Embrace fashionable PPE with personality, passion, expression

Grace Cook ‘21, Sports Section Editor

We may not be able to flaunt our smiles in 2020, but we can sure show off our masks. Masks in the age of the COVID pandemic are now a fundamental part of life. They are more than protective measures against the COVID-19 virus–masks are a fashion statement/choice/display. Let’s mask up with PPE: Personality, Passion, and Expression.

Silks or sequins, opinions or pearls… masks have been seen to display everything and anything. New York designer Eugenia Kim said to the Washington Post that masks are like T-shirts: “useful and common, yet endlessly variable.”

We can make statements with the masks that replace our dazzling smiles. Various designer brands such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton have created lines of designer masks selling for hundreds of dollars. For more affordable commodities, retailers like Old Navy or Athleta do the trick. They sell mask packs featuring cute patterns and brilliant colors. 

If you want to be more expressive, consider wearing a face mask that displays your personal opinions. Allies of the Black Lives Matters movement have been spotted wearing masks that read “BLM” or “I Can’t Breathe.” Supporters of environmental groups can be seen sporting masks with earth-oriented patterns and quotes on them. Who can miss your opinion when it is written on your face? 

Masks can be customized to fit any preference. If you cannot find a particular mask online, consider hand-making it. South Lyon senior Mallory Simpson’s favorite mask is a sparkly pink one made by her mom. “My favorite color is pink, my hair is pink, and pink is me,” she said. 

Another senior at South Lyon, Kayla Lambert, regularly matches her face masks with her outfit. She likes to wear masks that reflect her personal taste and make her “feel like someone who stands out.” Her favorite masks feature soft fabric and customizable sizes; this allows her to show off her personality with comfort and style.

Face mask fashion may be rising in popularity; however, we must not allow frivolity to overtake function. Here are some tips for wearing face masks in a fashionable and safe manner:

DO wear a mask that is comfortable, breathable, and fits right. Functional face masks cover the whole face from nose to chin and do not have any gaps on the sides. 

DO NOT don a mask made of mesh, like Lana Del Ray did at a recent book signing in California. Do not use a face shield in place of a mask either. These materials defeat the purpose of a face mask and risk the safety of others.

DO utilize adjustable ear straps on masks.

DO NOT wear a mask that fits awkwardly, is too loose, too tight, or is made of scratchy material. It is miserable to wear an uncomfortable mask all day; it is also no fun hearing someone complain about it every minute.

DO express your personality through colors, embroidery, patterns, pictures, quotes, and other mixed media in a respectful manner.

DO NOT sport foul language or hate speech on your mask; these are unprofessional and may be prohibited in certain institutions. 

With the pandemic in full swing, masks are going to be a fundamental clothing feature for months–or years–to come. Instead of rejecting masks with disdain, let us all accept our circumstances and mask up with a sense of positivity and flair. Masks are the world’s latest fashion trend, and we are gonna rock ‘em.

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