Hats have been part of civilization as far back as 3,000 BC. Whether it’s for recognition of hierarchy, social standing, or simply for practical reasons, there has been a hat for every occasion. But is it a dying fashion, or do people still fancy hats on the odd opportunity?
Hats are worn for religious reasons, a sign of status, or purely for protection. From the kippah worn by Jewish men, the Toque worn by chefs, the custodian hat worn by police constables, to hard hats worn by construction workers, hats are worn for different reasons and purposes.
Throughout history, hats have made their appearance in the public eye for different reasons. During the late nineteenth century, we had the Edwardian style with the wide rim. Then came the roaring twenties when we had the toque hat.
And in the 1950s, the pillbox hats were the hype of fashion. Here are some of the most appropriate uses of headwear.
Why People Wore Hats In The Old Days
From antique artistic depictions, we can deduce that people have used hats since ancient Egyptian times. Unmarried women were not allowed to expose their heads, so they wore hennin or wimples, a headdress made from cloth. Since 1215 men of the Jewish faith were required to wear Jewish caps to distinguish their religious group.
Royals and aristocracy were accustomed to wear hats as a sign of status. As times progressed, hats became a fashion symbol, and millineries were commissioned to style the hats with ribbons, flowers, and decorations to fit people’s outfits.
Why People Wear Hats Now
With the changing times, the fashionable hat entered and escaped people’s wardrobes for different reasons. Nowadays, you have extravagant events like horseraces, or if you are lucky enough to attend a royal wedding, people still wear hats quite commonly. Apart from these lavish functions, people wear hats for the following reasons:
- They wear a hat to stand out from the crowd. Some people even sew their own exorbitant creations to make a unique statement.
- People will wear hats to frame their faces. Depending on the shape of your face, you can wear a hat to accentuate your characteristics. For long, narrow faces, it’s quite suitable to wear a wide hat, or for tiny faces, a beanie or a beret would fit better.
- If you are fashionably inclined, the perfect hat might be what your outfit requires to make it well-rounded.
- Wearing a hat with your outfit will add a dash of confidence to your appearance. It will make you look brave and daring because people are not used to a look with headwear.
- For the more practical individuals, a hat is a great way to hide a bad hair day.
- Hats protect you from harmful sunburn and keep you warm during cold winter days.
- Hats are worn by specific job fields for safety, like hard hats in construction and building work.
- Certain clergy wear hats for ceremonial reasons, the same as students during graduation ceremonies.
- As a symbol of their status and position, you will recognize the police constable, fireman, and sailor by their hats. Some hats are recognizable as certain occupations. Hats are also still very popular with the royals of many nations.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Wearing A Hat
Hats off to you if you still know the acceptable ways of hat etiquette. Wearing hats is a time-honored tradition, but be careful not to insult someone while wearing a hat in a church or taking your hat off the wrong way. When a hat is removed, you should take it off with the outside showing in. The inside rim cannot be displayed for people to see.
Men wearing hats
- Normally it’s respectable to wear hats when you are outdoors, but men should take off their hats as soon as they enter a building like a home, a theater, a restaurant, or a church.
- Public areas such as lobbies, arcades, passageways, or elevators are still decent to wear your hat for a man, but they should take it off as soon as a lady enters.
- It is also considered improper to keep your hat on while the National Anthem is being played.
- Men should remove their headwear during the passing of the flag, funeral processions, or outdoor weddings. It’s even impolite to keep your hat on during photoshoots or dedications.
- Greeting someone can be done by slightly tipping or lifting the hat unless you stop to exchange pleasantries. Tipping the hat originates from a military salute where knights used to open their visors to show their faces as a sign of friendliness.
- And unless you are wearing a kippah in a Jewish synagogue or a kufi in a Muslim Mosque, it is typically offensive to wear a hat in any denomination of Christian churches.
- When men are sporting a hat with some form of decoration, note that the ornament pieces should be on the left side of the hat.
Women wearing hats
- For women, the rules are much less rigid. Women can wear hats anywhere they choose, in public or indoors. Unless it perturbs the view of the people behind them, as in the case of the theater or church.
- If a woman wears a hat for weather purposes, such as rain or cold, she should remove this indoors.
- At a sporting game, if a woman is wearing a female hat, she may keep it on, but if the hat should be a baseball cap or anything else unisex, she must take it off during the playing of the National Anthem.
- Many religious customs require women to cover their heads when they enter sacred spaces. If you ever meet the Pope, you should wear a veil. Their Qur’an obligates Muslim women not to appear in public without covering for their head, neck, and throat. As a sign of modesty, many Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair with a tichel. For the same reason, Amish women also wear a bonnet or Kapp during particular occasions.
- As with men, when women have a type of decoration on their hats, it should be on the right side of the headpiece.
Benefits Of Wearing A Hat
Apart from the trendy fashion statement, a hat is a chic way of completing your ensemble, giving you that extra boost of confidence and a way for you to stand out in the crowd. Of the more practical reasons to don headgear, though, here are a few examples.
- To protect your face, head, and neck from harmful sunburn.
- Also, to protect your eyes from the sharpness of the sun, which can cause damage to your eyesight.
- It can help prevent skin damage that can lead to skin cancers.
- The hat can also protect your head, face, and ears from severe cold weather.
- You inadvertently regulate your body heat when you control the temperature of your head. During the summer, it will keep you cooler; it keeps heat from escaping through your head in cold weather.
- A handy benefit is keeping your hair out of your face when you exercise or work in the garden.
- And the hat also protects your hair from sun damage and your scalp free from sunburn.
Even if hats aren’t such a prominent fashion symbol anymore, many still love wearing hats to complete their ensemble. Hats make people happy and feel good about themselves. Whether the hat is for religious reasons, safety reasons, or simply for enjoyment, the era of the hat is still far from over.
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