We all have that one; the one that makes our hearts ache, the one we daydream about, the one we swear we see passing us in the crowd every now and then, just out of reach. You remember the smell, the taste, the sensation on your skin. You’re haunted by old photos, memories that resurface when you’re least expecting them. It’s all-consuming, keep-you-up-at-night kind of stuff. You just can’t stop thinking about it: the one that got away.
But this yearning isn’t just reserved to apparitions of physical romance past. Mine came in the form of a furry leopard bucket hat that graced my crown nearly two decades ago. I still remember the day I got it. I was splayed out on the terracotta in front of a friend’s mother’s shop when her uncle stopped by, toting three trash bags full of furry accessories—hats, muffs, mittens, and scarves in a myriad of prints and colors. It was black market Santa. Looking back, there were certainly some seedy elements that I didn’t pick up on as a nine-year-old, like the fact that the furs were very questionably faux and arrived in trash bags carried by an “uncle” I had never heard of, despite having known this family my entire childhood. But that’s another story for another time.
My enthusiasm for all things free and fuzzy took over and I dove right in. A fuschia muff here, some mink gloves there, and could it be? A leopard bucket hat lined in coffee-colored satin that fit perfectly on my tiny head? It was stunning, my Cinderella moment in all its Y2K glory. I wore the shit out of that hat, rocking it with my rainbow-framed glasses, southern California weather be damned. It was fashion, not function.
It’s been nearly 18 years since I’ve seen that hat or anything like it. But fashion’s got a funny way of rehashing the past, and noughties nostalgia is rampant. Cue barbed wire decals, non-ironic FUBU, the cult resurgence of Buffalo sneakers, and—oh my god, yes!—furry bucket hats. These modern iterations won’t come from a trash bag in the trunk of a creepy uncle’s car but they will pack the same stylish punch, no question. Here are some of the best picks on the market RN.