The "Ugly" Hat Trend From Instagram, Explained

by Danielle Naer

You've likely seen it on Instagram: the paunchy, oversized brims in boisterous prints, tied beneath the chin in a neat bow. Though exploding in recent seasons, bonnets are far from new to fashion. In fact, the "ugly" hat trend from the 19th century has undergone countless revisions — but the 2020 version is the first in years to drum up tons of buzz. Right now, there are tons of ways to test-drive the controversial trend, and some of the brands offering them may already be on your radar.

But first, let's start at the beginning: In and around the 19th century, the winged bonnets were required in most social settings, when versions plumed with feathers and silk bows reigned. They eventually became more ornamental, dovetailing in and out of popularity as cloches and pillboxes trended upward. The versions that then swept GANNI and Kenzo's 2019 runways were the confluence of a bonnet and a bucket hat, featuring blown-out brims and chin-tying fixtures. It's only in 2020 that the trend has picked up tremendous speed, with every designer from Faithfull the Brand (a Kate Middleton favorite) to LOEWE (via its Paula's Ibiza Summer collection) offering versions of the aesthetic.

The bonnet seeing an uptick this summer is light and ethereal, perfect for going on a stroll or picnicking in the park. Cult-loved hat brand Lack of Color is largely responsible for popularizing the look on IG, with its retro floral print hanging in nearly every It-girl's closet. There's also raffia-woven styles, tapping the bonnet's aesthetic origins and pairing with all the best swimsuit trends for 2020. Eric Javits' "Aruba" style may not be taken abroad this year, but it's great for laying low on the beach or while boating. As any hat lover will tell you, the hardest part is towing it from here to there — which the bonnet's tie fixture aids in perfectly. Knot these onto your overnight bag or suitcase handle, and you're good to go.

For all the best styles this season, with sizing and color options to suit your preferences, scroll ahead: