Hat Manners -can Ya Help A Brother Out?

Does Anyone Know Where The Manner Rule Of Taking One’s Hat Off Once Inside A Building Originated. I Am A School Teacher And Would Be Very
Appreciative If You Could Help Me Out.

According to Emily Post:


I hope this helps.

I think the original point was that hats were considered outdoor clothing. You would no more keep your hat on indoors than you would carry your open umbrella into the living room.

Do click the link and read the full article, if only for the sake of the Dr. Seuss cartoon about the International Hat-Doffing Rules Committee revising the rule dealing with “the etiquette of doffing a top hat while carrying a cane, an umbrella, a bust of Catullus and a watermelon”. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

some quick googling threw up conflicting theories:


I was always under the impression that it was a formalised way of showing submission to the head of the household and acceptance of their rules, in the same way that people were expected to kneel/bow/tug their forelock when encountering someone of higher rank. This evolved from ancient times (when it basically meant “Don’t worry, I won’t challenge your authority over your own house”) into modern politeness (“I won’t insult you by keeping my hat on in your house”). Same deal with standing up when someone enters a room- in the old days guests stood until the host made clear they were welcome by asking them to sit.

I posted an answer in your [url=“http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=343149”[other thread on the same subject. Basically, (men’s) hats are taken off indoors because they’re outdoor clothing. Ladies’ hats that are meant to decoratively coordinate with their outfits stay on indoors. (Baseball caps and other traditionally male headgear do not, even when worn by women.)

I take off my fedora when I arrive at my cubicle, but not in the common vestibule and hallways of my employer’s facility.
Am I a Good Slant or a Bad Slant for doing so?

Miss Manners said (sorry, no online cite, she does not provide an archive) that hats should be removed in a home, or in an elevator when ladies are present. She also said that hats are always OK outdoors, and also in public areas of buildings such as a lobby, which is tantamount to being outdoors, etiquette-wise. IIRC.

Just like to add that when I was growing up… it was flat out against the dress code to wear hats to school. I never EVER got why.

Also… Im still miffed about it. I mean… not that I would wear a hat daily… Im not the type… but still. the freedom is taken away.

Good Slant! Good Slant! Slant want a cookie? :slight_smile:

Since I screwed up my link to the other thread, I’ll just repost my comments here:

I always thought the hat-doffing rule and the umbrella-folding rule came from the same source: practicality. Either of these items took up extra space when in use, and it was easy to knock things off shelves, hit people, etc, with them. So the polite thign was to fold the umbrella and remove the hat.

I merged two duplicate threads, in case anyone was wondering.

samclem GQ moderator

In olden times, a gentleman would tip (briefly lift) his hat to a lady whether he knew her or not. (Nowadays, this gesture is so unusual as to seem really, really gallant.) The gesture decayed to simply touching the brim of the hat, and then to no tipping at all.

Cowboy-hat-wearing guys, it is said, rarely take their hats off anywhere, because it’s rare to find a hatrack or any suitable place to put the hat.

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Cooooookie.