Heavy Is the Head: The Best Bucket Hats to Complete Every Summer Outfit

It's time to set aside the baseball cap

July 20, 2023 11:06 am
a photo of bucket hats and Carlos Alcaraz on a blue swirly background
The best bucket hats are the sartorial equivalent to a Carlitos "Vamos!".
Getty Images

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

The bucket hat is complicated, man. Rarely has a piece of headwear symbolized so much: an affinity for ocean-adjacent chill, a veteran nod to tactical functionality, the telltale sign of a devoted chiefer. The Venn diagram of bucket casts a wide net, but center to all is this simple fact: the best bucket hats are a stone-cold move you should absolutely be making this summer.

Outerknown’s Outrageous Semi-Annual Sale Just Got Even Better
Save up to 70% on our favorite beach bum brand

This is, of course, a blanket statement to which there are many exceptions. We understand that you might not feel fully comfortable wearing one to, say, the office…nor should you. That is unless you really know what you’re doing. But for bar hangs and beach days, cooldowns and grill outs, we urge you to consider the cohesive powers of a 360-degree brim.

Need convincing? We’ll spare you Pinterest links to the Oasis-splattered moodboards and think pieces on why ’90s fashion is back. We will instead direct your attention to a notable example of late in the form of young Carlitos Alcaraz, Wimbledon champ and swaglord supreme. Or perhaps recently outed therapist speak user Jonah Hill is more your speed. Hell, remember Portia from the White Lotus?

Go on. You know you want to.
GC Images

And these hats are not just for Brad Pitt, 20-year-olds with no bed frame and Paddington the Bear. The breadth of baller buckets hats includes dome pieces of all shapes and sizes, from sporty to beachy to (dare we say) formal. Virtually all of the brands in your closet dabble in some kind of version; Nike makes a very good one, as does Prada. There is a bucket hat primed to grace every head. You just have to commit.

Think of us as your one-time therapist here — we’re helping you bridge the gap with a surefire list of the styles you should embrace before it’s too late. Below, the best bucket hats for a laid-back summer style.

How to Wear a Bucket Hat This Summer

The Old Faithful: L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Bucket Hat
The Old Faithful: L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Bucket Hat

L.L. Bean’s Mountain Classic Bucket Hat might not be out there in looks, but the three-season hat utilizes the same water-resistant fabric as L.L. Bean’s Mountain Classic Anorak, making it more than capable of handling whatever summer adventures are still in hand.

The Sporty Select: lululemon Both Ways Reversible Bucket Hat
The Sporty Select: lululemon Both Ways Reversible Bucket Hat

If your summer vibage falls within the crossroads of “sporty” and “rich,” look no further than Lululemon’s Both Ways Bucket Hat. With two tonal sides and the aerodynamics of an Olympic bobsled team, it looks killer serving aces and sipping Aperol Spritz.

The Summer Wedding Stunner: American Trench Linen Chambray Bucket Hat
The Summer Wedding Stunner: American Trench Linen Chambray Bucket Hat

As we previously mentioned, we can’t recommend a bucket hat in a formal setting — unless we’re talking about American Trench’s linen chambray option. Opt for a neutral suit, grab a knit tie and boom! You just won best dressed at one of your many summer weddings.

The Empire State of Mind Pick: Rowing Blazers x ’47 Madras Yankees Bucket Hat
The Empire State of Mind Pick: Rowing Blazers x ’47 Madras Yankees Bucket Hat

Okay, perhaps you’re not quite ready to let go of your trusty fitted (sticker still on, obviously), Here’s a compromise: this preppy, madras-striped bucket from Rowing Blazers wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson flick, but its front-and-center Yanks logo should appease even the most New York among you.

Bucket hat? Try ATV. Pac-northwest giants Outdoor Research packed every inch of their Trail Mix Bucket Hat with tech designed to get you further: thermo-regulating ActiveTemp treatment, UPF 30 protection and an easy drawstring for peak wearability.

Real heads should recognize Kangol as the bucket to rule them all. There’s nearly a century of history behind the Cumbria-based hatmaker’s locked-in look. As one of the most recognizable head toppers out there, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong — especially if you opt for a terry-textured version of the classic Bermuda.

Is TikTok fueling your wardrobe choices? Do you wish that TikTok was fueling your wardrobe choices? If either ring true, send the extra change and snag this graphic-splattered bucket from red-hot JW Anderson. Borrowing its print from the treasured Japanese anime Run Hany, it’s a touch kitschy and a ton of fun. We suggest you pair it with similarly out-there garb (read: XL jorts) for a flawless ‘fit.

More Bucket Hats We Love

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.