A Fashion-Forward and Practical Guide to Finding New Masks

Coming back to campus this year is nothing like previous years. Welcome Week was mostly virtual, classes are hybrid, and club meetings are online through Zoom. One of the biggest, most obvious differences between this fall and last year is the wearing of masks!

I was hesitant to buy any masks in the beginning of quarantine; I insisted that I would get through the springtime with disposable masks, and that the world would be completely COVID free come fall. Obviously, that did not happen, and therefore my search for cute masks that protected myself and others, while also matching my clothes, began.

My mom ordered a pack of masks from Old Navy (5 for $12.50!), and they quickly became my favorite brand! I now own over 15 masks from there, and I absolutely adore all of their patterns.

As the semester has gone on, I have realized just how important it is to find masks that I enjoy, because I’m wearing them any time I leave my dorm room. Here are my top five things to look for when searching for a new favorite mask brand!

  1. 1. Washability

    Making sure your reusable masks are actually reusable is very important — a few masks I bought at the beginning of quarantine had elastic that quickly broke after a few loads of laundry, so it’s important that you can sanitarily machine-wash masks without worrying about fraying or colors fading!

  2. 2. Fit

    Personally, I like rectangular shaped masks, but some people prefer the look of masks with rounded noses, like these from Vistaprint. It’s also a matter of making sure your face shape matches with the mask, so that it doesn’t leave space on the sides of your face for unfiltered air to pass through!

  3. 3. Material

    The CDC recommends at least two layers of fabric to effectively filter air particles when you’re breathing! Most brands sell three layer cotton masks, but it’s crucial to check before you purchase, or else you’ll have to return them.

  4. 4. Comfort

    This is intertwined with material and fit a lot of the time, but making sure your mask is comfortable to wear for long periods of time is key! Early this summer, I discovered that some masks’ elastic straps were way too big for my ears, which I combatted by either wearing pigtails to wrap the straps around or by sewing the straps shorter. If you have the opposite problem, and  the straps are too tight and hurt your ears, I’ve also seen “ear savers” for sale on Etsy!

  5. 5. Pattern

    I left this for last, since obviously it is the least practical, but we are wearing masks for the foreseeable future, so why not get some cute ones? I got a matching skirt and mask set from Old Navy, and I absolutely love it! I recommend getting multicolor masks that you can mix and match with many pieces from your closet!

Going to school, meeting up with friends, and even just leaving your house or apartment looks so different in 2020, but a cute, practical mask can turn a dreary day into a fun statement!

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