Mom said that you should always wear your best hat when it’s cold outside. Experts agree that wearing a hat in cold weather keeps the rest of your body warm. But they’re forgetting something. Hats are fun. Hats are distinctive. Frank Sinatra’s hats were as famous as he was. Would Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade have been as cool without a hat?
When you think of LLCoolJ, you think of his multitudinous Kangol bucket hats. And if we’re going old school now, Eric B and Rakim wore ‘em too. And if you wanna get really, really old-school Gilligan and Hunter S. Thompson wore bucket hats. If Pharrell Williams and Paul Thomas Anderson are rockin’ bucket hats now, then yeah, bucket hats are a pretty awesome item to own.
Why Wear a Bucket Hat?
Bucket hats can add a little somethin’ somethin’ to whatever you’re wearing. A bucket hat in a clever print lets people know you’re a friendly extrovert. They can also hide a bad hair day or bad haircut (thanks Corona!). They can protect you against sunburn, and stop the sun from getting in your eyes and ruining your shot. And yes, if the weather’s crappy, they’ll keep the rain or sleet or snow or whatever off your head and your face.
What is a Bucket Hat Anyway?
Originally, they were popular with farmers and fishermen in the early 1900s. The original bucket hats were made of wool and coated with lanolin. That coating made the hats waterproof. Perfect for tromping around in fields on sitting in a boat during rainy or foggy weather. The Israeli Defense Force used them back in the 40s when they’re fighting in the desert. They still use bucket hats today. Actor Jimmy Walker wore one in the TV Show Good Times back in the 70s. Fast forward to the late 80s and early 90s and rappers wore them, usually Kangol on stage and in videos. Movin’ on to now, Jay-Z has been known to doff a bucket hat, as does Eminem, Tyler the Creator, Diddy, Justin Bieber and even Jean Claude Van Damme. Really.
You can wear a bucket hat any time of the year. You can wear a bucket hat to play tennis or golf. You can wear a bucket hat riding a bicycle or at a festival. Or you can toss a bucket hat on for a trip to the supermarket. Bucket hats come in everything from leather to wool to cotton and more. Scroll through to find the best bucket hats to wear right now.
1. Keith Haring Bucket Hat
You can’t go wrong repping King Keith himself. It’s colored in a vibrant yellow color and depicts a classic Haring motif patched in the front. As you’d expect, it’s got a flat top and is perfect for summer fun.
2. Kangol Lahinch Bucket Hat
Say hello to the hat that started it all. This could be the best bucket hat as the style is well over 30 years old, and it still looks great. This is the wool version (it also comes in navy and black), but you can also pick up the cotton version in six different shades here.
3. UO Tie-Dye Corduroy Bucket Hat
Last summer became the unofficial summer of tie-dye — and we expect that not to change this summer. Clad in tie-dye corduroy, this Urban Outfitters bucket hat will leave you looking like the life of the party. It has a washed look to it that makes it look relatively vintage and it’s multi-gender, so anyone can wear it.
4. Polo Ralph Lauren Sport Bucket Hat
BEST NAME BRAND
This vintage-looking bucket from Polo Ralph Lauren spills nothing but swag. It’s got a boyish charm to it that feels retro yet quality and will match just about anything you pair with it no matter the season. A crewneck? Go for it. Cut-off tee? Absolutely. Whatever you want, it’s going to work.
5. DIOP Mud Navy Bucket Hat
DIOP has a number of gorgeously designed bucket hats with patterns derivative of West Africa and fabrics from Indonesia. Each design is entirely unique and vibrant in its own way. A lot of people who are not Western African or Indonesian tend to wonder if they can wear DIOP, but the founders say it’s entirely fair game and inclusive if you recognize the roots. We suggest you do, too — these hats are iconic.
6. Fendi Reversible FF Motif Bucket Hat
Let everyone know who you’re wearing with this iconic FF all-over bucket hat from Fendi. It’s got that classic “look at me” style that a lot of larger name brands have and can reverse into a red had on the opposite side. Yeah, it will break the bank, but you’ll most certainly have the coolest bucket hat around town.
7. Orlebar Brown Floral Bucket Hat
Flowers and bucket hats honestly go hand-in-hand, so if you’re looking for a stellar bucket to match your garden, you won’t have a hard time finding out. Right now, our favorite floral bucket hat is this one from Orlebar Brown. It’s got a navy blue/blackish overtake with a multitude of flowers strewn all over. Honestly, you might even look better than your garden. When’s the last time you watered that thing?
8. Joylife Leopard Print Bucket Hat
Hop on the animal print trend with Joylife’s leopard bucket hat. Channel the 70s by wearing it with a black turtleneck, or make it very modern with a graphic tee, jeans and Chelsea boots. It’s also totally reversible, so you can wear it on the leopard side or the black side.
9. Folk Olio Print Bucket Hat
BEST BLACK & WHITE PRINT
A black and white bucket hat can add a subtle amount of swagger to top off any mundane outfit. This hat looks like an unfinished roll painting that brings some DIY vibes to any look. It’s all-season ready and fits snug on your head.
10. Off-White Logo Print Bucket Hat
While the prior pick is our favorite black and white choice, this is our favorite Off-White choice. And, no, not the color — we mean the brand. Off-White has been making rounds recently with all of its dope-looking streetwear, so there’s no doubt that if you’re a fan of the low-key brand, you’re going to fall in love with this bucket.
11. UO Washed Bucket Hat
It doesn’t get any more simple than this washed bucket hat from Urban Outfitters. It comes in a number of handsome colors that have a vintage look to them, perfect for the trend that’s going on right now. The hat’s made with washed cotton and comes at a very affordable price.
12. Coalatree Bucket Hat
BEST FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Coalatree started out as an organic farm in Colorado and created its first line of eco-friendly clothing back in 2010. This lightweight bucket hat is fast drying and has an adjustable chin strap. Perfect for urban and mountain hikes.
13. L.L.Bean Sunday Afternoons Brushline Bucket Hat
BEST FOR ACTIVITIES
Headed up a mountain? Fishing with the boys? Picnic by the creek? No matter what outdoor activities you’ve got planned, the L.L.Bean Sunday Afternoons Brushline Bucket Hat makes a perfect companion for spending time outside. It’s made with UPF 50+ to keep your head out of harm’s way from the sun and uses nylon material to wick sweat and moisture. Stains? No problem, this hat simply doesn’t get them. It’s also very lightweight, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging along when out and about.
14. UO Seersucker Stitched Bucket Hat
This hat is serving us ice cream worker on a boardwalk in 1920. Scoop after scoop, we’re sure this is how you’d keep your head safe back in the day. Now that it’s 2021 and the Roaring 20s of the 2000s are just beginning, bring back this classic style and work with it all summer long. Plus, it’s on sale.
15. J.Crew Reversible Bucket Hat
Sporting a preppier look this summer? We’ve got the perfect bucket hat for you. This reversible must-have from J.Crew exudes a boy-next-door kind of charm with a plaid look in shades of blues, whites, greens and pinks. It has a vintage aesthetic to it that looks like it could have been thrifted and it’s also entirely reversible with a full blue side as well.
More from SPY
Best of SPY