Etiquette when to wear a cowboy hat indoor (rules guide)

The cowboy hat is an iconic symbol of the American West and has been a staple of western fashion for centuries. In recent years, however, it has become increasingly popular as a fashion statement and an everyday accessory for men. Despite its popularity, there are still certain rules and etiquette when donning a cowboy hat.

In this article, we will explore the etiquette associated with cowboy hats so that any man can feel comfortable wearing one with confidence.

So, if you’re wondering how to wear a cowboy hat, read on!

How To Wear A Cowboy Hat Properly (Basic Rules)

When it comes to wearing a cowboy hat, there are key rules to remember. First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that your hat is the proper fit and size. A cowboy hat should sit comfortably on your head, with the brim resting just above your eyebrows and ears.

The hatband should be snug but not too tight, and there should be enough space to insert two fingers between the band and your head comfortably.

Properly shaping and maintaining your cowboy hat is also crucial for keeping it looking its best. Many cowboy hats are made of felt, which can be shaped and reshaped to suit your style. However, it’s important to avoid getting your hat wet, as this can cause the felt to lose shape. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt or dust gently.

When it comes to appropriate occasions for wearing a cowboy hat, the general rule is to wear it in more casual settings. Cowboy hats are perfect for outdoor events such as rodeos, country concerts, or even a casual night out with friends. However, it is important to remove your cowboy hat or tip it as a sign of respect in more formal settings such as a church or inside a building.

When it comes to the dos and don’ts of wearing a cowboy hat, one of the most important things to remember is always to show respect for the cowboy hat and its history. Do handle it carefully, and avoid placing it on the ground or hanging it on a hook by the brim.

Please don’t wear it disrespectfully or inappropriately, such as backward or tilted to the side, and avoid wearing it indoors in a non-casual setting.

Also read: Cowboy hat rules for ladies

Top 11 Cowboy Hat Rules and Etiquette For Men:

Cowboy hats are a timeless and iconic symbol of the Wild West. They’ve been around for centuries, with their popularity increasing and decreasing. Today, cowboy hats remain popular amongst men of all ages.

While sporting a cowboy hat successfully requires little more than confidence, some basic rules and etiquette should be followed when wearing one.

1. Remove your cowboy hat when entering a building.

When it comes to wearing a cowboy hat, certain rules and etiquette should be followed. The number one rule is to remove your cowboy hat when entering a building. Although it may seem like a minor detail, failing to do so can appear disrespectful.

Removing your cowboy hat shows respect for the place and the people inside, regardless of whether or not you know them. It also shows courtesy and good manners, which are always appreciated by those around you.

In addition, if the building has a code of conduct or dress code, removing your cowboy hat demonstrates that you’re aware of it and intend to follow it. If removing your cowboy hat isn’t an option for religious or cultural reasons, try to find where you can keep it without inconveniencing anyone else in the room.

2. Take off your cowboy hat when meeting someone:

Wearing a cowboy hat is a fashion statement and a sign of respect. In many parts of the world, it’s considered polite to take off one’s hat when meeting someone for the first time. This rule applies to cowboy hats as well.

cowboy hat rules for men
Cowboy hat rules for men

Men who wear them should remember to remove their cowboy hats whenever they enter someone else’s home or meet someone new. It’s also important to remove or tilt your cowboy hat if you pass by somebody in the street and make eye contact with them, as this shows respect and consideration for others.

Taking off your cowboy hat is essential to following proper etiquette while wearing one. Not taking off your cowboy hat may give people the wrong impression about you, so it’s always best to be respectful and courteous when in public or meeting somebody new!

3. Do not wear your cowboy hat at the dinner table:

Cowboys have been an iconic symbol of American culture since the days of the Wild West. Cowboy hats have become a part of this image and are often associated with certain rules and etiquette that should be followed when wearing them. One of these rules is not to wear your cowboy hat at the dinner table.

This rule applies to all hats, including cowboy hats and fedoras. Taking off your cowboy hat during dinner shows respect for the people you’re dining with and the food you’re sharing.

It also prevents strands of hair or lint from falling into someone’s plate as they eat. Additionally, it keeps the conversation flowing smoothly by allowing everyone to see each other face-to-face without any barriers between them.

4. Keep your cowboy hat on when you are outside:

Donning a cowboy hat is the perfect way to show off your rugged style when you’re out and about in the wild west. Whether looking for protection from the sun or a fashion statement, it’s important to always keep your cowboy hat on when you’re outside.

This may seem obvious, but many people forget this rule and take their hats off while they’re out and about. Wearing your cowboy hat shows respect for the western lifestyle, so it’s important to stick with this tradition.

5. Do not wear your cowboy hat backward:

It is important to remember that the cowboy hat is a symbol of respect and pride, so it’s important to show proper respect by wearing it correctly. One of the most important rules to follow when wearing a cowboy hat is never to wear it backward. Doing this can be seen as disrespectful and rude in many cultures, so avoid doing this at all costs.

Wearing your cowboy hat backward reflects poorly on you and the culture associated with the hat itself. Not only will you be showing respect for the people around you, but also yourself by taking pride in your appearance.

If you have any confusions, you can read my article on which is the front and back of a cowboy hat?

6. Do not adjust or play with your hat while in conversation:

Regarding cowboy hat etiquette, some rules must be followed to maintain the respect and integrity associated with wearing the iconic accessory. Another important rule is to not adjust or play with your cowboy hat while in conversation. Doing so can be considered impolite and disrespectful, as it conveys a lack of attentiveness and engagement.

Additionally, cowboy hats should always be removed from one’s head before the conversation has started; otherwise, it could signal an abrupt end to the discussion or even insult others involved.

7. Do not wear a cowboy hat that is too small or too large:

Cowboy hats are an iconic fashion piece, but they can also be tricky to pull off. Wearing a cowboy hat that doesn’t fit right is not just unflattering; it’s against the rules of etiquette. To ensure you look your best in your cowboy hat, there are some tips to keep in mind when selecting the right size.

The most important thing is ensuring the cowboy hat fits properly and comfortably. The crown should rest roughly one inch above your eyebrows, and two fingers should fit snugly between your head and the hat’s inner band.

Also, ensure that the brim isn’t too tight or restrictive around your face. A cowboy hat that is either too small or too large will look awkward and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods.

8. Keep your cowboy hat clean and in good condition.

Maintaining your cowboy hat is part of being a true cowboy. If you plan on wearing one, it’s important to keep it clean and in good condition. Never store a damp cowboy hat; always allow the hat to dry off before storing it away.

Use a soft-bristled brush designed for cowboy hats to remove debris or dust from creases. If your cowboy hat gets stained, use a damp cloth and light soap to gently spot-clean it. By doing this, you will ensure that your cowboy hat will last for years to come.

9. Do not wear a cowboy hat that is too formal or too casual:

One of the most important aspects of wearing a cowboy hat is ensuring that your style is not too formal or casual for the occasion. When choosing a cowboy hat, it’s important to consider how formal or informal your outfit is and select a cowboy hat in line with this level of formality.

A straw western-style hat will look out of place at an upscale event, while a black felt Stetson might appear too stuffy for casual gatherings. So, keep this rule in mind when choosing a cowboy hat for your next special occasion.

10. Always tip your cowboy hat politely and respectfully:

Cowboy hats are an iconic headwear style often worn as a statement of fashion. However, certain rules and etiquette are associated with wearing a cowboy hat that should be followed. One such rule is always to tip your cowboy hat politely and respectfully.

This gesture can be used to greet friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or strangers when passing them on the street. When tipping your cowboy hat, it’s important to remember to do so slowly and deliberately to show respect for the person you’re greeting or addressing.

Make sure you don’t just flick your hand up quickly, as this won’t make much of an impression on whoever receives the gesture.

11. Do not wear your cowboy hat during national anthem:

The national anthem is important to any country’s heritage and culture. It is a sign of respect to show patriotism and solidarity with the nation. Wearing a cowboy hat while singing the national anthem is seen as inappropriate and disrespectful. Therefore, it is important to follow cowboy hat rules and etiquette for men when attending events that involve the national anthem.

Wearing a cowboy hat during the national anthem is not considered polite or appropriate. Taking off one’s cowboy hat signifies respect for the nation’s flag, symbolizing reverence and appreciation for what it stands for. Those who do not remove their cowboy hats during this time can be seen as unpatriotic or insensitive to others observing the event.


The cowboy hat is truly a timeless piece of Americana fashion. Though it’s been around for centuries, even today, it is still considered to be an important part of men’s attire in certain circles. Knowing the rules and etiquette for wearing a cowboy hat properly can help men look their best and show respect to those around them.

When wearing a cowboy hat, men should always remove their cowboy hats when entering buildings or talking to someone face-to-face. It’s also important to remember that cowboy hats shouldn’t be worn backward or indoors, as this could be perceived as disrespectful. Additionally, cowboy hats should only be touched by the crown, not the brim, with one hand! Lastly, it’s important to keep your cowboy hat clean and well-maintained so that you can wear it proudly wherever you go.

Thank you for reading! This article helped you to learn the cowboy hat rules and etiquette for men. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts on cowboy hats, please feel free to leave a comment below.


Is it rude to wear a cowboy hat?

When it comes to wearing a cowboy hat, many people often wonder if it is rude. Of course, the answer depends on who you ask, as opinions vary greatly. Generally speaking, rules and etiquette should be followed when wearing a cowboy hat to appear polite and respectful. If you don’t follow the etiquette, you might come across as rude.

Is it okay to wear a cowboy hat indoors?

This is a common question, and the answer is no; it is not okay to wear a cowboy hat indoors. While cowboy hats are becoming increasingly popular, they still belong outdoors. You don’t want to offend anyone by wearing your cowboy hat indoors. When you enter a building, it is best to take off your cowboy hat as soon as possible.

What should you not do with a cowboy hat?

One should never do anything disrespectful or careless with their cowboy hat. Please do not touch the brim of the cowboy hat when handing it over to someone else, as this is considered disrespectful. Secondly, never use your hands to shape or reshape a cowboy hat, as this could cause irreparable damage to its structure and design over time. Additionally, avoid keeping your cowboy hat on while dining out in restaurants – you should always take off your cowboy hat indoors out of respect for those around you.

My name is Brandon J. Nava, and I consider myself an expert on the cowboy lifestyle. I regularly attend events at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) am I am a member of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). I've participated in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or the Pendleton Round-Up and I aspire to be awarded by the American Horse Council or the United States Equestrian Federation in the near future. In addition I've visited lectures and educational programs at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.