Here’s my fashion tip of the season: Wear a damn mask.
Yes, I’m being harsh. Why? Because I live in a region where masks are mandatory and I support that decision by our local government. If you want to debate the merits of going maskless, please don’t bother. I will remove your comment. I already know too many people who have had to deal with the long term effects of COVID-19 and several of my friends have lost family members to the virus.
There are three of us living in this big, old house and we each have our own stash of masks. The first ones my husband and I bought were for the wildfires two years ago. My son bought his when he was living in a part of Europe that has a lot of pollution in the winter because people in that area still burn coal for heat. Those masks all have exhalation valves, which are currently not allowed in many places as they only protect the wearer, not others.
Multi-layer cloth masks have shown to be helpful in slowing the spread of the virus. Maybe you’ve made some for your family and friends, or had family and friends make some for you. It helps to have an assortment that fit comfortably so you can wash them frequently and always have one ready to go.
Our favorite masks are the ones from Aizenkobo in Kyoto, Japan. The outer fabric is dyed with natural indigo, and the inner fabric is a crisp, clean white cotton.
The summer mask is thinner along the top third so you can breathe more comfortably through your nose on a hot day.
The winter mask is thicker overall and has the added benefit of keeping your face warm and out of the wind on cold days.
They come with a lot of extra elastic cording to wrap around your ears, but we find they fit more comfortably when we untie the cords and retie them to fit around the head instead.
My husband prefers to hand wash his and allow them to air dry, but I toss mine in the laundry to machine wash and dry. Over time his have remained almost new-looking while mine have softened and lost that sharp look they had at first. I don’t mind.
We have a limited supply of these masks in Small, Medium, and Large sizes. Which one do you need? Small fits children, Medium fits an average size face (I guess as a middle aged woman I’m average?), and Large is good for a man like my husband, who has a broader jaw and short beard.
These masks are very high quality in both materials and construction, designed to last a long time. I learned more about how well they are made when I replaced the nose bar in my husband’s mask recently (it wasn’t broken, he just wanted something stronger). I had to unpick two different seams to get in there, which was more effort than I had anticipated!
They are more expensive than most masks on the market, and we feel they are worth it. Each one has a different pattern on it, from crisscrossed pin tucks, to tidy grid pin tucks, to plain. They are each one of a kind.