Remember when Justin Bieber was just a Canadian pre-teen with a barnet like Clare Balding? Now he’s banging out banger after chart-hit banger (and maybe Miranda Kerr). Things change. Often for the better. Like it or not, uncool things become cool again. Take the bucket hat, for example. Although the hat has always had its fans (think Run DMC circa 1984), the fly fishing essential is now the fly essential of today’s hip-hop elite: Kanye, Chris Brown and A$AP Rocky to name but three. Hate all you want, but these are blokes with Balmain, Philipp Plein and Dior campaigns behind them, respectively. Contemporary celebrity endorsement isn’t the sole factor of the bucket hat’s success, though. Brands like Palace and Supreme have included some iteration of the bucket hat in their collections for years: paisley, geometric, striped, floral, you name it. And the vibe is in demand. Each time a new collection drops, both labels can expect overnight queues with the clobber selling out in minutes of stores opening. Then again, many great pieces were met with jeers. The skinny jean was an aging rocker’s staple before Hedi Slimane gave it a new lease of life, and New Balance, once the sole preserve of schoolyard nerds, now scores collabs with the likes of J.Crew and Hypebeast. The maligned can once again become ‘must-have’.
Granted, some iterations of the bucket hat err on the ridiculous – but that’s the good bit. Nobody’s telling you to wear one to the office, or a wedding, or to your grandparents’ ruby anniversary. (And if you do try formalise the informal, you’ll flounder: I mean, who the fuck wants a bucket hat made of tweed?) Simply put, they flourish in fun situations: festivals, nights out, summer pub sessions, the instances where our getup isn’t all navy tailoring and camel overcoats. Style might be timeless but, sometimes, fashion is just more fun. But dissenters, please continue with your scorn. You’re only arguing with some of the biggest menswear brands on the planet and arguably the most iconic rappers of all time. But hey, what would they know?
My first reaction on seeing someone wandering around wearing a bucket hat is not in fact to slap them in the face, but to ask them if they[re lost. Because they’re obviously elderly tourists. Who else in their right mind would elect to wear what looks like a tortilla on their head? Who else would, of their own volition, have their reputation as an upstanding member of society instantly dashed by virtue of the fact that they’ve chosen to put on their heads something known by the Bulgarians as an idiotka – AKA an ‘idiot hat’? Idiots, that’s who. Idiots and rappers. But the big difference between idiots and rap’s bucket hat fans is that the likes of A$AP Rocky and Pharrell will make literally anything look cool. The rest of us on the other hand, will look like a toddler on his first trip to the beach. Or pre-Purpose Bieber. Or Christina Aguilera in what’s obviously the early stages of a major breakdown.
Admittedly, I’m not much of a hat man. But just because I don’t wear hats doesn’t mean I can’t tell the difference between a stylish one and one that must be immediately doused in petrol and set on fire. In summary, there are only four situations in which it is acceptable for a man to wear a bucket hat:
- He is A$AP Rocky
- He is a Stone Roses fan at a Stone Roses concert
- He is an Oasis fan at an Oasis concert
- He is fishing and wants to look the part
Nothing good can come of wearing something originally known as an ‘Irish walking hat’. I’m Irish, I should know.