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Q I am just venting. I am an old-fashioned 70+ man with a fashion matter that just bugs me, and I need your opinion. I have always been taught by my parents that, when indoors, men should remove their hats and dark sunglasses. These people who wear hats while eating indoors and also while wearing dark glasses in a rather dark room are just rude in my opinion. Your comments would be appreciated. Thank you. Old Timer, Bob

A I, too, am just venting. Basically I agree with you. Those are rules that I was taught as well. But, just because we feel that way does not mean that everyone else does. A lot of what used to be considered the only acceptable way is looked on today as unnecessarily old fashioned.

The old rules of "etiquette" and the official U.S. military dress code rules state that it is correct for a gentleman to remove his hat just as he steps across the threshold when entering a building. In the past, wearing a hat indoors was always acceptable for women (it was considered part of their carefully-planned "ensemble"), but was unthinkable for men. Nowadays, many men think of their hats as an essential part of their "look," and not just as outerwear. Their choice of hat style may be one that makes a statement, or it may be something more innocuous. While they would never keep their topcoats on indoors, they don't think of their hats in the same way.

Wearing dark sunglasses when indoors also used to be out of the question. This is probably because, in polite society, people are supposed to be able to make eye contact with others around them, which is pretty much impossible when wearing dark glasses. The new self-adjusting eyeglasses that are clear indoors and get dark automatically when exposed to sunlight are able to do what you and I cannot do: namely, force people to be polite in that one aspect.

On the other hand, there really are a number of reasons why we might accept the idea of a man's wearing sunglasses indoors.

• Many people need sunglasses for medical reasons, such as eyes that are sensitive to light or UV.

• A man's sunglasses may be his only prescription glasses that he needs to see and drive with.

• Some men may prefer sunglasses to hide some flaw, that can range from a temporary black eye to something more permanent.

Less justifiable, but common, reasons also include:

• To look stylish/fashionable or express a sense of "mystery."

• As a status symbol. Some sunglasses have recognizable expensive designer logos.

And the last reason some men wear sunglasses is perhaps the best reason to reconsider them. Some with eyes that are red because of a rough night, or any of various forms of imbibing, opt to hide these usually unsuccessfully, and thus others may assume -- unfairly or not -- that is why a man is wearing sunglasses.

For those who were unaware of these societal expectations, there are other inappropriate inside-to-outside dress ideas. For instance, it takes a certain amount of fashion self-confidence and style for a man to be able to pull off wearing a scarf indoors. I remember the first time I met men's fashion designer Joseph Abboud. He was dressed in black-tie attire and had a white silk scarf loosely draped around his neck. His swarthy good looks were accentuated by the contrasting addition of the scarf. The look was perfect for him. But not all men could make that look work. Leaving your coat on indoors is another no-no. Many men would ask, "Who would leave their coat on inside?" which is what I still ask about sunglasses.

The rule to understand is fairly basic: a gentleman generally removes his hat while inside and sunglasses are rarely justified indoors. For most people, it's best -- and polite -- to take off your hat and your sunglasses once through the door.

Please send your men's dress and grooming questions to MALE CALL:

High Profile on 05/12/2019

Print Headline: Hats, sunglasses should be removed when going inside


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  • CharlesJohnson
    May 14, 2019 at 7:49 a.m.

    I am glad to see from this article that I'm not the only one who thinks hats should be removed indoors. I entered the Military in 1955 and this quickly became a lifelong habit to this day. I also would remind our youngsters that if they would wear their hats backward the bill would keep the sunshine out of their eyes.