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Think about it...you've seen them everywhere. On old ladies at the MFA, on the twelve-year-old punks at Harvard Square, on the orderlies at UHS and on former Soviet leaders. This week's fashion trend isn't about cheeze labels like "gen-x" or "glam rock" or "punk as fuck"--this trend crosses such petty verbal boundaries. I would suggest that the truly stylin' toss the CK One, grow out that short bleached and cropped hair, stop saving up for the perfect black penny loafers and invest in the single item which apparently rocks the Harvard fashion scene: Big Hairy Russian Intellectual Hats
I'm not saying that I understand it. However, these things are all over the place, and they're spreading at a healthy clip. Remember the movie "Gremlins?" Despite the conspicuous fact that other headgear is warmer and looks less like a dead pet, the Hairy Russian Intellectual Hat has spread faster than an e-mail chain letter.
The initial appeal of The Hat may have been the simple effect that fur produces on the head of a bald man: a shameless and warm toupee. The distinction between balding, foreign men and our top professors being pretty sketchy, The Hat caught on quickly as a sign of the oldest guard of the Intellectual Elite (It's rumored that all eight University professors received new Hats upon their appointment, and precocious Professor of Mathematics Noam Elkies owned several at the tender age of eight). This theory is feasible only at Harvard, where fashion trends sparked by old intellectual men could actually catch on.
Apart from the Russian Army, the Hat is available in a variety of places ranging from cavernous bookstores, precious Newbury boutiques, yard sales and the back room of certain coffee houses. I'm sure that Urban Outfitters, that chain of trendy individuality, will soon have an order in stock, if they don't already.
Retailers have now gone over the edge making sure we can all find The Hat in our size: I've seen toddlers bundled in snow suits capped with mini-Russian Intellectual Hats, looking like they're sporting small beagles on their heads.
A political note: Granola types, who wouldn't sport a fur coat if their tempeh and grain medley depended on it, regularly hit the scene in these conspicuous coils of Real Fur. As Alexander Barylski '96, proud Hat wearer for four years, commented, "No one's spray-painted these Hats, yet." These Hats can do no wrong.
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