Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Car Keys? Check. Face Mask? Check.
When getting ready to leave the house, a new essential has been added to everyone’s checklists. Within the past few months, our daily routines have had to shift dramatically due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sterile, blue face masks seemingly worn only by doctors and dentists flew off the shelves and became a staple item in every home.
Although these disposable masks are convenient and appear to be cost-effective, they will soon end up in landfills and only add to the omnipresent climate crisis and “throw-away” culture that persists in our society.
Brands from Off-White and Givenchy to Madewell and Athleta have released their own iterations of the unexpected new essential. The new requirement to wear face coverings in public spaces and on many college campuses can be done both sustainably and in style. Having done my fair share of research, here are my personal recommendations on where to find the best reusable face masks to bring with you wherever you go.
Online retailer Etsy has a plethora of unique and handcrafted masks from independent retailers across the country. One of my personal favorites is the cloth face mask sold by the retailer “BeWellGroup,” which has built-in nose wiring to fit the mask to your face and a filter pocket to add extra protection. It also features adjustable elastic straps and is made of breathable cotton.
This particular mask comes in over 15 different patterns and colors along with the option to purchase a filter with the mask. It is versatile and protective all at the small price of $11.35 ($18.35 if purchased with the filter). Purchasing a mask from Etsy is also a great way to support small businesses while keeping yourself safe!
Fitness and athleisure company Athleta has come out with their own version of the reusable mask that is light-weight and breathable, making it perfect for everyday use. The masks are sold in packs of 5 for $30 in an assortment of neutral colors and patterns, making it sure to match any outfit. This style of mask also features adjustable elastic straps, allowing it to fit your face shape perfectly while also being machine washable.
An added benefit to purchasing this set of masks is that Athleta will also donate masks to a major healthcare organization to assist frontline workers. This is the perfect basic mask for any activity!
The luxury denim brand Redone, famous for its recycled Levi’s jeans, is now selling upcycled masks fashioned from bandanas in a large variety of colors. The masks are machine washable with elastic ear straps and cotton lining. Each mask is made from an old bandana, making every mask unique with no two being exactly the same. These trendy bandana masks are selling for $20 each, and with every mask purchased, 5 masks will be donated to frontline workers through the organization Donate PPE. These masks are a great way to support sustainable fashion while staying healthy!
The whimsical brand LoveShackFancy gained popularity for its feminine dresses and blouses, and has now released its own signature face masks.
Constructed out of leftover trademark LSF fabrics and textiles, these vibrant masks are 100 percent cotton, machine washable, and a percentage of the proceeds go to frontline workers. This mask features a tie closure, making it adjustable and comfortable around your ears in ways disposable masks are not. Each mask is hand sewn and the variety of patterns make it the perfect mask for summer days. The mask is retailing for $20 on the LoveShackFancy website.
Stoney Clover Lane, the youthful, fun accessory brand, is now selling a reusable cloth face mask with a fun twist. Their mask set comes with two bright, pastel-colored masks with adjustable tie straps. The straps have removable heart-shaped beads that add a pop of color. These masks are 100 percent cotton and washable and are selling for $28. They are a fun twist on the standard, basic face mask that is dainty and unique.
- Local Boutiques and Stores
Lastly, a great option for finding reusable cloth masks is to search your local boutiques and small businesses. Many small stores sell their own versions of reusable masks crafted by members of their community. Opting to support local businesses during these hard economic times is a great alternative to shopping online from big retailers.
Staying safe and healthy does not mean you need to sacrifice your personal style. Reusable masks add a pop of color and happiness to the unfortunate situation we all face today. Ditch the disposable blue masks and show off your personal style with one of these fashionable and sustainable alternatives!