I am sure right now that you have read the title and that you are wondering "what on earth is she talking about?". Just a little contraction between "hat" and "etiquette", "hatiquette"...brilliant right? Well of course it is, unfortunately, I cannot take credit for this one! Now, less depreciation and more information!
But before starting anything on hatiquette, let's review your knowledge on hats!
If you are a guy, I know you are thinking "I thought every hat was called a hat", well no, dear sir, there are many different sorts of hats, and for both men and women. Here are the most famous ones.
A small headpiece, usually worn as a nod to the hat, less formal and more fun. A fascinator usually has feathers. This fascinator is called Sunblime from Katherine Elizabeth's Collection Classics.
It usually covers the head and is quite close. It can also be called a cap. This headpiece called Gemma,is a 1940s inspired sculptural felt from Katherine Elizabeth's 2015/2016 Winter Collection.
The bowler is traditionally for men but us now very popular for women. It is usually made out of felt. This is our take on a lux velour felt bowler, from Katherine Elizabeth's 2015/2016 Collection Classics, called Oliviana.
The Cocktail Hat
The cocktail hat was invented for the cocktail party (well obviously...!), but is now worn to all sorts of events ie racing, weddings, balls or garden parties! If you wore this hat to a cocktail party or dinner you are expected to keep your hat on, but men have to take their off. This cocktail hat is called Florence from Katherine Elizabeth's Collection Classics.
The Ascot hat
Royal Ascot gives you the chance to wear an unusual fabulous large hat! The more fantastic the better. This has been going on for about 300 years and is a celebration of hats especially on lady's day. This Ascot hat from Katherine Elizabeth's Ascot Collection is called Jasmine.
There are many other sorts of hats but we would need a whole day to cover them all...
Now, if I haven't lost you with my list of hat types, you remember that we are supposed to be talking about "hatiquette"!
For men and women, hatiquettes are very different. The most common rule is for men to lift their hat when meeting another man (except if they are close friends) and take it off when talking to a lady. On the contrary, a woman can keep it on in every circumstance. Women used to have very delicate hair styles adjusted to their headpiece so taking it off would ruin their whole style.
Then it seems quite simple if you are a woman you can keep your hat on! Well, ladies, it is not that simple! On some occasions and depending on what sort of hat she is wearing, a lady may have to take it off... For example, in a theater, a proper lady would take her hat off to avoid blocking the view to the audience sitting behind her but would keep it if was just a cloche or a bonnet. And as another example, after sunset, brimmed hats are not in order. Well, that's a simple rule, thank god!
On the other hand, men are supposed to take their hats whenever they are indoors. As an illustration, I would suggest you do a little "TV marathon" of the brilliant six-hour BBC's Pride and Prejudice to gain some extra tips!
No need to thank me for this one, it was my absolute pleasure! Actually, that scene might not be the best example for a hatiquette illustration: he is outdoors and though not talking to a lady (yet...!), he has taken his hat off... (well try to swim with a top hat and tell me about it!).
One last rule for the road before leaving you with a great sum-it-up image!
This rule is to be known by every mother of the groom: your hat should always be just a little smaller than the mother of the bride! Indeed, it is a common courtesy to never outshine the host. If the wedding organisation is equally shared, the hat should then have an equal size!
I hope you are now ready to shine in every single situation with your beautiful headpieces!
If you want to learn more about hat etiquette and history, we organise at the Millinery House events, millinery talks where Katherine Elizabeth explains everything there is to know about hat etiquette and which hat would match your face shape. This is perfect for a creative hospitality or team building event where all the guests can make a fascinator, headpiece or hat, under the guidance of Katherine Elizabeth, while enjoying delicious afternoon tea, drinks, or dinner.
Now, as promised, I leave you with this image from fedora.com summarizing the art of hatiquette quite simply and brilliantly, and we like it!