Bucket Hat Wednesday brings students together

Most days of the week, every student comes to school wearing a wide variety of different clothes. Every Wednesday, however, all types of students come together and unite through an accessory that had its popularity peak in the 1960s: the bucket hat.

A+group+of+students+gathers+outside+the+band+room+during+break+on+Wednesday%2C+Jan.+28+to+take+the+weekly+photo.+Chris+Willis+is+seen+standing+fourth+from+the+left.+Photo+by+Eli+Shafer

Eli Shafer

A group of students gathers outside the band room during break on Wednesday, Jan. 28 to take the weekly photo. Chris Willis is seen standing fourth from the left. Photo by Eli Shafer

Eli Shafer, Reporter

Most days of the week, every student comes to school wearing a wide variety of different clothes. Every Wednesday, however, all types of students come together and unite through an accessory that had its popularity peak in the 1960s: the bucket hat.

“[A bucket hat] is what fishermen wear when they go fishing on the ocean,” junior Chris Willis, founder of the weekly event “Bucket Hat Wednesday,” said.

Although wearing a bucket hat may seem out-of-place in a suburban school, Willis started Bucket Hat Wednesday with a deeper goal in mind.

“Bucket Hat Wednesday is something to help push the boundaries of what people like to do. People usually like to find a style and stick with it, but this is to help them expand, and they might become more adventurous,” Willis said. “At first, it was kind of just a joke, but then I was like ‘I can do something with this and come up with a good message and everything to make this something more serious.’ It was really the idea of helping people that made me want to do it.”

Willis, who owns 13 different bucket hats for himself, said he’s had the idea in mind for a while.

“I had the idea last year when the band went to San Francisco, but it didn’t really start until this year because people kept pushing back, especially band kids. So this year, I finally said, ‘let’s just do it.’ ”

While many accessories could be used to push people out of their comfort zones, Willis said his mind was always set on using a bucket hat. According to junior Brooklyn Liang, it’s the bucket hat’s style that sets it apart.

“[A bucket hat] makes you look like a stylish fisherman, and it gives you grandpa vibes,” Liang said. “[Willis] has always loved bucket hats, and I think he wanted to share that with the community.”

Junior Tate Austin said he agrees that bucket hats have a unique style, but he believes there are more reasons that a bucket hat is the perfect accessory for Willis’ goal.

“It allows you to put yourself out of your comfort zone, but not too far where it’s too uncomfortable,” Austin said. “Bucket hats are not as crazy as a top hat and not quite as tame as a beanie; it’s something that’s out there just enough, and it fits with almost any outfit.”

Liang and Austin have both been avid participators in Bucket Hat Wednesdays since the beginning of the year; one or both of them have shown up in each of the 14 Bucket Hat Wednesday pictures from this school year.

“Every Wednesday, we all get together in the band room and spend the intervention time [after second period] hanging out and then at break we all go outside to take the photo,” Liang said. “Normally, some of the boys grab weird things to pose with, and it’s a lot of fun.”

The popularity of Bucket Hat Wednesday has only recently grown, Willis said.

“The first time was just a few band kids, but we’ve gained members every week. Some days, I’ll just see people wearing bucket hats, and I don’t even know them. It’s not even only at this school; I’ve seen people in other schools participating, too,” Willis said. 

Austin said he has also seen the impact of Bucket Hat Wednesday spread beyond Inglemoor.

“We found out that the Woodinville Model UN team is selling bucket hats now after seeing the Inglemoor Model UN team wearing them. It’s easy to see that this is something that’s growing beyond just the band and just Inglemoor,” Austin said. 

For now, Willis said he has no plans to stop anytime soon.

“I plan to do this until it dies; it’s just fun,” Willis said. “I’ll just keep it going, and I hope it grows more.”

Liang said she agrees that Bucket Hat Wednesday can become more than a months-long trend. 

 “I definitely think it can be passed down between different grades and continue growing over the years,” Liang said. “It definitely will grow more, and people will become more inclusive as we get the word out more. Right now, it’s just starting to grow, but once people really push for it to become bigger, it will spread a lot.”