Protect My Style

May 21, 2020

Let me introduce you to the face mask, once known mostly as protection from fumes, smoke and germs. This unassuming, disposable item is now a hip-as-heck fashion staple.

Go online and soak up the different patterns and designs cropping up everywhere. You can secure one for several hundred dollars or hook yourself up with one on eBay for less than $10. Feeling philanthropic? There is a mask for you too. Some companies are offering BOGO specials – that’s where you buy one and they give one to a medical professional or help out someone in an underserved community. The normalization and evolution of protective face coverings will be an ongoing trend for a good long while.

I’m humbled by how one 12-inch piece of material can make such a difference. Our mask is now an official part of our wardrobe. Its job is to save lives or to add some joy to an otherwise sobering situation. It may be small in stature, but the face mask is having a big moment. I am thinking that it could be a moment that lasts at least a year.

A face mask is a good way to express yourself. Spread a bit of happiness or whimsy without even opening your mouth. It is the new statement piece that will end up complementing your neck-up style. Your face mask can be a whole mood if you want it to. As we cautiously move outside of our homes and re-image our old routines, we will look at how our protective coverings can be both functional and fashionable. Are we going to use them to make a political statement or are we going to be matchy-matchy? There are so many options out there that we’ll be able to do them all.

I recently participated in a trend webinar that discussed how we can prepare ourselves for our post-COVID lives. We will want to regain our social connections and be together with friends and family (the family we weren’t quarantined with). The presenters expect that as we slowly emerge out of our self-contained lives, we will want our looks to be more tailored and put together.


When you are masked up, we can’t see most of your face. Are you smiling? We won’t know unless you tell us or if you emote by way of the mask you have on. The mask may not only match your clothing choices, it could also match your mood. It will be an extension of the expression that you want to share at a certain moment in time.


The trend will be neck-up styling. Our outfits will still center around our core basics of grays, blacks or other neutrals, but we should start to look for more intentional color pops to lead the way in our clothing choices. We could very well see those pops coming from our faces! This pop from a mask can scream “Joy!” or “Hope!” or whatever you want your message to be. It will feel like a butterfly coming out of its chrysalis. Which really, we are all doing in one way or another.

Masks will accentuate your look-at-me earrings and coiffed or adorned hair (once all barber and beauty shops reopen). And to add to the look, take a cue from Dr. Deborah Birx on the U.S. Coronavirus Response Team, who has been slaying the scarves scene. She is on point.

SanMar has just added face coverings like face masks and gaiters to our product offering. You can cheer on your favorite team, represent a brand or make your own a statement with the brilliant array of colors that are available.

It is weird that we have lost some of our canvas for showing our fashion sense. A few months ago, I was talking about styling from the waist up for those Zoom meetings and today I am only concentrating on the neck up. There will be a day sometime in the future when our entire look will come together and it will be awesome. Keep staying safe and healthy. I hope you can keep a smile on your face, even if it is drawn on the outside of your protective mask. See you next month.