‘This is the Ugliest Hat I’ve Seen in My Life’

For only the second time since the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns started 15 months ago, today my wife and I ventured to the local IKEA—a previously frequent haunt. Stark, barren, warehouse atmosphere sank both our moods. The place felt less like lively, stylish Scandinavian showcase of tasteful, affordable household furnishings and more like an apocalyptic wasteland.

Somewhere in the storage section, alongside various-sized blue and yellow-accented polypropylene bags and totes, I came upon the strangest thing: Heavily-logoed bucket hats made out of the same material. I remember wearing that style as a kid—and it was a favorite among the fishermen in Dad’s Allagash hunting parties. Suddenly, bucket hats are fashion-chic—a trend loosely taking hold in 2020 but exploding this year as people emerge from COVID confinement and return to something resembling normalcy.

The head-wear is everywhere—in styles galore. Even my awareness about the trend couldn’t prepare me to unexpectedly discover IKEA’s rendition. I walked past them to fetch my wife, motioning her to come see something unexpected. She gawked. “This is the ugliest hat I’ve ever seen in my life!” Annie is a graphic designer by trade and artist by nature; her style-sense is classic and tasteful, when it comes to putting together an outfit. You can believe her.

I used iPhone XS to quickly capture the Featured Image and companion—more to make an odd moment than to compose compelling photos. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 80, 1/121 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:04 p.m. PDT. The other, focusing on the polyester lining: f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/118 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:05 p.m.

By the way, if you really must have one, IKEA charges $3.99.