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Hats in vogue

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Baby, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still look hot. Those practical winter perennials, bright knit ski caps — ”woollies” — are this season’s fiercest fashion statement, replacing the once ubiquitous baseball cap and being sported by DAS EFX, the Beastie Boys, Kurt Cobain, even Perry Ellis runway models.

What’s behind the snowballing trend? It’s a natural crossover between two of music’s hip-pest genres, rap and grunge, since the look grew out of both bleak urban streets and that damp alternative music HQ, Seattle. ”They’re also a great way to hide a really f—ed-up haircut,” says Beastie Boy Mike Diamond, whose X-Large Store in L.A. produces a wide selection. Typically $15 to $25, the hats that make the loudest statement are Phillies Blunt models in plum and brown, and black-and-white or blue-and-red stripes by 555 Soul.

On runways, the caps are a clear triumph of new fashion over former function: They’re for warm weather, too. Says Perry Ellis designer Marc Jacobs of his striped and pastel line for spring, ”We made sure they weren’t pulled down over the head for warmth. The ears always showed.”

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