Flat Cap Etiquette: A Handy Guide

Are you an avid flap cap wearer? Or perhaps you’re considering investing in one of our traditional, British-made caps.

Either way, do you know why flat caps came to be – and, more importantly, what taking your cap off, or even ‘tipping it’, means? At Poe and Company, we’re always keen to delve deeper into the history of our favourite gents’ (and ladies’!) hats. Today is no exception, as we take a closer look at flat cap etiquette. Read on…

Taking Your Cap Off

If you’re indoors, you simply must remove your flat cap in 2021 – no matter how stylish or smart you look in it. The act of removing your headgear inside is a long-time sign of respect, say the etiquette experts over at Emily Post – and we must say we agree.

‘Knowing when to remove a hat is as important as wearing the right hat for the occasion.’, says the site.

‘If you were a medieval knight who failed to remove his helmet or lift his visor and identify himself the consequences could be fatal. Throughout history hats identified social standing and removing a hat was a gesture of respect.’

That’s a well-worn etiquette tip that is bound to stand the test of time; we’d say it’s just as much a social faux pas to wear your hat indoors as it is to wear you sunglasses inside – what do you think?

Interestingly, in 1571 in Elizabethan Britain, flat caps were less a ‘nice to have’ and more a necessity. A law was passed, stating that any boy over the age of six (not counting the nobility) who didn’t don his flat cap on a public holiday, or a Sunday, could be fined. Yes, really. The reason? To give the wool industry a much-needed boost.

Our founder, Christopher, loves wearing a flat cap – come rain or shine. Here he is at the famous Peaky Blinders Bar in Manchester, England before the doors opened, sporting his favourite peaky hat and very much supporting the wool industry in the UK.

Poe at the Peaky Blinders Bar in Manchester, england

Tipping Your Hat

So, what does it mean to tip your hat? In short, it’s a mark of respect – and while people don’t tend to do it as much in the 21st Century, the gesture is still alive and kicking.

If you’re not sure how to tip your hat and want to adopt this age-old pastime more regularly, WikiHow even has a handy guide to hat tipping. Enjoy!

Wearing Your Cap Backwards

As the folks over at Gentleman’s Gazette quite rightly point out, only Samuel L Jackson can get away with wearing a flat cap backwards. So, don’t do it. After all, it isn’t how flat caps were worn, historically speaking; we say that’s what baseball caps are for.

Stay in your (stylish) lane and wear your flat cap how it’s supposed to be worn. Traditionally, that is.

The site also offers some more sartorial guidance.

They say: ‘If you’re wearing a tweed cap, make sure that the material of your hat contrasts enough with the material of your coat or jacket. Patterns that are too similar will look odd next to each other, so consider a solid color for one and a pattern for the other.’

Looking for a tweed cap? May we recommend our Garrison in Hamilton Tweed? Initially launching in 2020, this flat cap (pictured below) quickly became one of the most popular in our range – and it still is today. It’s suitable for all genders and has a curved peak, which is sewn down the front, giving a more tailored look. 

How do you wear your flat cap – and do you abide by these three, key flat-cap wearing rules?

Want to read more about the humble flat cap – and when and how to wear it? Our regularly-updated blog, right here on the Poe and Company site, is the place to be.

Until next time…

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