Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hats On Or Hats Off?

Yesterday, I went to a private charity tea event at an ambassador's home. I decided to put on my spanking new lilac Gucci fedora with feathers and channel Bianca Jagger's '70s glamor chic.

All the guest were seated and the fashion show commenced. Halfway through the fashion show, a lady arrived late. I offered her the empty seat next to me (so she won't disrupt the show). We introduced ourselves and then...

Lady: In European culture, it is considered rude for you to wear your hat in the house.

Me: Really? I was not aware about this. Thanks for telling me this. (I lived in London for 4 years and I was mortified by my "ignorance" according to her statement)

Lady: Yes, it is rude. Perhaps you should discreetly take it off now. (no way will it be discreet for me to remove my my hat, as it was like a fashion beacon)

Me: Erm, no. My hair would be messy. I don't think it is appropriate to remove it now. Thank you for telling me, but I will make a mental note for the next event.

It got me thinking and I decided to research on hat etiquette. Here's what I found out...

1. Women do not wear hats in their own homes or at a friend’s home. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. (YES! 1 point for me)

2. Women are typically permitted to wear hats that are part of the outfit indoors. (YES! YES! My hat is an extension of my outfit. 2 points for me)

3. Women’s hats are fashion accessories and are part of their ensembles. Therefore, ladies are not required to remove their hats when going indoors. (YES! YES! YES! 3 points for me)

4. However, any woman with good breeding will know that it would be a horrible breach of manners to point out another woman’s faux pas or ridicule a woman (or young lady) about a slight of etiquette. (I didn't say this. I lifted this statement from one of the sources below)

To celebrate the fact that hats can be worn by women at indoors events, I would like to share with you my favourite hat of the season. The Gucci fedora embellished with feathers, in various colours.

For more tips on hat etiquette, check out my sources:


  1. Marie,

    I am so glad you wore a hat. Bravo!

    And, I'm glad that you saw my article about hat rules. I wrote that article based on my English grandmother's tips and based on my own research of etiquette rules.

    I don't know about rules on the continent, however I must assure you that my grandmother was DAR and extremely proper.

    And, I believe your "friend" was incorrect. The charity event would have been viewed as a "public" event even though it was in a private home. For example, if you look online, you will find that it is proper for a woman to keep her hat on during a Christening held in a private home. The same rule would apply to most parties held in a friend's home. (You always have the option of removing your hat as far as I know.)

    If you are at a small, intimate dinner party at a close friend's home, you might want to take off your hat as a sign that you consider your friend's home to be like your second home. However, if you watch some of the BBC versions of Oscar Wilde's plays, you will notice quite a few women wearing hats in other people's homes. It is possible your "friend" was talking about the continent, not the UK. (For example, you don't put your hands in your lap while dining in France... not sure why... but I've never heard that rule in other locations.)

    The woman who sat next to you was in the wrong in many ways... most of all by pointing out a (possible) minor chapeaux infraction and making you feel uncomfortable.

    The link you have in your article should be updated to go here:

    Christina Gregoire

    1. Dear Christina

      Thank you for leaving a comment. I am terribly sorry for not replying sooner. I don't check the comment section and I will make it a point to check it often now. Your article has been a good resource for me. I really appreciate all your tips :)

  2. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

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  3. Thank you to sharing that. i concur tough points carry on the nice work..

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  4. Useful information like this one must be kept and maintained so I will put this one on my bookmark list! Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this!

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