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The Modern Fashion Etiquette Conundrum

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The Modern Fashion Etiquette Conundrum

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The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the rise in hat-wearing among men, and the etiquette confusion that goes along with it--what's proper and what's just plain old-fashioned?

Thanks to the hipster's repopularization of classic, even old-timey hats such as the fedora and the porkpie, the issue of decorum has become a divisive issue. Many members of the new guard object to having to remove an integral part of their outfit, while traditionalists adhere to the sentiment that a gentlemen removes his hat indoors or when shaking someone's hand. The premise of the rule lies in making one's eyes visible as a matter of courtesy, and ultimately became a gesture of respect.

It's certainly a tough one, and it's something we've considered for many of today's trends. There was a time when women couldn't even wear pants, a rule New York socialite Nan Kempner famously dismissed by removing hers when barred from entry to a formal restaurant back in the 70s. Other sartorial restrictions included wearing skirts without nylon stockings, leaving the house without a hat (and a girdle and a chaperone), and more contemporarily, wearing color white after Labor Day.

Times have changed, but as trends continue to challenge older sartorial rules, those standards of yore get pushed even more to the forefront. As tradition dictates, there seem to be two sets of rules determined according to gender: men dress to exude respect, while women dress to cover themselves up.

Might the fedora be the man's equivalent to showing off one's lingerie or wearing a crop top? Those seem more obvious--very few workplaces would tolerate bra straps and bare bellies--but why are men given a hard time about removing a hat while expecations for women fall just short of nudity? Is it simply because women have laid the groundwork to revolutionize what they're allowed to wear for about a century longer than their male counterparts?

The question becomes, should men be brazen as women have to drastically relax the rules surrounding their dress code or is there something to be said for the last few remnants of gentleman-like propriety?

Related Topics ETIQUETTE, HATS
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