Photo courtesy NRS & American Hat Co. Photo by: @robinson_photography on Instagram. Model: @katy_may…

The cowboy hat is not only a staple piece of clothing in the western industry, but also a symbol of heritage. It’s starting to become more and more popular due to all the different colors, trends, and styles it’s now available in. But, if you’re going to wear it, you have to wear it right! Check out these do’s and don’ts, brought to you by Jeff Spradlin, NRS World Hat Buyer, before you don one of the most beloved items of western wear.

Hat Etiquette

  • Remove your hat when meeting a woman for the first time.
  • Remove your hat when talking to a superior or elder.
  • Remove your hat when starting a conversation with a woman.
  • Remove your hat while eating for a few different reasons: 1. It shows respect to the people that prepared the meal. 2. It shows that you plan on staying a while and are enjoying the conversation.
  • Never place your hat on the dinner table.
  • It is considered rude to show the inside of your hat while holding it. Always keep it close to your chest.
  • An older rule is to remove your hat when entering a building of any kind. Now it is more acceptable to leave it on, but you should still remove it when entering a church (does not apply to women) or someone’s home. You may remove your hat in an elevator, and should remove it if a woman gets on with you.
  • Remove your hat for prayer.
  • Remove your hat for the National Anthem and posting of the American flag.
  • Remove your hat when a funeral procession is passing or when the casket passes you while attending a funeral.
  • You should tip, or doff, your hat when thanking a stranger for a service, passing an acquaintance, or when excusing yourself to a woman (such as bumping in to her accidentally).
  • Never touch another man’s hat.


  • It is considered bad luck to wear a hat backwards.
  • Never set your hat down on the brim, you’ll pour out your luck.
  • The bow in the back of the hat is said to represent a skull and crossbones. Hatters used to use mercury to finish a hat. The chemical would either kill them or make them crazy. This is also where the term “mad as a hatter” comes from.
  • It is bad luck to place a hat on the bed.

Needing a new hat now? Check these out here!