“Cock your hat – angles are attitudes”

                                                                          Frank Sinatra

Once upon a time, men and their hats were divided into two camps: in one camp, a hat was worn for function, the other camp wore a hat for style.  With the passage of time,  distinctions and functions have faded.

While our culture continues to become more casual with each generation, I believe that all men have had one desire throughout the millenniums: to be respected.  Second desire: to be cool.

Gone are the days when a young man was taught how to flip his lid respectfully.  Every once in a great while we might be privileged to witness a demonstrated example and when we do, nearly all of us stop and take pause.  We take pause because the small gesture (when exhibited correctly)  is subtle and rare.  When successfully accomplished, we are left with an impression.  An impression of breeding.  We want “it”. We may not have been born with it but we can fake it.  How does a chap maintain his swanky self and gain respect at the same time?  By learning to manipulate his chapeau.

Gentlemen, let’s start with the basics.  At the risk of offending, I’m going to tell you that if you are over the age of 18 and are not employed by the Red Sox, ditch the baseball cap.  Keep it for your fishing weekend of you must but please don’t wear it in public.  You look ridiculous.  You’re welcome ladies.

For the gents that wear a hat as a fashion statement, you can up your groovy factor if you remove your hat when:

The National Anthem is playing

At the formal mealtime table

Funeral processions

When the national flag is passing by


These are timeless and simple displays of respect.  If you really want to get crazy, follow the timeless examples of professional lid poppers and keep the inner lining towards your body leaving only the outside showing.

It’s no longer required that you remove your fashionable hat in a casual public establishment.  But….if your happen to be wearing a cowboy hat, bowler, sombrero, Mongolian fur hat or heaven forbid, a baseball cap,  take it off.  In the truest sense, those are designed more for function than style.  If in doubt, remove it. Except if you are Tim McGraw.

Most holy places (churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, etc.) may or may not dictate the removal of your headgear.  Regular attenders will know the proper protocol.  If you are a visitor, ask a member or take notice of what your fellow gender is doing.  Men and women may have differing protocols.  Again, if in doubt, remove your millinery and place it in your lap.  If you are wearing a baseball cap, deposit it in the collection plate with your 5 bucks.

Here’s the occasion that always puts a grin on my face and flutter to my heart when I see it.  It’s when a man stands and removes his hat upon the entrance of a women.  I think the last time I witnessed this was in the movies but the effect is still the same; dashing.  It is an act of refinement and gallantry.  Fellas, I challenge you to try it.  When you do, keep your eyes fixed on the lady.  The reaction will be priceless (and free).

Now that you’ve been awakened to the finer points of hat etiquette, take a daring but trusted leap to the sensational.  Doffing.  While traditionally British, doffing involves just a mere gesture but elevates you to Frank Sinatra (Pre-1968) coolness.  Doffing is just a slight tipping movement.  When you meet a women or need to excuse yourself while in the presence of any gender, slightly lift your tam o’shanter off your forehead.  This is to be demonstrated with subtlety; it is not a grand gesture.  Try to conger up images of your Texas cowboy counterparts for a mental slide show.  Think Tim McGraw.

So…grab your chapeau, stand in front of your mirror and ponder on the men who know how to leave a mark.

Samuel J. Jackson

Johnny Depp

Indiana Jones


Walter White (Season 2 Breaking Bad)

Justin Timberlake

Don Drapper

Bruno Mars

Humphrey Bogart

Al Capone (Bad guy who really knew how to wear a hat)

Dean Martin

Robert Redford as Gatsby

David Beckham


Ohhhhh…..Ahhhhh…..Swoon.   The End.