Face masks have become the fashion statement of 2020, required (and the right thing to do!) in most public settings, they are encouraged by the CDC as an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (when combined with preventative actions). When it was officially green-lit back in April that cloth face masks can do the job as well, many brands and designers here in the US, have adapted and created their own collections.
New York City may have opened for Phase 1 this week, but that doesn’t mean the wearing of face masks when in public should stop, as experts have noted we may need to wear masks for at least the next year. That being said, many of you may have one or two cloth masks on hand or chose to stick with your N95 variety, either way, as the city moves into its other phases, it’s probably time to for an update or an upgrade. You might even build a small collection, kinda like socks, but luckily you won’t lose the other side in the laundry.
Scroll down for a few options that provide style for when you’re out and about and are affordable for your wallet.
HEATHER TAYLOR HOME
When face masks became a necessity, home decor and linen brand, Heather Taylor Home, decided to provide a 10-pack option for $50, making them only $5 each. As masks may be worn daily, 10 sounds like the right amount to be rotated and cleaned properly. Each pack comes in an assortment of neutral colors and patterns made from 100% cotton, and for every pack sold, 10 masks are donated to those in need. To date, HTH has donated up to 50,000 masks. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and This is About Humanity, are just some of the organizations supported. They also recently launched a kid-sized 4-pack; you can purchase both of them here.
When businesses started to produce masks, Kiya Tomlin, a womenswear fashion designer in her own right constructed ones that offered a secure and comfortable fit. If you are over masks that irritate your ears, Kiya’s are the perfect solution. They come with a longer and wider elastic band worn around the head, so it doesn’t disturb your ears. If you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Kiya’s husband Mike Tomlin is the team’s head coach, so you know she had to come through with a Steelers mask. Not a sports fan? Her masks come in other designs like ‘Honeycomb’, ‘Dragonfly’, and ‘Purple Flower’. Either way, a portion of proceeds supports donation efforts to healthcare workers, and you get 15% off your first order. All masks are $15. Check out her comfy masks here.
Curated vintage denim brand Samaria Leah is well known for its distressed and embellished jean shorts and pants. Samaria who is also LL Cool J’s youngest daughter created her namesake brand when she found herself distressing and altering her jeans to fit her body better, reflecting on her creativity. Globally sourced, all pieces are hand made, so they are one of a kind. Their 100% cotton denim masks have 50% of proceeds go to COVD-19 relief. Available in a light blue wash, you can get a closer look at the masks here, which go for $25 and come in two sizes.
WRAPPED BY NELLZ
Wrapped by Nellz would usually be your go-to for printed head wraps “for good and bad hair days”, but now you have the option of matching your head wrap with a face mask. The $30 bundles are the perfect combo because the head wraps can be worn even once this pandemic is a thing of the past. With more than 100 prints to choose from including animal, floral, and traditional African prints, the options are endless. The filtered cotton masks by themselves, go for $10. There is even a sale happening right now of 24-32% off select items. Shop them all here!
MOOSE AND MINE
Specializing in dog accessories, Moose and Mine immediately adapted and started to make equally cute face masks. Some masks also come with a matching scrunchie for yourself, and/or bandana to pair with your furry or not so furry ones! Made with 100% cotton, the 28 designs are made to suit all tastes, whether you are looking for a solid color, a simple pattern, or something a little more statement-making, like their watermelon or koala prints. Snag your Moose and Mine mask here.
Menswear fashion brand, Bows-N-Ties specializes in all things dapper like ties, scarves, suspenders, and cuff links. Their masks come in 47 designs, and feature a 100% cotton lining, a medical-grade nano filter, and can be paired with matching neckties, bow ties, or pocket squares. Kids face masks in 20+ designs are also available for ages 5-12. They currently have a buy one, get one sale on all masks, and 30% off any order, just in time for Father’s Day. See it all here.
Founder Keresse started Six20 as a luxury sportswear brand to celebrate women as the everyday heroes that they are. She felt that women deserved stylish and comfortable clothing they can wear throughout the day. Like her website says “Since we’re here, let’s go ahead and be cute!” You will find high-quality masks, with designer fashion house prints, or those that say ‘I’ve Always Been Socially Distant’ or ‘Class of 2020.’ All masks, including their recently launched holographic face shields, are made to order, hand-cut and sewn, promising nothing but the best. They carry a bit a higher price tag, but it definitely makes a statement. You can purchase one of her amazing masks here.
Also selling masks with bands which go around your head and not your ears, Diop is known for its aesthetically pleasing tops and bandanas made from Ankara, a fabric well used throughout West Africa with its bold colors and patterns. The masks, which come in 19 different patterns, for $15, are a triple-layered and made with 100% wax printed cotton. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of DIOP Masks will be donated to over 20 different organizations supporting the most vulnerable communities in Detroit (where they are based out of). Shop them here!
Sustainable womenswear brand, KES NYC started making masks as an initiative to help with the supply shortage for healthcare workers. All masks, most of which are available in 1 to 5 packs, come in cotton or silk, as well as solid colors or print. KES donates one face mask to a healthcare professional, for every mask sold. In solidarity with the BLM Movement, their Dreamer Face Mask seen below has been dedicated to George Floyd and can be accessorized by tying the ends into a bow. They are also donating 1,500 masks to Nourish NYC, an organization that provides grants and supply kits for protestors. Not only do they offer masks for adults, but they have a few options for children as well. Check out all of their selections here.
If you are more of a DIY person and prefer to create your own mask, there are a few materials you can choose from. Designer and illustrator Jenny M Walton created a mask using a dust bag, check out her highlights for the step by step. If you don’t have one of those lying around, you can also make a mask using a scarf as shown by Rebecca Minkoff, socks, or even an unwanted t-shirt. If you need a filter for your masks, you can get them here.
It is also important that you wash your reusable masks after each use. With this list, adding a few more options to your collection will hopefully make the process a little bit easier.
Disclaimer: These masks are recommendations. Please do additional research and follow CDC guidelines before purchasing any type of face mask.