Whether you wear hats frequently or only do so on occasion, you may be wondering whether it’s rude to wear them indoors.
We asked ourselves the same question and thus launched a survey on how people nowadays feel about wearing hats indoors.
In our recent survey conducted in the United States, we asked 103 respondents whether they thought it was rude to wear a hat indoors. A remarkable 81% of them said they did not think it was rude respectively okay to wear a hat indoors.
Surveys reflect the general views of people and respondents might give their answers based on the common situations in which they observe people wearing hats. For example, if someone typically works in a bank, they’re not likely to see people wearing hats indoors in that setting.
Similarly, a person who works in a sporting goods store may have a different opinion about hats being worn indoors because of the clientele that they have and the type of attire that their customers would normally wear to protect themselves as they participate in outdoor activities.
Wearing Hats Indoors Where It’s Required for Staff
There are some business places where it’s rude and even unsafe if you don’t wear a head covering indoors. In these workplaces, you’ll often be advised on the protocol before you enter. You may sometimes not be allowed to enter certain sections of the building without wearing a head covering.
Typically, if you observe that some members of staff are wearing hats in a particular setting, you can feel free to do the same.
For example, workers at the United States Postal Service are sometimes required to wear hats as a part of their uniforms.  Members of the public are free to do the same, although it’s not a requirement for entering a postal building.
Some supermarket workers wear hats or other head coverings. Servers in fast food establishments also frequently wear hats as head covering. If you’re entering your favorite coffee shop or another fast-food establishment, you can also wear your favorite hat freely. It’s not perceived as rude for you to do so.
However, slightly different rules may apply if you’re entering some restaurants that require a reservation, so always check while you’re making your booking.
Wearing Hats in Schools and Government Buildings
While teachers, principals, and other education professionals often have their heads uncovered while they’re inside a school building, it’s not uncommon for parents and guardians to wear hats while they’re dropping off or picking up their children.
Many schools allow visitors to wear hats while they’re on the compound. People who wear hats in that setting aren’t regarded as rude.
If you’re submitting documents at a government building or conducting other business, you’re usually also allowed to wear hats indoors. In some instances, you may be asked to remove your hat briefly for identification purposes. Generally, religious headgear is also allowed within government buildings.
An Immediate Fix
As times change, both men and women have had to adjust their own habits to keep safe. Many barbershops and hairdressing salons have only been allowed to receive limited numbers of customers during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, some of these businesses have closed completely. Where that hasn’t been the case, patrons have shied away due to fears of contracting the virus.
This shift has caused more men to sport longer and more unwieldy hair. The easiest fix for this is to simply pull on a hat whether they’re indoors or outdoors.
During online meetings, it’s not uncommon to see men wearing caps even though they’re inside their homes. Wearing a hat in this situation is not considered rude.
In fact, many people understand that men and women who wear headgear indoors in this context wish to make themselves more presentable. Wearing a hat saves time and money and this is vital, especially when families are trying to adjust to reduced work hours.
Why do some people think it’s rude to wear a hat indoors?
In our survey mentioned earlier in this article, 19% of the respondents thought that it was rude to wear a hat indoors and there are some situations where it may be better for you to remove your hat before entering a room.
When hats are worn doors in places like auditoriums, they can sometimes block the view of other people.
Humorous anecdotal evidence is often given of women who wear elaborate hats to indoor functions, effectively and unknowingly blocking the view of people who are seated behind them.
Many people wear hats outdoors to protect their heads while they are working. When these men and women go indoors, they remove their hats to prevent bacteria, dust, and other debris from being carried inside. If you work in this type of profession, it may be a good idea to ask your host whether they would prefer that you remove your hat before entering.
General etiquette rules usually require you to remove your hat when you’re at a church, especially when you’re at a wedding or a funeral. However, there are times when a man may prefer to wear a hat indoors even under those circumstances because of health-related reasons. In that case, other people around you will understand if they know the background of your own personal situation.
If you’re having a meal, it’s also recommended that you remove your hat.
Doing so prevents bacteria from the outdoors from possibly contaminating the food. It’s the same as removing gloves that you’ve worn outdoors before you handle the utensils or serve food to others. The rules of etiquette also require you to remove your hat while the mealtime prayer is being said.
If you’re taking an official photograph indoors, you should remove your hat. This is also a requirement for entering highly secure areas as well since personnel who are using cameras should be able to accurately identify and record you in these environments.
Matt Vargas is an author and public speaking coach with a degree in sociology and more than ten years of practical experience. Matt is responsible for the empirical surveys at everyday-courtesy.com, is a passionate recreational musician, and blogs here about his experiences in the field of interpersonal communication.