Say Yes to the Mask

PHOTO BY Molly Kendrick
PHOTO BY Molly Kendrick

“I love your mask!”
“I love yours too!”

My dermatologist and I greeted each other as she entered the exam room wearing a facemask by the same designer as the one I wore.

Hers, of course, was just for cosmetic purposes, and covered an N95 mask like most of the physicians wear. Mine was acting alone, but it did offer the added protection of a coffee filter between its layers. I’d like to thank Matthew McConaughey for teaching me that trick.

But who knew complimenting each other’s masks would ever be a thing?

Back in the spring, when the pandemic was new, and we really didn’t know what we were doing; masks were hard to come by. What few existed were needed for front-line workers, leaving the rest of us to rely on YouTube videos showing us how to make our own. That’s where I learned the coffee filter trick, and how to make a mask from a scarf. The day I wore the scarf mask I was told I looked like a cute bank robber, so I didn’t wear it again.

I ordered my first designer masks early on. Johnny Was, if you’re not familiar, is a clothing line featuring boho-chic styling, rich colors and interesting prints. The company advertised masks made from their iconic fabrics and I ordered some. That was in March.

By the middle of May I had decided I must have forgotten to click “Send” and I would never receive my Johnny Was masks. Then, the day after Memorial Day, they showed up on my front porch. Their arrival heralded the beginning of what was to become a serious mask collecting problem. Now there are so many mask options it’s hard to keep up. Much like with my scarf obsession, I have to restrain myself from ordering every cute mask I see.

If high-end designer gear is your thing, you can get a Chanel or a Gucci mask. I’m not sure, but I think most of those are fake. Burberry makes a great looking one, and you can tell by the price tag that it’s not a knock-off. My husband loves his SMU masks, being a big Mustang fan, but you can support most any school with your face covering. There are even Barbie masks, and — get this — masks for Barbie dolls. Can you imagine figuring out how to make those tiny things?

This presidential election year has afforded us the opportunity to wear masks touting our favorite candidates. I choose to stay away from political masks, but I wouldn’t mind having a Texas flag mask like the one I saw a politician wearing in a campaign ad.

Louis Vuitton recently released a face shield featuring LV-logo-engraved gold studs, and a monogrammed strap. It’s photochromatic, meaning it transitions from clear to dark in direct sunlight, and it can convert to a hat. It doesn’t take out the trash, but it really should for $961.

Just to keep it interesting, you can indulge in mask accessories. (Again, who saw that coming?) A plastic mask frame will protect your lipstick. A mask lanyard keeps your mask handy while you’re sipping your chardonnay, and who wouldn’t want a mask case to keep your face covering free from dust and bacterial growth?

I’m as weary of this pandemic as the next person, but I figure in times like these we have to find our fun wherever we can. If a sequined mask makes you smile, I say go for it. Matching turkey masks for the whole family on Thanksgiving? Why not?

At some point, though, this too shall pass and leave us with drawers full of masks that no longer serve a purpose. Some of the more industrious will no doubt make mask quilts to preserve the memories of “these uncertain times,” but I have neither the skill nor the inclination for that. I do think I’ll hang onto my masks, though. If nothing else, I feel certain my grandchildren will need them to complete their “2020 Party” costumes when they’re in college.

In the meantime, let’s all mask up. And let’s keep smiling, even if nobody can tell.


 

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