More often than not, the history of hat etiquette is about when a gentleman should wear a hat and when he should take it off in previous years. What you do with your hat depends on where you are. In the 19th and 20th centuries, there were many rules about social hierarchy in Europe before French Revolution. Generally speaking, men in the 19th century still wore hats outdoors. Conversely, if a man did not wear a hat outdoors, he would be a subject of comment.
However, whether to wear a hat or not depended on the public/private nature of the space. Hats were usually worn in public places, such as railway stations, hotel lobbies, salons or public dance halls. Among the many paintings of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, it was impressive that all the men have their top hats glued to their heads, even while sitting at a table with the respectable-looking ladies. In a crowded and chaotic place such as the Moulin Rouge, or a saloon, or the grocer’s shop, one of the main concerns might be that there really was no safe place to leave one’s hat, and their hands had drinks to lift and other work to do. Similarly, the customers kept their hats on at retail establishments, but staffs generally didn’t wear hats while working. In the office, employees and visitors would take off their hats because a well-managed office would offer a special place for stowing them.
However, in more respectable places, such as high-end restaurants, people would take their hats off before taking their seats. Such places provided convenient pegs for hanging hats and other impedimenta. Orators would also take off their hats while they were speaking even when outdoors, so that the audience might observe their facial expressions.
However, the rules were different from it was indoors in private spaces. When entering a home, the hat was usually taken off immediately upon entry. During brief visits, such as a “call of ceremony”, the hat was removed but kept in hand. Hats were also removed when entering private clubs. People did not usually wear hats at “dress-up” events, such as dancing parties. The same rules applied to military and non-military men.
In the 20th century, the usage of hat use decreased mainly because John F. Kennedy spread a trend of not wearing hats. J. F. Kennedy was the first USA President who didn’t wear a brimmed hat. Later, most people in the world did not wear hats, and because of this, most people now do not know the correct hat etiquette, especially the young generation. Taking it off is considered a sign of respect for a particular person or occasion.
A long time ago, almost every man wore a hat, and even some women wore hats. Most adults wore hats when they left the house. So the etiquette of taking off your hat is very important and well known for everyone. Today, there are a lot of hats that are worn by men and women, such as bucket hat, fedora hat, baseball cap and more. Whatever the hat you wear, you should follow some basic rules of wearing a hat. Show respect to others!