It is rude to wear a hat at the table because the dining table is a private place situated indoors. It is not right to wear a hat indoors. Also, older adults might be at the table. You are expected to remove your cap at the table as a sign of respect to the elders. 

Hats: An Overview

A hat is a covering worn on the head by all genders for myriad reasons, including protecting the wearer against harsh weather elements, preventing injuries, showing membership of a particular association, and ceremonial functions. Hats have evolved from being a distinctive symbol of social rank to a widely used sartorial piece.

However, hats have had a long history. One of the earliest known hats was found frozen on the body of a bronze-aged man where it had been since 3250 B.C. A tomb painting in Thebes, Egypt, has one of the earliest pictorial depictions of hats in history, dating back to 3200B.C. They were also worn in ancient Egypt by upper-class members to keep their heads cool after shaving their hair off, and there are records of hats being worn in Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and in the middle ages.

A wide variety of hats are in existence today, each of them serving a different purpose. They include the fedora, trilby, Panama hat, bowler, snapback, newsboy, flat cap, beanie, bucket hat, baseball cap, trapper hat, boater, pork pie, top hat, cloche, beret, balaclava, visor, fascinator, derby, and many others.

Hats don’t just exist without a justifiable reason. Each type of hat has a beautiful history and serves a different purpose. The balaclava covering the entire face except the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears is used to protect the person wearing the hat from the sun and cold weather; robbers are typically depicted in popular media wearing them to protect their identity.

Baseball caps first worn by the New York Knickerbockers on April 24th, 1849 evolved from being straw-made hats worn only by players of the sports to widely used pieces worn by different society members, including the armed forces who wear them to replace official headpieces.

Bucket hats, which are commonly associated with fishers, offer protection from the sun and rain. A visor that is a crownless hat with a brim to protect the face from the sun glare is commonly used in sporting activities and for frolicking by the sea.

Floppy hats women favorite for protecting themselves from the sun; they are usually paired with a swimming piece at the beach. Fascinators are hats without a crown or brim worn at a jaunty angle by women; they are generally sported on formal occasions and are a favorite of royalty.

Fedoras, named after a stage play, were initially designed for women and are popular with entertainers like Bruno Mars. Derby hats are high fashion pieces with big dramatic brims and vivid colors for women. They are usually associated with wives of the clergy in religious circles.

The boater, made of straw, is a staple during the summer and a standard part of school uniforms for secondary school students. The newsboy, made of tweed, was initially favored by newspaper vendors before becoming mainstream. The show “Peaky Blinders,” made them experience a resurgence in recent times.

Berets, originally known to be peasant hats, are a popular fashion and political statement that serve as an exhibition of personal style. Pillboxes are hats for women popularized in the 1930s and most often worn by members of aristocratic circles. They are tragically linked with former American First Lady Jackie Kennedy, who wore one while cradling her husband’s body after being shot.

Hat at the Dining Table

Hats cannot be worn at certain places, one of which is the dining table during meals. This is because wearing a hat during mealtime is seen as disrespectful to the people present. Such behavior is seen as uncouth and unbecoming of a gentleman.

Hats have come to be an essential part of complete attire. In Europe, etiquette demands that hats be worn at formal occasions like weddings, funerals, garden parties, and christenings. Hats can be worn when one is outside or in a public place. They cannot be worn in another person’s home while being introduced to another person and seated at the dining table. As soon as one enters a restaurant or the room the meal will be had in, the hat must be taken off.

Wearing a hat at the table is seen as rude behavior. Women are not expected to remove their hats at mealtimes, but in modern times where equality is forefront, they might be expected to do the same as men, especially when they wear a baseball cap. Removing one’s hats indoors is a tradition linked to the medieval age when knights would lift the visors off their helmets to identify themselves.

Is it OK to Wear a Hat at the Dining Table?

Wearing a hat at the dining table is seen as rude. It is not acceptable behavior in any form. Meals are typically had indoors, and the rules of etiquette dictate that a gentleman must take off his hat when indoors except when in public places and wear it outdoors. Since meals are generally had indoors, it is expected that hats should be taken off and not worn at the table upon entrance to a home or restaurant.

Why is it Rude to Wear a Hat at the Table?

Here are reasons why it is rude to wear a hat at the table:

1. Because Hats are to be Worn in Public and Taken Off in Private

It is a general rule that hats may be worn when one is in a public space like the park, a street, the market, etc. Where one is in a private area like a bedroom, living room, office, restaurant, lavatory, etc., hats must be taken off. Therefore, it is disrespectful to wear a hat while indoors.

2. Because Hats Should be Worn When Outdoors and Taken Off Indoors

Now, this is quite tricky because it overlaps with the public/private rule. When one is outdoors beneath the sky, hats should be worn then taken off when indoors. However, the first rule is that hats should be worn in public and removed in private. So, what obtains when indoor space is a public one or when one is outdoors but within a private gathering?

While a house or an apartment is regarded as a private area, the foyer and hallways are taken to be public. Unless otherwise stated, lobbies and hallways of hotels, theatres, hospitals, banks, and offices are seen as public areas even though they are indoors.

A club where one pays to gain entry to is a private space by virtue of the payment made, but while one pays to enter a stadium, it is still regarded as a public venue. Until one is being attended to by a salesperson, a store is seen as public space when one is in motion; hats must remain on even if the mode of transport is an enclosed space. When a gentleman is introduced to a lady, he must remove his hat no matter where he is.

This leads us to the question of hats at tables. The rules of etiquette are to be followed at all times. Where the meal is to be had at a restaurant, a hat can be worn within the restaurant but must be taken off as soon as one is seated at the table as it is deemed to be a private space. It would be rude to do otherwise. It would be frowned upon to wear a hat outside of the foyer and hallways in a home or an apartment. Since the table isn’t one of these two places, wearing a hat would be seen as bad behavior.

3. Not doing so Shows a Lack of Respect

A table would most definitely be alive with conversation and will likely have ladies in attendance. It is not right to have a hat on while talking to a lady or an older adult. Doing so at the table would be most reprehensible.

4. Disregarding this Rule Shows a lack of Deference to One’s Host

Hats at the table are unacceptable. Where one is a dinner guest and wears a hat at the table, this contravention of societal custom will be interpreted as an insult to the host.

5. Wearing a Hat at the Table Offends the Feelings of the Guests at the Table

Hats are generally removed upon arrival at the table. Wearing a hat in the course of a meal shows that you are ready to leave the table. This is insulting to the people seated there as it might be taken that you find them off-putting, do not appreciate their presence, or are unwilling to engage in dinner table conversation.

Why Do You Take Your Hat Off at the Table?

You take your hat off at the table to show respect for the ladies, elderly, and everyone else at the table. It is a long-standing tradition that shouldn’t be ignored. Removing the hat indicates that one is a gentleman of good breeding. Even if this isn’t a rule one abides typically by, in cases where taking the cap off at the table is expected, it is only right that the rule is followed to avoid offending others at the table and painting a terrible picture of one’s self.


Removing the hats at the table is a steadfast custom that should be followed. It would be unpleasant to be perceived as rude or uncouth, one must ensure that this norm is followed where necessary. Therefore quit asking why is it rude to wear a hat at the table. With advances in modern times, some age-long customs have been discarded, so it would be understandable if one is unsure of the right action to take in certain circumstances.

In situations where one is confused about whether the hat should be worn or removed, a cue should be taken from the host and other guests at the table. Removing the cap at the table distinguishes one as a perfect gentleman, which isn’t a wrong tag to have.

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One reply on “Why is it Rude to Wear a Hat at the Table? (5 Reasons)”

  • Emmitt Otis
    July 18, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Hello.This article was extremely motivating, particularly because I was investigating for thoughts on this matter last Monday.