What Is a Bucket Hat?

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  • Written By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2020
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A bucket hat is a casual style of hat with designs for both men and women. It is typically made of cotton, canvas, or nylon and is worn in the summertime. Its design is especially well suited to protecting the head, face, and neck from sunburn.

Basic bucket hats have a crown of 3.5 to 5 inches (about 9 to 13 cm) with a brim of 2 inches (about 5 cm). Of course, the dimensions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the overall shape remains the same. Warm weather versions often have two or more grommets to allow ventilation in the crown. The design of these hats is not exclusive to any specific nationality as many cultures have some form of the bucket hat.

Since it is a casual hat and often worn during outdoor activities, a bucket hat is usually made from washable, breathable material. The most popular fabric is cotton, but occasionally, designers use alternative fabrics. For a dressier fabric, velvet is a popular choice, and shearling is a cold weather option as well as fur or fleece. Wool is another alternative which provides greater warmth than cotton as well as natural water resistance.

Embellishments include trim around the brim or crown, accents on one side of the hat, or patterned materials. These can be added to any of the different variations of the bucket hat. Typically, men's bucket hats have fewer embellishments than women's.


One common variation on the bucket hat is the fishing hat. It usually has a wider brim and two strings to secure the hat under the wearer's chin. The reversible hat is another type and has an alternative color or type of fabric on the inside. This hat can be worn inside out to show the other fabric.

The roll up style is similar to the bucket hat but with a wider, stiffer brim. Most hats of this style have a floppy brim, but the roll up brim is firmer, which allows the brim to remain turned up. The brim is also somewhat wider than the brim on the traditional bucket style so that the hat can provide sun protection even when the brim is turned up.


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