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  • Writer's pictureKL Forslund

Steampunk Etiquette: Hats


I like steampunk. I’ve got a cool outfit and a cool hat. But while I’m wearing my cool hat, this memory that it’s not OK to wear hats inside. I need a blog article, so let’s learn together. Maybe we’ll do a series on this.

My Hat

I have a leather top hat, with embossed gears on it. One of the first things I learned is that period hats weren’t leather, because it’s heavy and doesn’t breathe. Hats in the summer would be of straw, hats made of felt for winter wear. My cool hat isn’t so cool. The big question is when can I wear it

Back Then

When outside, hats are on, always. I’m still searching for why the social stigma of unhatted heads in the park came about. Public speakers would also remove their hat, even while outdoors.

Indoors is a bit more nuanced. A public space like a train station, keep the hat on. In a store or cheap restaurant, the customer would keep their hat on, the employee would not. In a fancy restaurant, you’d remove your hat, and likely check it.

In a private space, like a home, you should remove the hat on entry. Again, you might check it with the butler and get it back on leaving. Otherwise, you are left standing there, hat in hand, and that's not just an expression.


For a steampunk, not all the old ways work. There’s no cloak room or place to check a hat at darn near any restaurant. Nor are there butlers. A good portion of the hat off rule was driven by the means to deal with it. If you don’t have a place to put it, there’s little sense in removing it.

To condense this down into practical modern rules, for a steampunk dressed up for an event, rather than everyday style. The difference is that dressing up for steampunk is the point, the hat is part of the costume.

Outdoors: always wear a hat

Indoors: always wear a hat except when it’s a private home visit and not a social gathering.

Exceptions: pay attention when other people are removing their hat. Somber moments, pledge of allegiance. Fancy restaurants that will take your hat and coat.

Check out the rest of my Steampunk Gentleman series at


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