A man wearing an army green face mask.
Photo: Ben Cope

These Masks Bring New Meaning to “Facial Expressions”

By Aileen Kwun
April 25, 2020
2 minute read

For a few weeks now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been recommending that Americans wear cloth face coverings while social distancing, as a measure to slow the spread of Covid-19. In some places, including New York and New Jersey, not wearing one in public may even stick you a fine. With many fashion and product designers shifting their resources to help curb the pandemic—and often donating masks to frontline workers—there are now many ways to express yourself while still staying safe, even if half of your face is covered.

We searched around for an eccentric grouping of what’s out there. Among the colorful prints, patterns, and textiles on offer, this linen and cotton-gauze mask by Utopia Goods stood out as both practical and cheery. We also noted some of the gutsier options available, such as this fashion-forward take by Collina Strada with long, beautiful bows that can be tied in a variety of ways and are made with deadstock materials from previous collections. For a more rugged aesthetic, Los Angeles–based designer Stephen Kenn makes a durable olive green mask, pictured, with a vintage military canvas exterior and a soft black cotton canvas lining. And, of course, if you have an old scarf or handkerchief lying around, you can easily just make your own.

Also, it bears repeating: If you happen to get ahold of medical-grade PPE supplies, please find a way to get them into the hands of the first responders and health care workers who urgently need them the most.