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The Carry-On Edit: Face Masks

Keys, check. Bank card, check. Phone, check. Face mask… (new) check. Face coverings have quickly become the little piece of fabric that we can’t leave the house without.

While medical-grade masks serve a major purpose, they don’t rank highly on the style barometer. If you’re someone that sees the now ubiquitous face covering as an extension of your outfit, the fashion industry has come up with a solution… Think chic masks (they do exist) in comfortable fabrics and catwalk-ready prints that feel more like a must-have accessory. Plus, they’re washable and reusable making them infinitely kinder to the environment.

From Wolford’s sleek black number to Amir Slama’s mask-drobe of graphic prints, there’s now a face covering to suit every aesthetic on your travels and beyond.

These are the face coverings that we’re coveting.

N.B. These non-medical facial coverings may be stylish but they don’t protect you from any virus or airborne diseases. They are designed to reduce the transmission of vapour droplets and help protect others.


THE PRINT ONE

If prints are high on your mask agenda, treat your face to Lisa King’s handmade silk face coverings. In versatile, go-with-anything tones like navy, black, grey and deep red, they’re exactly the kind of graphic prints you’d want on a dress. Designed for a snug fit with double layered 100% silk and adjustable ties, the mask’s inner pocket has been cleverly designed to hold a disposable filter. It also comes in a chic velvet pouch to keep your mask clean when you’re on-the-go. With signature prints available in limited quantities (we love the origami bird print), you’re unlikely to find yourself mask twinning with anyone at the supermarket checkout. 

THE CLASSIC ONE

Like the LBD of the face coverings world, Wolford’s classic mask is a no-brainer if black is your go-to colour. Just like their famed-for underwear and tights, the brand has designed a mask with a sculpted silhouette for a super-comfortable fit. Cut from light and soft double-faced neoprene, it’s breathable and water-repellent, plus it’s also UV-treated for sterilisation before it's packaged if you’re being super-cautious. Customise the nose wiring and elasticated straps to get the fit just right and you’ll wear this LBM (Little Black Mask) again and again. 

 

THE CARNIVAL ONE

For the brightest, boldest face masks in town, check out Amir Slama. The Brazilian fashion designer has created a huge array of face coverings in look-at-me fabrics. Expect pleated details and all-over prints in super-bright carnival colours. We love this geometric print set of four face coverings that give you everything from fuchsia pink stripes to slightly tamer monochrome gingham checks. Wear them with neutrals to make sure your mask is the main event. 

Think chic masks (they do exist) in comfortable fabrics and catwalk-ready prints that feel more like a must-have accessory. Plus, they’re washable and reusable making them infinitely kinder to the environment.

THE SILKY ONE

Known for their luxury eye masks, Slip has created a silk face covering that almost feels comfortable enough to sleep in. Made from 100% mulberry silk with a 100% cotton lining to help with breathability, it’s like the Rolls-Royce of face coverings. It even comes complete with 10 spare adjustable nose wires and two silicone stoppers (to adjust the ear loops) so you can customise the mask to your perfect fit. The Slip mask comes in dusty pink and black, but we love the subtle leopard print that’s more like a neutral. Just add matching pyjamas.

 

THE VARIETY ONE

Elevate your mask game with a trio of runway giants. The British Fashion Council are behind the three reusable face coverings and two protective pouches by three British designers with very different aesthetics: Julien Macdonald, RIXO and Liam Hodges. It means that you get a varied mask-drobe of designer prints but without the designer price tags. Comfort is key, too. Each face covering has been made from certified organic cotton sateen with two layers of fabric, a nose strip to create a snug fit around the nose and mouth, adjustable ear straps for comfort, and anti-fog fit for glasses.

 

THE GRAPHIC ONE

Meet Angelina Jolie’s designer face covering of choice… The actress was recently spotted out in Hollywood wearing a monochrome logo Off-White mask. Make like an A-lister with the label’s Diagonals face covering featuring the brand’s signature print. In stark black and white stripes, it’s like the streetwear anthesis to bright prints or chintzy floral face masks. For double the Diagonals impact, pair the mask with one of Off-White’s flap bags in the same iconic graphic print. 

 

THE HANDS-FREE ONE

If the constant action of ‘mask on, mask off’ isn’t working with your mojo, try a mask chain. Originally intended as sunglasses chains, Sunny Cords quickly worked out that their stylish chains double up as mask chains, aka the item we never knew we needed until right now. Wear them around your neck like a necklace so you can be hands-free when you’re in mask-wearing limboland. The pretty Tiny C mask chain comes in a lightweight, braided design and a variety of colourways. Coordinate it with your favourite new mask and prepare for the influx ‘where did you get that?’ questions.  


How to care for your face coverings

Wash and air-dry before first use. Always check your mask’s individual washing instructions first as cotton and silk fabrics may differ.

When you’re not wearing your mask, store safely in a protective pouch or try a mask chain.

If your mask is damp, hand wash it with soap/mild detergent or on a delicate machine wash.

Don’t tumble dry or dry clean and iron on a low setting. Always air-dry ready for your next wear.

Once you’ve found a mask you like, consider buying multiples so you can do wash and wear rotations.

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