Mask Fashion for the Masses
Typically, I get dressed for me. I choose clothing and accessories to match my mood, to make me feel confident, or to provide comfort (shout out to my growing sweatpants collection). Stilettos that make me feel flirty. A powerful pantsuit. That just-right bikini. I believe that getting dressed is a creative expression that’s deeply personal.
Except with one new accessory that I’ll be wearing not for myself, but for you: the face mask.
Researchers at the CDC and others have determined that wearing a cloth face covering offers you some protection from Covid-19, but it does more to protect those around you in case you have the virus but are asymptomatic or are not yet showing symptoms. In many places, wearing a mask is now mandatory. Still, you should practice maintaining six feet of social distance as much as possible.
A new accessory and keeping people safe? I’m in. In fact, I now have a total of seven masks, sourced from creative friends, Etsy, and brands offering charitable mask donations for every purchase. Currently, I am swooning over this tie-dye mask from KES and a cool seersucker one from Tony Shirtmakers. Having options allows me to pair them with my outfits, and (most importantly) to have a rotation so that I can wash my masks frequently.
Designers have also taken notice—not that fashion face masks are new...remember Billie Eilish in a custom Gucci number at the Grammys in January?—with fashion houses like Erdem, rag & bone, and Prabal Gurung debuting their mask iterations already. In China, where masks are often worn in big cities with high levels of air pollution, face coverings (both practical and decorative) aren’t new either. In 2014, Qiaodan Yin Peng Sportswear showcased models in masks during China Fashion Week in Beijing. The following year, Chinese designer Masha Ma showed Swarovski-studded masks in her spring collection in Paris. I imagine we’ll see many more on runways (or whatever the coronavirus-era equivalent of a runway will be) this fall.
I must admit, face masks are not particularly comfortable. They’re hot. If I’m also wearing my glasses, they fog up. It’s hard to be understood when speaking. Sometimes I forget my mask and have to run back into my apartment. But, for me at least, these are fairly minor inconveniences if it means protecting those around me—and those around them, and so on and on. It’s just going to take a little getting used to in our ever-evolving world.
I’m wearing a face mask because I care about you. Because I care about healthcare workers and other essential employees. And if it happens that the vintage floral pattern of my terry cloth mask matches my tangerine-and-blue button-up top and shorts set...well, that’s a cherry on top, indeed.