Perhaps one does not want to be caught topping a beret hat unsuitable. I have seen such scenes many times, but it’s not pretty. In general, beret features tag or other marks inside, which could be regarded as the back of the hat. Besides, berets are most likely adorned with adornments like bow, feather, beads or other embellishments. In general, wool hats are prepared for chilling winter to protect moisture and coldness; when it comes to block sun and heat, most people may come up with straw hats. Some arbitrary fashion rules are supposedly that wool beret is suitable for weather conditions between Labour Day and the May long weekend; straw hat should be worn in scorching summer.
In fact, both could be seen at either time of the year. A straw hat may be more suitable than a black beret in summer; a wool hat may be a more comfortable choice at a cold night. Almost no one will wear a straw hat at a formal event. Common sense will be your guide at the moment. Perhaps there are two schools of though about how to handle beret hat. One school believes that one should hold the brim near the crown when putting on or taking off one’s beret. Another school may think never handle it by the brim. Actually, holding brim or crown could distort the original shape of your hat. If it is flexed or bent severely, the brim and crown will gradually weaken the body of your beret.
But I often hold my hats by the crown slightly. Except adjusting the hat on my head, I seldom handle them by the brim, because it is the most easily disrupted structure.
In some occasions, this is an area of heated debate. Criterion will change with human social interaction, times and location. The most important, also the indisputable one, is not to touch or try on a hat without permission. I have heard a man asked his friend “Can I try your hat on?” His friend answered and looked at the man, “You wouldn’t want me to try on your underwear, would you?” So, do not try on other people’s hat in ordinary. Sometimes, headpieces are very private and expensive. It is also items one will not pass around. Even in some places, it will get you pile-driven into the wall in case you touch other persons’ hats without permission.
Some Common Sense of Etiquette
One should take off hat whenever you enter a building. When you sit at table, one should take off the hat. When sitting down at a counter for a meal, the hat can stay on. All above rules are often neglected or modified according to specific locations. So please use the best judgement when there are some doubts, and obey all above rules to avoid offending anyone’s sensibilities.
It is extremely elegant that when a person greet you, touch the brim of his hat.