Is It Still Rude To Wear A Hat Indoors? Why It's Considered Disrespectful

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man taking off hat

It's the age-old debate: is it rude to wear a hat inside?

At the end of the 19th century and early 20th-century, hat-wearing was at its peak, and it was considered proper etiquette to take off your hat indoors. 

It was courteous towards others and for a man, it proved he was a gentleman if he took his hat off because he respected the rules. 

However, this begs the question: why did people do this in the first place — and does the rule still appy?

In order to find out, we have to dive into the long history of hat-wearing and why it became a sign of respect to take your hat off indoors. 

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Why is it rude to wear a hat inside?

The original purpose of wearing a hat was to keep your head warm, protect your hairline from the sun, and keep dust out of the eyes.

Men removed them when they went inside to prevent any dust that was collected on them from getting on furniture and the floor of a house.

Is it still rude to wear a hat indoors?

Removing your hat has also been a centuries-long etiquette rule and the act of removing a hat is a sign of respect, according to etiquette experts. 

As explained by the Emily Post Institute, this may have originated in medieval times when a knight who refused or failed to identify himself and take off his helmet or lift his visor would face fatal consequences.

Knights also had to remove their helmets in church, and in the presence of women and royalty, because it would be a sign of vulnerability and trust.

Hat etiquette also has roots in Christianity, because of the tradition for men to remove their hats in a house of worship unless a hat or head covering is required by religion. However, women are allowed to leave theirs on unless it's obstructing someone’s view.

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Why does the military remove hats indoors? 

One of the strictest hat rules that still exist in the Western world is the U.S. Flag Code that was created mid-world war 2 in 1942, which advises all men to take off their hats while the National Anthem is being played, a rule that is mandatory for the military.

Even though most of these ideas are advisory, they all contribute to the cemented idea that wearing a hat in a certain place or time is the epitome of rudeness.

It also depends on how private and public the situation is. If a man or woman is at a train station, airport, or hotel lobby, for example, it is safe to keep your hat on. However, if you're entering a home or a small gathering then you should take your hat off.

Much like the etiquette rule for wearing a hat indoors, when you're at a dinner table or table to eat in general, it's polite to take off your hat

Times are changing and long-lasting standards of the past are being put to rest.

Nowadays, according to the Emily Post Institute, most standard hat etiquette rules stand for men still stand but for women, they can wear "fashion hats" in all places except an office. 

Just remember to use your intuition and if you believe people are giving you weird looks or find it rude if you're wearing a hat somewhere, it's best to take them off. 

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers pop culture, love and relationships, and self-care.