Bucket hats are a fashion staple that we consistently see on celebrities like Rihanna, Billie Eilish, and Dua Lipa. I, myself, am loving this trend. Adding a bucket hat can elevate a simple outfit in seconds!
Bucket hats can even be styled with different outfits all year long. Since we’re still experiencing the last few weeks of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, fuzzy bucket hats are a fashion staple. More importantly, we have to acknowledge how the bucket hat trend was pushed forward by Black culture.
Before I dive into the relevance of bucket hats in Black culture, I am sure that many of us are wondering how a fisherman’s hat suddenly became fashionable. Bucket hats have often invoked controversy and debate when it comes to fashion over the years. They were not always considered to be “cool” or “trendy.” And they definitely were not made to be a key accessory in your Instagram posts.
The bucket hat first prevalently appeared in Ireland and Australia in the early 1900s. They were also used in the military. This includes the United States military during the Vietnam War. They called them Boonie hats or Giggle hats. These names are quite interesting, right?
Bucket hats were made to be practical and functional. Farmers and fishermen wore bucket hats for protection from the rain. The brim of the hat is downward facing, which keeps water out of the wearer’s face. Also, since the hat is not structured with boning and it doesn’t have a large brim like baseball hats, it can easily be folded down to fit in the wearer’s pocket if need be. The hat can even be worn to protect the back of a person’s neck from the sun. Nets are also attached to the hat to protect the neck from mosquitoes and other insects.
By the 1960s, women who were apart of the Mod subculture began wearing their versions of bucket hats. Mod subculture spread through London and the rest of Great Britain. ‘Mod’ is short for ‘modern’. It’s centered around jazz clubs, R&B, coffee shops, and mopeds. It also has its own style and fashion trends, which include a stiffer, elegant, long-brimmed bucket hat.
While being used in Mod culture, bucket hats drifted away from being solely for fishermen and military personnel. However, the true popularization of bucket hats in the United States was influenced by Black culture. In the 1980s, bucket hats were incorporated into street style and mainstream fashion by the Black community, more specifically, hip-hop. The hat was a feature in looks for album covers and music videos. Artists like Big Hank, LL Cool J, Run DMC, and Jay-Z, all wore bucket hats in the ’80s and 90s.
By including bucket hats into their wardrobe, they opened the door for the once mocked bucket hat to enter the mainstream. They normalized bucket hats in everyday fashion. It didn’t take long for luxury fashion brands to buy into the idea of selling bucket hats. By the early 2000s, brands like Prada designed bucket hats to showcase in several of their fashion shows. And now, in 2020, I can’t even think of a major fashion house that has not designed its own bucket hat.
So, if you are obsessed with bucket hats like me, you should be thanking the Black hip hop community for its influence on this trend and introducing this accessory to the mainstream. Since our favorite hip-hop stars started rocking the bucket hat, we now have so many designs and options to choose from. You can find the perfect fuzzy bucket hat for winter, or you buy a monogrammed bucket from Dior. It’s completely up to you!
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