As we begin to venture out of our homes, we do so with caution. Face masks and social distancing will govern our interactions for some time to come. And while our health, and the health of our loved ones, is the most important consideration, mixing a little face mask fashion with those precautions will make it all a little bit more fun. So if you’re tired of looking like a bank robber with a plaid bandana around your face, or heaven forbid, wearing a mask that just doesn’t go with your outfit at all, we’ve compiled a few options from some of our favorite designers and fashionistas.
Michel, from Mâle Raffiné, gives us a little manly fashion advice: “When wearing a suit and tie, the previous unspoken rule was to match your tie to your socks, your belt to your shoes, and have a different color for your suit, your shirt and your socks/tie combination – plus, don’t use a pocket square of the same color as your tie, as they must contrast. Now, the new rule is to match your face mask to your tie and your sock, to create a classy and harmonious ensemble.” Outstanding advice, Michel! It’s always a lot of fun to still be able to turn a few heads (even at my age) when I go out, but I never knew how to accomplish that with a mask over my face. Matching mask/tie combination it is!
Those who manufacture masks today aren’t just churning out plain, single-color cloth masks, they’re doing it to match every style. Even pickleball players! Sarah Aiken from Eastport Pickleball says “Our masks are made for the fashionista pickleball player. Originally a paddle manufacturer, we jumped on the chance to keep our customers happy with a face mask that exuded their style. We’re known as pickleball’s poshest paddle, so why not pickleball’s poshest mask too?”
Now that we’ve decided that masks should look good, why not let them feel good too? Margaret over at Cotton Mask Company says they’ve repurposed some of the finest Italian and Swiss tight-weave durable cottons that are typically used in mens’ high-end dress shirt making. Margaret has a good point, some of the masks I’ve gotten are perfectly serviceable, but sometimes a little scratchy, and Cotton Mask Company’s offerings sound like just the thing. Margaret tells me, “Not only do face masks need to be both soft and sturdy, they also need to be accessible. The face mask market has completely ignored one group of people which the over-the-ear masks are not good for, individuals wearing hearing aids. We hand crafted the perfect solution of both style and quality within accessibility by creating an elastic over-the-head face mask from fine quality and easy to wear durability.” Shown below is their black cotton option, I want that one for when I’m rocking my Johnny Cash look.
Our Boston Terrier always gets a little excited when I get a call from someone from Boston. Ash & Rose, a little boutique in Boston, now makes masks that are both fashionable and sustainable. They’re reversible and reusable, and what’s better, when you buy one, they also donate one to a local organization in need. Doggie loves it!
Amy Zerner, a designer of one-of-a-kind couture designs you can find over on the fourth floor at Bergdorf Goodman, says she creates art-to-wear in her East Hampton studio. Her pieces are collectible, and they definitely make a statement. “Since we have all been required to wear masks, I began to play with the bits and pieces of couture fabrics that I use in my garment designs to create some one-of-a-kind fashion masks,” Amy told the Vivant. “I love working with shimmering materials and embellished lace. The masks are lined in silk for a luxury feel. They have to be beautiful, comfortable and they have to be different.” They certainly are, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one of her silk-lined masks!
When I’m lunching downtown, one of the things I like most is just being recognized. But when I’m masked, it’s not always possible. Iana over at the MeTee shop has the perfect solution, with a cute tee with your picture on it and an upward-pointing arrow, with “It’s me!” emblazoned on it.
The LA fashion brand Bluestone Sunshields, which creates chic visors worn by celebs like Kim Kardashian. The company recently developed a new line of clear shields and glasses, kicking off the new line by donating over 4,000 pieces to local hospitals and frontline healthcare workers. They also have a new line of protective glasses to safeguard against infection via the eyes, an area that is often overlooked and not included in traditional mask coverage. “When COVID-19 hit, I realized that doctors, nurses and others needed our shields to help patients, so we immediately created clear face shields and donated 4,000 to help those battling on the frontline such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and UW Medicine hospitals in Seattle,” said Jen Podany, Founder and CEO of Bluestone. “This was personal to me. My roots are in the medical community, I have family in law enforcement and I have deep ties to the fashion and retail communities. People from all of these groups were telling me about a shortage in PPE and I knew we could adapt our product into something functional and comfortable.”
And finally, who wouldn’t want a mask to match their bikini? Liza, from Brazilian fashion company Lybethras, says “We are doing super stunning masks that match bikini and your fitness.” They’re not only stylish, they’re also reversible. They’re selling out quick, but check their website and get one of these for your socially-distanced day at the beach!
Dan Blacharski is editor-in-chief of TheVivant.com.