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Her Hats Are Not Always Culturally Correct

 

Not 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

Not culturally correct...
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 Africa)
Ed. Note: What a juicy mix!

Not in Pakistan...
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 hats, no.
Bonnie, USA

Not in India...
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

Not in Argentina...
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

Not in Fiji...
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

Women's Red Hat Society...

Over 50 and 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

 

Hat etiquette for women...

According 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)

 

All about hats 1 / 2

 

 

 

Back to Guide for Packing

Culturally Correct Dos and Taboos

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