Masking, but Make it Fashion
When it comes to the accessory of the moment, there is one clear winner: Protective face masks. What else literally saves lives, shows respect for your fellow citizens, and can add an extra dash of *fashion* to your look? Even as vaccinations start to ramp up across the country, continuing to mask in public is crucial, so I’m going to make the most of it.
Thankfully, the fashionable mask options I need to do so actually exist now. Since last spring, the selection and variety of reusable masks has increased exponentially, but there are some that are a cut above the rest when it comes to style.
Accessory Mask Sets
I’m particularly loving coordinated mask and accessory sets lately: They add a considered element to any look, and the flashier ones are an instant fun boost. I mean, who can deny the cheer of a matching metallic mask and scrunchie combo?
I found this paisley French Connection set at T.J. Maxx that comes with a headband, scrunchies, and multiple masks. Due to the ephemeral nature of T.J. Maxx finds, I didn’t really expect to be able to link it, so I was pleasantly surprised to not only find it, but see that it is available in more colors and for only $7 – I may have to get the orchid floral set.
Another easy way to make a mask an integral part of your look is to have it be already part of the clothing itself. Leota, a brand long known for their wrap dresses, added a new Face Cover collection last year, and I loved the idea so much when I saw it that I reached out to request one to review. With unobtrusive earloops and purposeful draping that looks good worn up or down, these tops and skirts merge form and function. They are particularly well-suited for the current double-masking guidance, as they aren’t a sealed mask on their own, but rather provide a second layer of protection without having to carry around multiple masks.
I wore this polka dot tunic tucked into high-waisted mom jeans with a moto jacket for a more casual, street-style vibe, but it could just as easily work for the office. I also really like the idea of face-covering clothes for a future time when masks are no longer required, but I’m in a crowded place where I’d rather not breathe in everyone else’s particles (i.e. the subway). I shared my effusive feedback with Leota and was able to get a Curvily coupon code for my readers: Enter CURVILY at checkout for a sitewide discount (not just for the Face Cover collection!), including this incredibly comfortable midi dress (you can see how I styled in on my Instagram).
Clothing Coordinated Masks
Clothes with coordinated masks are also a fun way to embrace face masks as a fashion element – indeed, it was one of the biggest trend takeaways from the Grammys last night. A lot of the plus size offerings for this category are fast fashion, but there are some cool designer and indie brands offering coordinated masks, my favorite being Samantha Pleet.
This bodysuit and mask combo has a print inspired by the Unicorn Tapestries, one of my favorite pieces of medieval art that I’ve ever seen in person (related: I highly recommend a visit to the Cloisters when you are ready to go back to museums again!) The black colorway in this bodysuit is fully sold out, but a very spring-ready ivory is still available in limited sizes. And if you like any of her other designs, keep an eye out for a coordinating mask – many of the prints and fabrics have one.
A few other indie designers I love, including Hayley Elsaesser, Baacal, and Loud Bodies, offer masks in some of their signature prints with extended size clothing to match, so you can coordinate your own full print-on-print look a la Billie Eilish in her excellent Gucci ensemble. I have it on good authority that another plus designer fave Tamara Malas will be offering coordinating face masks soon too, so keep an eye out if you love her designs.
Accessorize your Accessory
Mask accessories are also great for adding a little extra zhuzh to your look. Every time I wear one of my Pretty Connected mask chains, I get compliments on it. They are another prime example of meshing form and function: The chains add a little edge to any look, but also keep your mask with you and ready to put back on immediately if anyone comes in your proximity. On days when I am not wearing one, I find myself getting annoyed that I don’t have it – a true mark of a great product. I’m not the only major fan either: Another stylish Sarah loves hers so much that there have been multiple fashion stories about it.
My latest Pretty Connected mask chain order – I’ve been wearing the pink non-stop since I got it!
Whichever way you want to bring fashion to your masking, just keep it up – we’re finally in the home stretch, but all of the doctors I know stress how important it is to keep masking outside of our homes until pretty much everyone is vaccinated! I’ve rounded up some more form + function picks from all four categories below – just click through if you find something you love!