in South America...
I'm a professional tour manager, have traveled the world, including
most touristy sights. I can assure you, it's definitely not appropriate
to wear a hat, especially a 'touristy' hat, in most churches in
South America and in many other parts of the world.
Nan, Placerville, USA
I think it depends on the type of hat. If, for example, you are
referring to a baseball cap, this would be highly inappropriate
in many places of worship around the world. Further, wearing a
baseball cap may not be inappropriate, but it is certainly highly
culturally incorrect for adults in most places around the world,
outside of the US. It would certainly, if nothing else, identify
the wearer as an American, who is not interested in conforming
to the relevant sartorial norms. If that is the effect intended,
then go to it! If, however, the writer is open to difference,
there is another option. Covering the head is often a sign of
respect in many countries. I would suggest that the writer use
whatever the indigenous people use to cover their heads--it would
make for a fabulous souvenir! Boldly colored, elaborately tied
headwraps in West Africa, a beautiful silk scarf in Pakistan,
a chic hat in France. . .the possibilities are endless! This approach
also provides many opportunities to interact with local people.
Imagine having a Senegalese seamstress design a headwrap just
for you, and think of the laughter-filled exchange as she helps
you to wrap it just so.
Ebele, an American in Amsterdam (parents from Nigeria, West
What a juicy mix!
I don't remember seeing a single woman in India or Pakistan wearing
a hat. Of course, I haven't been there in over twenty years, but
I have travelled there as a plain tourist and as a house guest
of a well-to-do family in Karachi. We attended luncheons and even
the opening of a new orphanage (the Aga Khan officiating), but
no hats were ever seen. Head coverings (scarves), yes -- but actual
As an Indian woman I can tell you it is not appropriate for visiting
women to wear a hat in India other than during summer months.
Indian women wear head coverings but not hats. A hat is not a
fashion statement in our country nor is it part of our casual
or daily wear. But as a tourist you do need to wear one during
the hot summer months especially if you are travelling and always
out in the sun. Or, you might find a beautiful headcovering in
the market to wear instead.
Shoma, United Kingdom
I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although nobody is going to
say anything to you for wearing one, local women don't wear hats
in our city. Perhaps they do at the beach to protect themselves
from the hot sun but otherwise not.
Gloria, Buenos Aires, Argentina
In Fijian villages it is considered extremely rude to wear a hat
as this indicates disrespect to the chief. However, it can be
quite difficult to remember to remove your hat, as it it's so
hot that you want to wear it to prevent sunstroke. I hope this
helps the debate.
Joanne, a Canadian living in
Fiji, Pacific Islands
Red Hat Society...
love hats? The Red Hat Society is an older women's movement.
Their goal is changing the perception of aging women in
the United States and around the world. This growing organization
of women is uniting under the umbrella of a Red Hat to have
fun and bond in sisterhood as they travel through life together.
There are one million members with more than 41,000 chapters
across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries.
They wear red hats and purple dresses to their meetings
and simply concentrate on having fun. Website: http://www.redhatsociety.com
to The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette written
over 100 years ago, "Women are generally exempt from removing
their hat, particulalrly if their hat
is fastened (pinned or clipped) to their hair and difficult
to remove easily". Therefore, women are and were allowed
to wear a hat in a church, a courtroom or at a funeral..
prettty much anywhere a man would not wear a hat, even today.
Naturally, if a woman is dressed in men's style clothing
(jeans, slacks, etc..) and is wearing a man's style hat
or cap, it would be considered good manners for her to remove
her hat for the National Anthem or a passing funeral procession,
but women are basically exempt from all of the other rules
and have the option of removing their hat indoors.
P.S. A lady
needn't wear a brimmed hat after 5 pm; this fashion rule
was developed because practically she didn't need a brim
after the sun went down.
(Source: Ask Andy About Clothes, Crazy Swede)