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Hat Etiquette for Men: Top Tips

By Taylor James


Updated on

A gentleman is always aware of his appearance and how he presents himself to others. This includes what he wears on his head! A hat can add a touch of personality and style to any outfit, but it’s essential to know how to wear one correctly. 

That’s why we’ll discuss the top hat etiquette tips for men you need to know. After reading this article, you’ll be able to wear your hats with confidence and style while retaining the utmost respect!

Cartoon of man tipping his hat

Wear Your Hat Outdoors, Never Indoors

Understanding when and where it’s appropriate to wear your hat is fundamental etiquette. A good rule of thumb is to take your hat off when you enter a building. This includes both public and private spaces, such as homes and offices. Most events will also appreciate a hat coming off when you enter.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. You can keep your hat on if you’re at an outdoor event and it’s sunny or windy. Just be sure to take it off when you go indoors. Be conscious of this at first; it will soon become a habit you don’t need to think about!

Tip Your Hat as a Greeting

While the tip of the hat can feel like an outdated gesture to many people, it’s incredibly bold and oozes confidence if you can do it correctly.

Of course, you don’t need to tip your hat to every person you pass on the street, but it is polite to do so when greeting someone. This includes saying hello to acquaintances, colleagues, and new people you meet. If you take your hat off to greet someone, make sure you also say hello and offer a handshake, or hug if you know them well enough.

It’s also considered good manners to tip your hat to a woman, whether you know her or not. This gesture shows respect and should be done with a sincere smile. If you’re removing your hat to greet a lady, ensure you hold it in your hand and not by the brim. This is because the brim of your hat can be dusty, and you don’t want to get her dirty!

Raising your hand to your hat brim in the form of a respectful salute can also have the same effect if you’d rather be more subtle in a given situation.

man taking off bowler hat

Remove Your Hat for Special Events

Back to special events, but this time we’re looking at the one-off or infrequent events you may encounter while wearing a hat. For example, men are indeed expected to remove their hat and hold it subtly while the National Anthem is playing.

Removing your hat as a sign of respect is also considered good etiquette. This could be in situations including:

  • The raising of a flag (depending on the flag, of course), 
  • A funeral procession passing
  • Passing a wedding
  • A photograph being taken

Practice Holding Your Removed Hat

As we briefly mentioned before, when you remove your hat, it’s essential to know how to hold it. After all, you don’t want to look like a complete novice! The general rule is to hold your hat in your left hand so that your right hand remains free. This allows you to shake hands, open doors, or do anything else you may need to do while remaining polite.

If you’re carrying something in your left hand, holding your hat under your arm is acceptable. Make sure you don’t clutch it to your chest, as this can come across as overly fussy or aggressive.

Furthermore, ensure you only show the outside of your hat while holding it, never the lining or the exterior. This is because the inside is designed not to be seen and will potentially be dirty from your day’s activities.

With this in mind, it’s also crucial to keep the outside of your hat clean and presentable at all times.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed reading and are now armed with men’s top hat etiquette tips. Just remember, be confident and respectful, and you’ll do just fine! And if in doubt, take your hat off. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Thank you for reading, and good luck!

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.