A bucket hat is a hat with a narrow, downward-sloping brim. They were traditionally made of unwashed raw wool and worn by Irish farmers and fishermen in 1900 as protection from the rain. The lanolin from the unwashed wool made the hats naturally waterproof, and therefore ideal for Irish weather. Over the years, these lightweight hats became popular as fishing hats, for sun protection, for warmth, or as a fashion accessory. In the ‘60s, the look was popular with the Mod subculture. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Kangol bucket hat was popular in the hip-hop scene.
We see a sprinkling of solid and patterned bucket hats every season because they are an iconic classic. But recently they’ve gained momentum and are having their fashion moment. Bucket hats can be worn year round across a range of weather-appropriate fabrics. Wool, shearling, tweed, sherpa, leather, pleather, corduroy and flannel for cold weather. Cotton, crochet, straw, canvas, and cotton blends for hot weather. Weatherproof fabric for rain, and recycled fabric is popular too. Here are some examples.
Some of the brims are wider and floppier than the more traditional stiff and narrow brim. Most of the fits are structured but some are oversized. Some of the shapes are round, and others more square. Some versions are reversible. Most bucket hats are easily folded and washed, which means you can pop them into a bag or large coat pocket, or travel with them. They are handy to have in weatherproof nylon in rainy Seattle when you don’t have a hood or umbrella. The narrow brims don’t offer a lot of sun protection, but they do offer some protection. In the right fabric, they will keep your head quite insulated too.
I don’t have a bucket hat, but I like them. If I came across one that I liked, fit well, and didn’t blow off my head, I’d wear it as a warm-weather hat. How about you?