The bucket hat has forever been one of those accessories that has caused a huge divide within the Fashion industry. Are they the latest must have? Or is their constant recycling becoming a little tedious? Stick with us and we will talk about the long history behind the ever so famous bucket hat.
Bucket hats were first introduced to us by Irish farmers and fishermen in the early 1900’s and were used to protect them from the rain whilst they were working. This was made possible due to the downward facing brim. They were hugely popular amongst this community; due to their easily foldable nature, they could be popped in their pockets whenever the rain had stopped. Through this period, bucket hats mainly stayed within the boats and fields, used as a helpful aid. It was not until the 1940’s when the bucket hat started to become a standard issue piece within the military to protect the necks of the troops whilst in hot countries; such as Vietnam in 50’s to the 70’s. During this time, the hat took on another purpose, not only protecting from the rain, but from the harsh Asian sunlight. This version of the hat was usually made from an Olive drab cotton fabric to ensure they were still light and breathable.
Step in to the swinging 60’s and as always, the fashionistas of the time, the Mod’s, got a hold of this usually utilitarian headwear and turned it into something completely different. Making the hats from various materials such as tweed, felt and other stiff fabrics. In doing this they created a whole new type of fashionable hat and brought the style to the front of the fashion industry. Obviously, in those days, these would cost a fair bit of money, so the pattern making company McCall’s released a series of patterns so that you could make your own at home!
Fast forward to the 80’s and 90’s and Bucket hats were all the rage, but more surprisingly within the hip-hop community. Many rappers such as Big Bank Hank, Run-DMC and LL Cool J really embraced this trend, with many of them wearing them for live performances, on album covers and during interviews. This really made the accessory a desirable item to own and bucket hats were seen everywhere. Heading into the 90’s, the trend was still rife, but with the change of decade, came a shift in who was wearing them.
We all remember the film Clueless and there avant guard take on many fashion trends, from check suits, to crocheted beanies. But one of the stand out pieces in the whole film is Dionne’s sculpted bucket hat that she just casually wears to school. Bucket hats are seen a fair bit throughout the film, from large sculpted pieces like Dionne’s to Cher’s fluffy version. But during the 90’s is when this divide of the accessory really started to kick in, with many fashion magazines slating them; they started to be seen as a novelty item, rather than this huge fashion piece that they had been viewed as for the based 30 years. Part of this decline in popularity could be the infamous Kangol bucket hats worn by Liam Gallagher of Oasis? Who knows…
After the 90’s the hats were off of every major catwalk. In 2005, Prada tried to bring back the accessory but it didn’t take off as much as they wanted it to. Bucket hats were still worn by a number of celebrities during the 2000’s, but not quite on the level that they were during the 80’s & 90’s.
Fast forward 13 years to 2018 and a whole flock of designers wanted to create their own take on the historic bucket hat. Brands such as Fenty x Puma, Michael Kors, Chanel and Louis Vuitton have all put their own version of the bucket hat down the runway and, to great success! The bucket hat has finally lifted off yet again, with new fabrics being used. FKA Twigs sported a very large, green, fluffy bucket hat to the NME Awards in 2020. Rihanna has been seen wearing them regularly and they are being showcased in both mens and women’s runway shows across the world. This whole revival has happened due to the current 90’s nostalgia trend that is happening within the industry. As mentioned previous the 90’s is known for creating quite a few fashion faux pas, so maybe this revival of the 90’s trends could be the makeover the era needed?
In regard to the bucket hat, personally I see the fashionable approach to them these days as quite innovative, fresh and can add a really quirky twist to an outfit. I see bucket hats as being in and I do not think they will be departing the front row any time soon.