halfway across the restaurant got a waiter to come relay his complaint that my friend's hat simply had to come off. We were all flabbergasted by this bizarre request. If I remember right, my buddy said 'no, there are no rules at this restaurant about wearing hats' (because that was true, so what the hell was this guy's problem). The waiter then returned saying that this guy was now threatening to get management involved. My friend, who was wearing a hat because he was embarrassed about hair loss, took his hat off then because we just wanted to eat, not make a federal case of this. This was supposed to be a celebratory dinner, and we ended up in a sour mood and spent the rest of it talking about the complainer anyway.

This guy was dressed in a way that implied he was pretty wealthy, and he was well older than us. Some people upthread are saying that wearing a hat indoors is a way for people of high status to flex, imposing their rudeness on lower-status people, but I had the exact opposite experience. I felt like this guy just didn't like it that lower-status people were sharing a meal in the same place as him. We speculated that maybe he was friends with the manager, or knew him through business, because how else could he get a manager to enforce restaurant rules that literally don't exist?
posted by heatvision at 9:11 AM on May 30, 2011


Rich people eat at PF Chang's? Who knew?

Women weren't required to wear hats to the royal wedding, but it is a tradition. David Cameron's wife chose not to.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:03 AM on May 30, 2011


heatvision: "because how else could he get a manager to enforce restaurant rules that literally don't exist?"

I think the point of this thread is: just because you were not aware of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I mean, I'm betting the restaurant didn't have a sign saying "No shirt, no shoes, no service" or "Don't chew with your mouth open" or "Do not fart at the table" but you know and I assume respect those social rules.

It probably isn't constructive to frame this whole thing not in terms of "is it rude/not rude, is it a rule/not a rule." I think it might just be easier to say "It is good manners for a man to remove his hat indoors."
posted by DarlingBri at 11:24 AM on May 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Rich people eat at PF Chang's? Who knew?

There's not exactly a Nobu here... AFAIK there are all of 2 places where you can eat alone and end up with a 3-digit bill if you didn't run up a bar tab. So yes. A few weeks ago I saw a Lamborghini parked outside the Ruby Tuesday's. It happens.

I think the point of this thread is: just because you were not aware of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I get that, but the OP specifically asked whether the rule was fading, a question that raises the issue of ignorance.
posted by heatvision at 1:40 PM on May 30, 2011


Anyone who will judge you on whether or not you wear a hat doesn't deserve your respect.

Except, of course, filthy stinking rich really very old and very old fashioned great aunt Gertrude, the one with no children.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:55 PM on May 31, 2011


Why shouldn't a man wear a hat indoors? Two words. Luke Danes.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:33 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was playing L.A. Noire last weekend and noticed that, when you go inside, your hat disappears.
posted by Sara C. at 8:15 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hat stays on, and here's why: What the hell else are you supposed to do with it? Hat racks are a distant memory, and to plunk it on the table would be far and away worse for all parties than just keeping it where it is. A head is a perfectly good place for a hat; it's not doing anybody any harm up there. If people find it "gauche," it's because they're stuck up snobs with lives so uninteresting they have to impose upon yours with arbitrary rules about shit that doesn't matter.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:29 PM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


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