Hat Wearing Etiquette

Below are some etiquette points for doffing, or tipping one's hat and of when and where hats should not be worn.


• A gentleman should remove his hat for the national anthem, the passing of the flag and funeral processions (unless they are in the military or clergy and on duty). Ladies likewise should remove any non-formal hat.

• A gentleman should remove his hat when entering a church (unless they are in the military or clergy and on duty), where as a lady may keep her hat on provided it is a formal one.

• A gentleman should remove his hat when reaching their destination as outside headwear is not worn indoors (exception being public areas such foyers, lifts, train stations, or antechambers).

• A gentleman when paying calls, should take off his coat as entering the hall, but keep his hat in his hands until reaching the drawing room. He should wait until being offered to put it down by the host/hostess. The reason being that the visitor is privileged to pay their respects, and should the time not be acceptable then he should be ready to leave immediately. Hence the phrase: Having one's hat to hand.

• A gentleman in the 19th century would always doff his hat to another gentleman of higher social status, or older age. This practice has declined at and if now the preserve for either meeting a personal acquaintance, of when members of the Royal family pass by (such as when Her Majesty arrives at Royal Ascot in her carriage).

• A gentleman passing a lady of his acquaintance should doff or tip his hat to her in passing or greeting her. If she stops to speak with him, he should remove his hat whilst standing together (except if in the Royal Enclosure in Ascot, where the Top Hat must remain on) then replace his hat when he (or they both) walk on.

• A gentleman should hold a hat in such a way that shows only the outside and not the lining.

Ascot Top Hats