If you’d said that this year surgical masks would be ‘in’ Anna Wintour would’ve laughed until her Chanel sunglasses fell off. But along with loo roll and industrial packets of pasta, they’re one of this season’s must-haves.
Yesterday the the government told us that we will have to wear face coverings in shops and public transport where social distancing isn’t possible. The London mayor had already said he wants us wearing them on the tube. There’s varied evidence around how helpful masks are, but the consensus is that even if they only help bring down contagion by 2-3% this is still a worthwhile reduction.
The Prime Minister has stressed that we should be wearing cloth style masks, leaving medical-grade masks to healthcare professionals, so here’s how to find a mask that makes you look stylish as well as safe.
London fashion label Florence Bridge was founded in 2013 and creates classic contemporary womenswear. And now masks.
Her unisex mask includes a cotton lining and front covering in red gingham seersucker cotton fabric. The straps can be tied, giving the wearer flexibility as well as safety. Profits from the mask will go to a charity that delivers groceries to UK hospital workers.
Masks: £12 (with a portion going to charity)
Lavender Hill Clothing
T-shirters to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, South West London’s Lavender Hill Clothing have turned their energies toward mask making. Their fit for a princess range of simple masks, made by their existing suppliers not only are a great way to look fashionable while staying safe, they also do valuable work.
The brand support the Katherine Low Settlement with every sale, a charity helping children, young people, the elderly, women and refugee communities in Battersea.
Masks: £20 for three
Le Colonel Moutarde
It was Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the sewing machine… The French brand is normally associated with natty ties and braces, Liberty print pocket squares and stylish showrooms in London and Paris.
But like so many of us, they’ve had to pivot and it was only natural to turn to face-masks. All hand-sewn in Lille, the brand are bringing la mode pandémie to London.
Masks: €36 for three
North London boutique Plümo are the place to head for trendy clothes and household bits-and-bobs. And they’ve recently commissioned a line of face masks.
Made from 4 layers of organic linen they’re breathable, light and can be popped in the washing machine between wears.
Each sale also includes a donation to ‘Masks 4 Heroes’, a crowdfunder that provides PPE to NHS frontline staff.
Masks: £10 each
If anyone knows about snug fits it’s going to be tights maker Elle, so who better to turn their attention to making face masks? Working on a not-for-profit basis, Elle have transitioned to a ‘wartime’ footing to create masks.
The washable masks come free with tights, or can be bought in a pack of five.
Masks: 5 for £14.99
Something of a departure from her usual fare, designing clothing for London Fashion Week, groundbreaking designer Edeline Lee has swapped haute couture for lowly PPE.
The designer’s simple face mask is light and very breathable. Along with an army of volunteers she’s well on the way to donating a target of 20,000 to the NHS and uses all the profit from selling masks to create more for the NHS.
Masks: £40 for three
Pretty colours and with an earloop design, the prints are bold and the masks are a comfy fit.
They come in packs of three with various funky patterns available, none of them particularly muted!
Masks: £24.99 (for three)