Q: I have always been told that the only hat that a man can wear indoors is a beret. A restaurant owner in Los Angeles told me that the only reason Groucho Marx wore a beret for so many years was not because he loved berets, but because he could leave the beret on in a restaurant and therefore not have to check his hat and subsequently tip the hat-check girl. Is it indeed acceptable for gentlemen to wear a beret indoors?
A: No, in general it is not correct to wear a beret indoors. The basic rule is that hats, including berets, are removed when going indoors as a measure of respect. Therefore, hats should be removed when entering a home (which includes while eating at the table), when entering a place of religion, or when going to a restaurant (a sign of respect toward the other diners at the restaurant). When entering a store or other “public” area like a train station, the hat may remain on. Hats are always removed for the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem.