The Year of the Mask

Without a doubt, the title for the hottest–and confoundingly, most divisive–accessory of 2020 goes to The Face Mask. Whether surgical or cloth, N-95 or homespun, above-the-nose or below-the-chin (please, cover your nose!), masks are EVERYWHERE.

While not technically jewelry, the mask is the prolific pandemic accessory that is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Over time, more and more fashion companies have joined the ranks of mask-couturiers, resulting in approximately one million styles to choose from. Some are quite pretty, others are pretty wild, and a few are just…head-scratchers. Let’s review.

The Pretty

Some of the loveliest and reportedly most comfortable masks I’ve encountered are these assorted vintage floral beauties in cotton sateen from fashion house Johnny Was. A pack of five retails for just $25. I’ve recently given these as birthday gifts to two friends because there is no better way to say “I hope you stay healthy for another year” than with a pack of life-saving-yet-aesthetically-pleasing face coverings.

Chicago-based label Akese Stylelines, led by Ghana-born designer Jennifer Akese-Burney, has started selling face masks that come with optional matching headwraps and neckpieces, in traditional African Ankara fabric. Their beautiful colors and lively patterns will surely brighten any gray quarantine day:

I adore the charming embroidered masks made by NYC-based designer Lirika Matoshi, who donates 100% of her proceeds to charities in her native Kosovo:

The Pretty Wild

Trendy fast-fashion chain Akira is selling some next-level, over-the-top, blinged-out statement masks:

I appreciate that the spiked mask sends a strong “stay the eff away from me” vibe.

French costume designer Anne Sophie Cochevelou is selling fanciful bejeweled masks from her online store, in addition to regularly posting masterful themed masks on her Instagram:

One of the artist’s fantastical mask concepts.

The Head-Scratchers

You can order a custom face mask displaying your own likeness. But as this man learned the hard way, the result can be unfortunate if the sizing isn’t just right:

Apparently his experience was not unique.

Kindai University in Japan published instructions for making a 3D tuna mask cover:

And finally, if dark humor is your thing, check out this plague doctor face mask ($20) that is a nod to the physicians who treated victims of the bubonic plague:

As a real sign of the strange times in which we’re living, some kids in my neighborhood recently set up a “mask stand” in place of a lemonade stand on a hot summer day. This inspired my new motto of 2020: When life gives you lemons, wear a mask.

Further Resources For Finding Your Perfect Mask


One thought on “The Year of the Mask

  1. Hahaha! Love this – and these. Little did I know that masks have gone to these extremes. At least, not in Lincoln Park!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s