We are back with a quick update and then a post that is something of a departure from standard fare, our look at fashion’s take on face masks.
The update involves the commemoration of VJ Day 75 on Saturday, marking the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War seventy-five years ago.
While observances have been scaled back, the royal family will lead events marking the 75th-anniversary. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a national service of remembrance honoring Commonwealth and Allied Forces at the National Memorial Arboretum. That service will include two minutes of silence at 11am local time (6am EDT) to remember those who died. Prince William will pay tribute to veterans as part of a special BBC One program Saturday night. There will also be Red Arrow flypasts in several locations, including Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, and then London.
I don’t expect to see the Duchess at any of the events, but thought readers might want information about the observations. There is more at the Royal British Legion site, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the National Memorial Arboretum, and the VJ Day 75 pages. (In the US the day is marked on September 2, commemorating the date formal surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.)
Now for our look at face masks.
I will admit to not having a post about “stylish face masks” in my 2020 day planner.
But here we are. For many, a mask is a once-in-a-while issue, perhaps needed a couple of times a week when running errands. For others, it has become a five-days-a-week-necessity that some would like to coordinate with their wardrobe, or at the least, be ‘fashionable.’ Why not have some fun with masks if you can, and it’s something you would enjoy?
Here are thoughts on masks and fashion from Pulitzer Prize-winning author and fashion critic Robin Givhan, writing about them in a May Washington Post story:
…their evolution is the perfect encapsulation of how much life has changed in a blink of an eye — and how challenging, both intellectually and emotionally, it will be for us to go forward.
Fashion finds a way — without advertising, influencers or the red carpet. Tiny design houses and modestly sized brands are all producing masks that are more pleasing to the eye. The new generation of masks look intentional.
It’s no small thing that fashion has gotten hold of masks. The industry has taken liberty in smoothing their edges and heightening their flavor. We can stand in solidarity with our neighbors. But we can remain individuals, too.
There is no shortage of photos showing royals wearing face coverings. Below (from L to R), Belgium’s Princess Elenore, Queen Mathilde, King Philippe, and Princess Elisabeth marking Belgium’s National Day in July.
And here is Spain’s royal family (from l to r), Princesa Leonor, Queen Letizia, Infanta Sofia, and King Felipe VI as they visited a Socio-Educational center yesterday in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (Princess Sofia is using a crutch because of a tumble she took at the family’s home.)
Some match their masks to their ensembles. Here you Queen Mathilde wearing a mask that matches her evening gown as she and King Philippe (C) attend a concert in July.
Before browsing some of the options available, a couple of tips:
- Look at how many layers are offered: some come with two layers, some with three.
- Check the fabric content. Many are 100% cotton, but a few are poly or viscose with cotton linings. The part that will be next to your face is important, as will the durability. Are the masks machine-washable? Hand-washable?
- I decided to stick to brands the Duchess has worn, followed by other British brands, and designs I thought you would find interesting and/or reasonably priced, or those including a charitable donation. In some cases, the price essentially covers a donation. I tried to stay away from designer masks without a charitable component. (For example, there is one Erdem design shown in the post that includes a charitable element. Today Erdem announced it is selling several new designs, but those masks are $65 and I don’t see any donation information, so I did not include those pieces.)
- Most importantly, remember these are not replacements for medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment.
That mask is by Amaia Kids, a boutique label whose designs the Cambridge children have all worn. It is made with a Liberty print called Wiltshire Floral.
Not only did Kate wearing the mask boost sales for Amaia Kids, but it also increased online searches for similar products. More from The Guardian’s story:
The £15 mask, from the London-based childrenswear brand Amaia, swiftly sold out, while the digital fashion aggregator Lyst reported a 185% spike in searches for “floral”, “Liberty print” and “ditsy print” face masks within 24 hours.
The cheering pink and cream face covering seemed carefully chosen, its delicate Liberty floral pattern recalling 1940s tea dresses, cucumber sandwiches and bunting.
Amaia notes its workshops were busy during the lockdown making masks for hospitals in Spain so, the retailer “…decided to use all these experiences to design a small collection of beautiful cotton wearable masks.” The masks are offered in both children’s sizes and adult sizes and are made of a double layer of 100% cotton with an additional layer of 40gr TNT filter. Below, two Amaia styles made using Liberty prints.
The retailer also offers other prints.
All masks are £15 (roughly $20, with shipping to the US/CAN $20), and 30% of proceeds from mask sales go to NHS Charities Together.
With thanks to Megan for her email with this information, the mask is available at Fiona Clare (£48, about $63). The piece is made in London with Liberty silk and has a detachable and washable innermost layer. A donation from the sale of each face covering will be made to the National Literacy Trust, of which The Duchess of Cornwall is the Trust’s royal patron.
The pattern is Liberty’s Juno Blue, described as “a smoothly interlocking design of small peacock feathers – a motif commonly associated with the Aesthetic art and design movement, and an iconic symbol of Liberty London.” The fabric is available in silk chiffon (£25.95 per metre) and also in Lilestone Wool (£30 per metre), a lightweight yet warm material.
Long a fan and user of Liberty prints, that was one of the first places I looked for masks when thinking about purchasing some for myself. The fabrics, known for their heavy color saturation, floral motifs and other intricate designs, are ideal for apparel/accessories and home decor. Liberty London’s famed Tana Lawn™ cotton fabric is terrific for this purpose, as it is lightweight and perfect for something like a multilayered mask.
The retailer offers a set of five masks in Tana Lawn™ (£40, $54).
For each set of coverings sold, Liberty donates one covering to a charity.
If you are looking for a Liberty print dress and matching mask, O Pioneers, a British boutique brand specializing in pieces made by local seamstresses in heritage fabrics, offers a couple of choices.
O Pioneers dresses are made in Liberty prints, and the company is using the fabric left after dresses are cut to make masks. 20% of mask sales are donated to the Intensive Care Society in the UK.
The masks (£25, shipping info here) the interior and lining layers are made of cotton poplin.
Kate has worn multiple pieces by Brora. The retailer is doing face masks in Liberty prints and donating proceeds to different charities, with fabrics selected that match pieces in the Autumn collection.
Through mask sales, the retailer has donated more than £100,000 to NHS Charities Together, plus £75,000 to smaller charities picked by the Brora team. The masks (£19 on the UK site, $39 on the US site, with shipping info here) are made of two outer layers of cotton Liberty fabric and a middle layer of nonwoven TNT fabric.
Notable names wearing the Brora masks include Lady Amelia Windsor and Helena Bonham Carter. Read all about Brora’s masks, their origins, and the charities supported through mask sales by clicking here.
For those of us not in a position to order matching pieces, or not crazy about a matchy-matchy look, there are lots of options. If you’re fond of Liberty prints, you can order material directly from the company, or you can cruise other outlets, like etsy. Patterns and directions for making masks are available at lots of places, including Joann, Crafty Daily (video), and the CDC. Below, a grab bag of Liberty prints cut to 5″ squares from etsy seller Mad for Fabric ($15.50).
Or you could simply order masks made of the material via etsy and other outlets. Below, Liberty styles available from Oh My Stars Handmade in Large Adult, Adult, Teen, Child, and Toddler sizes. On the left, Multicolor Florals ($20); on the right, Blue Florals ($20).
These two-layer masks are by Little Flower Fabric ($11).
If looking for something other than floral designs, there are plenty of options. British retailer Mulberry designed one that is part of a set put together as a fundraiser with the British Fashion Council and Bags of Ethics. The fundraising goal is £1 million, with 100% of sale profits being split between NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, and Wings of Hope Children’s Charity.
The set is available at John Lewis (£15), Boots (£15), and other outlets.
Other Kate brands offering face coverings include Suzannah, with the Face Covering in Peruvian Lily seen below left ($33), and Erdem, with the Meadow Teal Face Mask ($50) shown below right made with fabric leftover from the Fall 2020 collection.
Suzannah is donating 50% of all profits from each face mask sale to the Emergency Designer Network, using “local production to support hospital stocks of key garments such as scrubs.” At Erdem, 100% of net profits from this limited edition mask will be donated to the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal. You may remember the Duke and Duchess at the launch of the National Emergencies Trust last November.
The Trust notes on its site that “Approximately 45% of donations to the Coronavirus Appeal have come from companies, 22% from charitable trusts, 23% from the government and 10% from the public. The collective generosity has been astounding.”
Tory Burch, whose designs the Duchess has often worn, offers two different sets for preordering, with stylish prints in each set.
The Printed Face Masks Set of 5 ($35) come with five masks per set, all made from two layers of lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric. The brand explains that “The price includes our cost to produce and a $10 donation that will be divided between two organizations. $5 will be donated to International Medical Corps working to stop the spread of COVID-19…..and $5 will be donated to the Tory Burch Foundation…with a maximum donation of $500,000 to each organization.”
Another UK retailer, Boden, is carrying face masks.
The sets are made up of a “mystery mix” of prints created using the ends of fabric rolls.
Lele Sadoughi, whose headband Kate is believed to wear, is offering a set of Three Cloud Face Masks ($40) for preordering.
The masks are crafted of soft cotton voile that is hand-embellished with simulated pearls, floral embroidery, and gold stars.
We show the three-pack at Bloomingdale’s.
Lele Sadoughi also does children’s masks. We show the 3-Piece Cotton Face Mask Set ($40). For every mask sold, the brand donates a headband designed to provide comfort to healthcare workers when wearing medical masks.
The Vampire’s Wife, who made the green metallic dress worn by the Duchess in Dublin, is offering a silk style now available for preordering ($51). The mask comes with a coordinating drawstring bag.
The Vampire’s Wife says they will “be donating a percentage of proceeds to charities selected by THE VAMPIRE’S WIFE community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This range of charities supports healthcare workers, food banks, shelters, research, and children’s foundations.”
Many royal watchers love a good tartan, and there is no shortage of masks in those fabrics. Below, two styles from Maskeos by Ligo on etsy, handmade in London.
There are oodles of tartan masks available on etsy, shipping from the US, Canada, Scotland, London, and other locales. Another good source, the Scotland Shop, also has quite a few options available ($32.25, shipping in the UK starts at £5, US/CAN delivery starts at £14.)
If searching for more fashion-forward designs, Alice and Olivia offer several designs, including a leopard print, a botanical design, or a bold stripe (all $12.95). The brand says that for every mask sold, $1 is donated to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
As you might anticipate, there are plenty of designs for dressier occasions. Nordstrom has quite a selection of masks, and the Silk Pleated Face Covering Set ($40) might work for more formal occasions.
The masks are 100% silk with a 100% cotton lining. Below, three Pleated Silk Charmeuse ($40) designs that are reversible and also offered at Nordstrom.
Nordstrom Rack offers a sizable selection of masks at pocketbook-friendly prices. Below, the Social Print Masks Set of 4 ($14.97). The set includes four masks with outer and middle layers in polyester and 100% cotton linings. One offers the “If you can read this you’re too close” message, while another says, “Love ya but I’m distancing.”
For those preferring a more tailored style, Ralph Lauren will be offering two types of masks this fall, a cloth style in multiple prints with “80% filtration” and another that is described as a “high filtration” design. Below, some of the fabrics shown for the cloth style, in prints you would expect from this brand: oxford cloth, madras, and seersucker.
You can sign up for email notification when these are available. The brand notes that “All profits* from the sale of every mask will be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, powered by the UN Foundation.”
The brand also has a set of two seersucker styles ($18).
The retailer notes, “Together, J.Crew and Madewell have also made a donation to supply 75,000 single-use masks to Montefiore Health System hospitals in New York.”
For each pack sold, Ben Sherman will donate a pack of face masks to healthcare workers, volunteer organizations, and essential workers.
The Savile Row Company also carries masks in classic cotton oxford designs. Below left, the Blue/Yellow Stripe Oxford Face Mask ($12), and on the right, the Navy/White Oxford Face Mask ($12, shipping info here). Both are made with a 100% cotton outer layer and lining.
ASOS has you covered if you want to match your mask and a scrunchie (who knew?!), with multiple sets available. Below left and center, the Palm Print Face Covering with Pouch and Scrunchie ($19); on the right, the Blue Floral Face Covering with Pouch and Scrunchie ($19).
ASOS has lots of multi-pack sets. On the left, the Miss Selfridge Black Gingham 2-Pack ($16); on the right, the 3-Pack in Black with Placed Print ($23). It looks like ASOS is donating $1 for almost all masks sales to Oxfam’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Appeal.
ASOS currently offers more than 200 styles and multi-packs you can view by clicking here.
Target has a solid selection of face coverings. On the left, selections from the Women’s Single Pack Fabric Face Mask ($2) offerings, with two layers of 100% cotton fabric and a filter pocket, from the retailer’s Universal Threads house label. On the right, the Kids 2-Pack Cloth Face Masks ($4) from the retailer’s Cat and Jack label.
You can browse Target’s full selection of masks here.
Wearing your favorite work of art isn’t out of the question. Museums and galleries are making this possible in many markets. Below, the UK’s National Gallery Shop offers detail from Bosschaert’s A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase in a Unisex Face Mask (£9.50), as well as a Sunflowers Face Mask (£9.50, with shipping info here) featuring Van Gogh’s art.
Here are three more carried by the Detroit Institute of Arts. From left to right: a design inspired by Piet Mondrian; Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh; the Scream by Edvard Munch (a personal fave).
The masks ($24.95) feature 100% cotton interior layers with a pocket for inserting a filter. Many of these are sold out right now, but the DIA has been good about restocking them.
Fine Art America offers masks featuring the work of independent artists. From left to right: the 27 Birds Face Mask ($13.50) by Jennifer Lommers; in the center, the Circle Motif 117 Mask ($13.00) by John Metcalf; on the right, Colorful Patchwork 2 ($14) by Linda Woods.
Red Bubble also carries quite a few royal-related masks, including the cheeky Corgi Love from the UK Mask ($11.45) and one with what seems a reasonable request, “Treat Me as You Would the Queen” ($13.01).
And our final two offerings, the Queen 3-Ply Cotton Face Cover ($15) as offered by etsy seller Into the Eye Merch; on the right, the Queening Designer Face Mask ($16.99) featuring images of HM with seven layers of material, as sold by Face Mask Queen on etsy.
A gentle reminder, this is not the place for debate about face mask policies or politics. Today’s post is in response to requests and inquiries I have received and comments left on a recent post when I asked about the desire (or lack thereof) for a post covering the topic. There is no one who loves to put together a shopping post than yours truly, but this is one I would rather not have dealt with. At all. Ever. And I know you feel the same way. But, as said above, here we are.
Having said that, do let me know if there are fab pieces I missed or good resources for those wanting to make their own. And please let us know if you have come up with any special tips on wearing masks, particularly for those in them for 8, 9, 10 hours a day, or more.
- Many thanks to Keturah, who has made several hundred masks for donations. She recommends this video from Craft Passion as a tutorial/pattern, and her comment has great specifics on fabric and linings.
- Thanks also to Bonnie for the tip she shared in her comment: she uses folded coffee pot filters in between the layers in masks she makes. Bonnie notes, “Not sure if a clinical trial would prove this effective, but it makes me feel more secure doing it.”
Also today, news from Cornelia James, they now offer gloves made with an environmentally sustainable material that has proven effective in protecting against COVID-19. The Royal Warrant Holder has partnered with HeiQ, makers of the antiviral and antibacterial textile treatment. More from Cornelia James’ information page on the treated fabric:
HeiQ Viroblock has been shown by the Doherty Institute of Melbourne, Australia, to reduce the presence of the Sendai virus on fabric by 99.99% within 2 minutes, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus on fabric by 99.99% within 30 minutes.
The gloves are crafted of Supima Cotton from Switzerland. They are machine washable, and the HeiQ Viroblock treatment will remain effective for 30 washes at 60°C (140°F).
Apologies for such a lengthy post – once I started really cruising the face mask offerings I kept finding more I wanted to include!