Say it with Your Hat!
friend of mine has a large collection of hats.
He has everything from a
Victorian hat with a plume to a Mexican sombrero.
his hats in skits, keeping us all laughing.
With the switch of a cowboy
to a bonnet his voice would change from a low John Wayne drawl to the
lash fluttering voice of a young lady.
Although his skits were very
he used the hats to make a point and to teach good moral
and principles. He also
taught children how to “say it with your hat”.
was a time when hats were more important than they seem to be now.
mention the name of Davy Crockett or Minnie Pearl and a certain kind
hat will come to mind. Hats
used to be worn by almost everyone. They
worn for warmth in the winter and to keep the hot sun off in the summer.
sometimes wore hats for beauty and fashion.
There were milliner
that offered hats of different shapes and sizes, complete with
ribbons, and frills.
were specific hats worn according to a person’s occupation and
even their status or social significance in life could be determined
the hat that they wore. There
was even an old saying, “If you want to get
and be noticed, get a hat!”
are a way of dressing the head, like a crown, and a method of giving
to an individual. Nearly
everyone likes the idea of wearing a
We read of royal occasions in foreign countries but we only need
far as our local festivals, school homecomings, or simply attend a wedding
see a bride come down the aisle wearing a tiara at the top of her veil.
are all familiar with a variety of hats worn according to a person’s
We have the hard hats of construction workers, the fireman’s
the policeman’s hat, and the chef’s hat that we still see used at
However, there are some hats that we only see in old photographs.
instance, nurses on duty used to wear hats.
You would be able to tell
a glance which nurse was in authority by the stripe on the hat.
Even a small
who couldn’t yet read would know who people were by the hat that they
wore. Some professions had “capping” ceremonies that have now
wayside for more convenient ways of handling ceremonies. Yet,
can be very important, much like a rite of passage. The ceremony,
signifies the seriousness of the position being earned that sometimes
years of study. There was a certain solemnity to the occasion for
everyone earns the right to wear the hat.
wearing of a hat in some time periods became a sign of culture and
living. Etiquette and custom
became extremely important. Some
articles said it was disgraceful to leave the house without a hat and
I read one account of a lady who was reprimanded for venturing
mail a letter without wearing her hat and it seems the mailbox was only a
feet from her front door!
some customs were rather ridiculous, there are some good things
have been lost with the passing of time and the elimination of some of our
The way we handled a hat had a lot to do with manners, respect, and
courtesy. Thoughts and
intentions could be expressed by the way
hat was used without a word being spoken…you could “say it with your
men, there is the removal and there is the “tipping” of the hat that
of respect or courtesy. It is
said that the idea of tipping originated from
far back as the knights in armor who would lift their visors to show their
to indicate that they meant no harm.
It is believed that the military
evolved from this tradition. Also,
when knights came indoors, they
remove their helm or headgear as a sign of respect or reverence.
hat that we are all familiar with is the cowboy hat that has a lot of
is a high crowned and wide brimmed hat that has many uses.
In the old west
might be used for shade or for a water bucket but it was one of the most
of belongings to the cowboy. The
number one rule was:
touch a cowboy’s hat without first asking permission.”
etiquette is important enough that we should be teaching it to each
generation of young Americans so that they will know how to
it with your hat”, and grow up to be courteous and mannerly.
of these rules are:
should remove their hats when:
The National Anthem is being played, or the American Flag is
indoors or outdoors.
At a funeral or in the presence of a passing funeral procession.
Outdoor weddings, dedications, etc.
In the presence of a lady, an older man, or clergyman
When being introduced to someone or saying good-bye to someone.
At other times when giving honor is appropriate such as speaking
a departed loved one.
A man should always remove his hat indoors, particularly in
home, church, courtroom, or restaurant.
The only exclusions are
similar to public streets such as lobbies, hallways, or
where the hat is part of an actor’s costume.
A man can use the removal
of his hat as a means of flirting by
it with a more grand gesture or flourish.
Man should tip or lift his hat:
As a greeting when passing someone on the street that
knows, especially a woman.
Anytime he shows a courtesy to a woman, such as when
woman thanks a man for his assistance or when a man is
to walk between her and others in a crowded place.
When he asks a woman or elderly man for directions.
Anytime a stranger shows
him or a woman he is with
courtesy of some kind.
need to remove their hats if they are wearing a rain hat or a hat
is being worn for warmth and then the hat should come off when
come indoors. The only other time that a woman should remove her
is if she is dressed in a men's
style of clothing (jeans, slacks, etc.) and
she is wearing a man's style hat or cap.
In this case, it would be
good manners for her to remove her hat for
National Anthem or a passing funeral procession.
do not generally remove their hats because they are normally part
an outfit and decorative in nature. Also,
in times past, women wore hats
were pinned, tied, or somehow anchored to them.
many of these customs and courtesies came about in the time of
and ladies when chivalry was alive and well.
Perhaps it isn’t
late to recover some of that gallantry as we teach the
generation how to “say it with your hat”.