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Hat etiquette

Does nobody understand proper hat etiquette anymore?

Okay, I know this is a convention, and people are dressed in costumes. However, we’re supposed to be in the Victorian age (or at least in a retro-future world rooted in Victorian ideals). We’re supposed to act that way.

The biggest violations? Last night at the Cabaret. It’s theatre, dammit: MEN ARE SUPPOSED TO REMOVE THEIR HATS WHEN IN A THEATRE. Or a restaurant. Or, for that matter, any “intimate” interior space (generally speaking, one can leave their hat on in corridors and large open indoor spaces, such as a lobby or arcade). In addition to the “remove your hats when you are indoors” rule, it’s also polite to those who are sitting behind you.

Another big violation: the “lady in a lift” rule. If you are in an elevator and a lady boards, take it off, dammit.

Lastly, and this is another one that gets under my skin, is failing to remove your hat at the dining table. And for crying out loud, when you do remove your hat, you don’t put it on the table.

Come on, people. We’re supposed to be demonstrating ideals from a more “enlightened” and gentler age. Let’s act like it by using the manners incumbent on the era we’re playing.


  1. A gentleman doffs his hat upon entering an elevator, thus it should never be necessary to doff it if a lady boards the elevator.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 7:55 am | Permalink
  2. feedle wrote:

    Not true, at least according to the Victorian etiquette book I read, as well as a couple of other more modern books. It is perfectly okay for a man to be-hatted in an elevator if he is riding alone or with other men.

    Sources: WikiHow article on Hat Etiquette, “The Art of Manliness” by Brett McKay (a great book and website, BTW), “Book of Victorian Etiquette” which I don’t have handy for the complete cite.

    EDIT: There does seem to be some dispute on this, googling around. However, general etiquette also calls for “doing as the Romans do” in any situation.. if you are in an elevator with other men, and one removes their hat, custom would dictate you remove yours. Only a rapscallion would insist on keeping their hat on in such a setting where others have removed theirs.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink
  3. Lupa wrote:

    I simply love that you’re holding people to this 🙂 Makes it more than just about the clothes!

    Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink
  4. Brian Enigma wrote:

    Now that I have been more frequently wearing a proper hat (neither Victorian nor steampunk, but a nice hat nonetheless), I’m a little uncertain where to put it when I remove it at a bar or pub. More upscale venues have a coat-check, so that’s obvious. I have been lucky in that my bar/pub adventures have mainly been shows at The Blue Monk. There, I either sit on a barstool with my back to the bar (i.e. backward) to watch the show across the room or I sit in chairs in rows or against the wall. If I was sitting at a table, though, I’m not sure where my hat would go. No room between hat and tabletop. It doesn’t really perch on the back of the chair the way a jacket can. What’s a fellow to do???

    Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  5. feedle wrote:

    Only a man of questionable taste would be in a venue that did not have a proper coat check, or at least a coat rack and/or a hat stand.

    The real answer is: since so few men our age wear hats, there’s no thought given to provide a proper place for it. Perhaps a conversation with the proprietor is in order.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 7:58 am | Permalink

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  1. › on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

    […] through a little strongly here.  I’ve already ranted a bit about the tendency towards poor hat etiquette.  I have a whole laundry list of complaints, quite honestly.. but this is at the center of many of […]

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