In Style: Making a statement with your protective mask

Our world today certainly looks different than it did a few months ago — case in point, the number of masks you see people wearing in public.

With Maryland requiring residents to wear masks in all public places, a new fashion opportunity has emerged. Why not have some fun with them? Many companies are getting creative, making masks with stylish designs, fitted custom features or luxury details.

When deciding what fashion statement to make, it’s essential that you know the different types of masks out there, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Face shield: This device covers the front of your face, usually with some transparent material, and is usually secured at the top of the head. This shield keeps your bodily fluids inside the shield and away from other people around you.
  • Surgical mask: This is a loose-fitting fabric mask that creates a barrier between the nose and the mouth of its wearer and the environment. Surgical masks made from a washable fabric can be reused, and there are also disposable options.
  • N95 respirator: This protective device sits close to the face and has a mechanism that effectively filters airborne particles. These must pass certain tests to be considered an N95 respirator and are difficult to find unless you work in health care.
  • KN95 masks: Similar to N95 masks, these are tailored to follow standardized requirements in China. The main difference is that N95 masks have slightly stricter tests for breathability. However, the U.S. has authorized the temporary use of KN95 masks due to shortages.
  • Bandanas: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted guidelines for using a bandana to create a facial protective device. This is a last resort, as it isn’t the best way to protect your face. However, a bandana can be a great way to flex your style muscle and show some personal flair.

Showing your style

Currently, the easiest masks to find are surgical masks, which are easier to produce for clothing companies and can also be crafted at home with some basic sewing skills. There are many ways that you can make a statement with this type of mask, using designs that let your personality and style shine.

This can make it fun for you and for the people you encounter. After all, not being able to see the bottom half of someone’s face diminishes our ability to connect. Add some personality to your mask and you are looking great, while also bringing back some of that connection with others around you.

The CDC says thicker cotton, known as quilting cotton, is the best material for making a high-quality mask. Luckily, quilting cotton comes in many different patterns and designs.

Here are a few suggestions for making a fashion statement.

  • Monochromatic: A one-color mask is simple and bold. Some monochromatic masks also come with a logo printed on them, showing brand loyalty. This style communicates that you mean business and you’re not here to play games. Wear a mask like this when you don’t feel like chatting or are on the clock.
  • Striped: A striped mask has a little more flair, great for when you want to keep a simple style but have a little fun.
  • Skull mouth: Maybe you’ve seen someone walking around with a mask that bares skull teeth. This mask is for the guy who wants to give off some bold and edgy vibes.
  • The mask that literally makes a statement: Some masks out there have words or a phrase printed on them. A mask like this is a great way to express yourself without actually having to say anything out loud.

At the end of the day, you have a lot of possibilities to choose from. It might even be a good idea to have a few masks to wear for different occasions. Pick ones that show your personality and you will gain some style points while also making the world a little bit brighter.

Stay safe, wash your hands and wear your mask.

Judah Estreicher is the CEO of JBD Clothiers in Baltimore. Reach him at [email protected].


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