10 Stylish Face Masks You Can Buy for Work
Here are effective and stylish face masks that help reduce the spread of Covid-19 if you are returning to work.
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Best face masks to wear at work
As the weather gets hotter, states ease restrictions, and people return to work, it can be tempting to think that the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic has passed. However, that’s not the case—some states are seeing spikes in activity and the world recently saw it’s largest single-day increase in Covid-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization.
Summer’s high temperatures may not be enough to curtail the pandemic, according to a May 2020 study (yet to be peer-reviewed) from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Harvard experts say the fall season could yield an uptick similar to what the U.S. saw in the spring. All that is to say that if you’re returning to your workplace, you still need to wear a face mask (and practice social distancing, when possible).
“It’s important to remember that you are wearing a mask to protect others from your respiratory droplets in case you happen to be a carrier of Covid-19,” explains Nate Favini, MD, medical lead at the at-home primary care company Forward. And in order to provide this protection, the mask needs to fit properly. “The most important thing is to buy a mask that will cover your nose and mouth,” says Michael Bell, MD, deputy director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “You don’t want big gaps on the sides. If there are gaps you’ll be breathing around the mask and not through it, which doesn’t add any value. So make sure the mask fits close to the sides of your face.”
While fit is most important when it comes to stopping the spread, many Americans work jobs with dress codes and/or want to look professional in the workplace, which now includes face masks. Here are 10 stylish face masks for the workplace. (And here are tips on how to avoid catching Covid-19 at the office.)
TheCottonMaskCompany Patterned Cotton Face Mask
The face coverings from TheCottonMaskCompany come in delicate patterns that aren’t too flashy. Instead of using ear loops, the straps wrap around the back of the head and the neck, which is perfect for work for two reasons: One, if you’re in your office by yourself you can remove the top strap and let the mask hang around your neck to put back on easily when you’re around others. And two, the absence of ear loops makes this mask accessible and comfortable for anyone who uses hearing aids or wears a headset all day. Here are some face mask accessories that make wearing a mask comfortable and stylish.
BeMine Face Mask with Filter Pocket
BeMine masks, made by a small family business, have two layers of 100% cotton and a pocket for a removable filter. Plus, they come in pretty patterns that can conform to any dress code: Tiny polka dots and paisley for more formal offices and flowers and stars for more casual ones. (Here’s what doctors need you to know about coronavirus face masks.)
Lucky Brand 5 Pack Pleated Cotton Face Mask
$25 for five
Lucky Brand brings its classic denim aesthetic to these masks, perfect for the casual workplace. The tie-able straps make the fit customizable, allowing you to tie them into ear loops or around the back of your head. And for every five-pack of masks that Lucky Brand sells, they are donating five masks to their homeless and low-income neighbors in Los Angeles through community organizations. (If you want to fully customize your face covering, check out the best places to get personalized face masks.)
Emilia George 100% Sustainable Face Masks
“A great neutral for all outfits, now that masks are becoming a fashion item,” writes one online reviewer of these soft and comfortable cotton face coverings. Available in muted, professional colors like blush, baby blue, and grey, they even have a flexible nose bridge to ensure that the mask fits snugly over the nose and to prevent glasses from fogging. (Here are tips to extend the life of your glasses.)
SolForis Fashion Face Mask
For those who want to make a true fashion statement with their face covering, these chiffon scarves come in 22 different colors and patterns. The ear straps have an adjustable toggle with which to adjust the fit and the bottom half of the scarf can be tied loosely around the neck or draped comfortably over the shoulders.
For the wearer who wants to mix up their colors and patterns without investing in too many masks, these from OOMLA will fit the bill. Made with cotton, modal, and spandex for maximum comfort and a polyester filter layer to further prevent the spread of respiratory particles, these masks are reversible, with a print on one side and a solid color on the other. Just be sure to stick to one side all day and then wash the masks before flipping to the other.
Grace Eleyae GE Face Mask
If you have a glamorous streak, check out these masks from the protective hair accessory company Grace Eleyae. They’re lined with satin to be gentle on your skin and designed with the company’s colorful Ankara prints, yet they are still machine washable and dryer safe. “It’s like an extra accessory that can really be sharp if it matches your outfits,” says one online reviewer.
ililily Cotton Double Layer Patterned Face Cover
Simple, pretty, and super comfortable, these cotton masks have expanding pleats to allow space for breathing while also remaining snug on the face. The ear loops are also cotton and have adjustable toggles for tightening. “The actual shape and cut of the mask are good, it’s not just a plain thin fabric sheet,” says a five-star reviewer. “And the vibrancy of the colors were exactly as advertised.”
BeatBasic Cotton Face Cover
No matter what you do or where you work, black is always in style—and the same holds true for face masks. This black reusable cotton face mask has an adjustable nose bridge wire to prevent glasses fogging and has earned over 400 five-star reviews for its softness and comfort. (Also, check out the best face masks to buy for exercise.)
Vera Bradley Cotton Face Mask
Most women will recognize Vera Bradley’s iconic prints, which have adorned purses, tote bags, backpacks, and duffels for decades. Customers can choose their favorite pattern on a 100% cotton mask and Vera Bradley will donate 5% of their net sales of masks to the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses. (Next, read how to make your own face mask for Covid-19 protection.)
- MIT Sloan School of Management: "Summer forecast for COVID-19: Some relief, but not enough"
- American Medical Association: "Harvard epidemiologist: Beware COVID-19's second wave this fall"
- Nate Favini, MD, medical lead at the at-home primary care company Forward
- Michael Bell, MD, deputy director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention