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

Find out where the etiquette came from and whether it still stands.

Last updated on Jul 01, 2023

man taking off hat golubovystock / Shutterstock

It's the age-old debate for hat wearers: 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 or while entering a building. 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 apply?


In order to find out, we have to dive into the long history of hat-wearing, what the hat etiquette rules stressed, 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 their hats when they went inside to prevent any dust that was collected on them from getting on furniture and the floor of a house. So, removing your hat indoors was an action of consideration, marking men who did this as gentlemen.


But this type of action can be traced back to Medieval Europe where knights removed their helmets to show respect, and if they failed to do so could face death.

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 due to 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 exists in the Western world is the U.S. Flag Code that was created mid-world War II 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, 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 rules of hat etiquette standards 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 baseball caps somewhere, it's best to take them off.

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Megan Hatch is a multimedia journalist, Emerson College graduate with a major in journalism and a minor in digital media and culture, and a former contributor to YourTango. Her bylines have appeared on Medium, Patch, BuzzFeed, SAGE Publishing, Voice of America, among others.