At this point in the pandemic, we all know that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and those around you. The CDC has been recommending masks since March and even though not all states make masks a requirement for public spaces, we know that they can and do save lives. As COVID-19 continues to rage on, we’ve had to find our new normal and that includes wearing a mask just about everywhere, including formal events.
Although the number one priority for masks should be safety, which means wearing a mask that includes two or more layers of fabric, an adjustable nose piece, a close-fit and a pocket for a disposable filter, most of us would also like a mask that looks good. It has to fit well, be comfortable enough to be worn for extended periods, (hopefully) avoid the dreaded fog-up for glasses wearers, and if it has a cool pattern, even better! But what about when it’s time to attend a socially distanced wedding, holiday party, work event, or other formal occasions that feels like an inappropriate place to wear your mask with Scooby Doo’s face on it? Thankfully for those times, there are many formal mask options available.
We’ve selected some of our favorite formal masks that will look great at any event and keep you safe. Plus, many of the masks include a spot for a filter and are easy to wash, which means you can save them for special occasions or add a bit of flair to your daily outfit. It’s a pandemic. Find (safe) fun where you can.
1. Love II Adult Reversible Silk Face Mask
For face masks that feature a bold print but are still appropriate to wear in formal situations, we love the selection from L. Erickson. Their washable silk masks are double-sided, giving customers two beautiful and colorful masks in one. Customers can choose from a variety of prints, including tartan, polka dots, plaid and gingham. The silk masks are made in the US and pleated for a more comfortable fit. We also like that they are finished with adjustable elastic ear loops.
2. Denim Chambray Mask & Filter Set from Hickey Freeman
INCLUDES MATCHING CONNECTOR BAND
Dress shirt maker Hickey Freeman is one of the many fashion lines that pivoted during the pandemic and found inventive ways to help make masks accessible. The company uses excess fabric left from their shirts to create business casual masks that are not only ideal for formal situations, they are also comfortable to wear for extended periods. Available in a variety of prints and patterns, each mask comes with a built-in metal nose bridge for a comfortable and secure fit. Each mask also includes a matching connector band that makes them a great option for users who don’t like the feel of elastic ear loops. The 100 percent Egyptian cotton masks come with five SMS filters to make it easy for users to begin wearing their mask right away.
3. Bridal Masks by Batik Batique
BEST FOR WEDDINGS
Love in the time of COVID looks a little different and that means face masks at weddings. Most brides and grooms have been forced to drastically scale back their special day, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still look their best. Batik Batique offers a variety of silk and lace masks designed specifically for weddings. Available to be purchased separately or as a set to ensure the happy couple match, customers can choose from bold prints, lace and more. Each mask comes with a filter and unlike wedding dresses, the masks can be worn again with a new filter. We also like that the company sells matching silk bags for the masks, giving the couple a place to store their masks that won’t look like an eyesore in photos.
4. Irish Tweed Face Mask
BEST WOOL OPTION
For a classic formal mask that combines tradition with a modern twist, we like the wool masks from Olann Masks. The salt and pepper tweed masks are made in Donegal, Ireland and feature the Donegal handwoven tweed that is famous around the world for its bright flecks of color woven throughout. Perfect for pairing with a tweed coat or your favorite smart sweater, the mask has small darts fitted around the nose and chin area for a comfortable fit and an elastic cord with a clear adjustable toggle helps users create a secure seal. The outer wool layer is resistant to wind and water, making this a great mask to wear outdoors with a formal jacket. We also like that the mask has a 100 percent cotton inner layer, which is soft and breathable.
Image courtesy of Etsy
5. Faux Leather Facemask by JV Magic Creations
BEST LEATHER LOOK
A great leather jacket is one of the few fashion pieces that never go out of style. It’s just as cool now as it was in the 1950s and it looks great with jeans or over a ball gown. Ditto on leather masks. JV Magic Creations are proving that you can still feel cool even in the middle of the pandemic with their faux-leather face mask. The water-resistant mask comes with a filter pocket, two interior layers of cotton and yes, it is washable. Looking cool is great but being clean in 2020 is even cooler.
6. Men’s Bling Sequin Glitter Cotton Face Mask
BEST PARTY MASK
For a face mask that stands out in the crowd but is still formal enough to wear to a black-tie event, we like the Men’s Bling Sequin Glitter Cotton Face Mask. The all-black sequin face mask offers a breathable and stylish solution to adding a pop of PPE pizzazz to any outfit. The reusable and washable mask comes with a filter pocket and one free filter. Made with two layers of protection, the sleek mask fits comfortably on the face and includes elastic ear loops with a rubber stop for a more customized fit.
7. Black Damask Cotton Mask
BEST FOR BLACK TIE EVENTS
Although most events have been canceled for the foreseeable future, there are still some gatherings where you need a mask that won’t look out of place with formalwear. For those instances, we like the Black Damask Cotton Mask from Bella Harlow Designs. The lightweight, double-layer, 100 percent cotton mask has a muslin lining that makes it comfortable to wear for extended periods. Handmade in the US, the breathable mask features an aluminum metal nose plate and has a pocket ready for filters. The mask is available in matching designs in kids’, women’s and men’s sizes, making this a great option for formal holiday parties and other family events.
8. Swarovski Crystal Skull Face Mask by Sade New York
For an event that is worthy of Swarovski crystals, we have the mask set for you. Sade New York has designed a stunning mask, tie and pocket square set that features Swarovski crystals in the shape of skulls. Perfect for socially distanced New Year’s Eve parties or weddings, the set can be bought together. Likewise, you can purchase just the mask separately. The handsewn mask includes a bendable nose wire for a customized fit and adjustable elastic ear closures. A pocket for filters also makes it easy to safely reuse the mask. If the Swarovski skull crystals are a bit too much for your event, Sade New York offers several sets of masks with matching ties that are perfect for formal events.
9. Silky Mask Set by 8 Other Reasons
BEST FOR COUPLES
If you’re part of a couple that likes to coordinate outfits, we have the mask set for you. Eight Other Reasons have created a set of three formal masks in coordinating colors that make it easy for a couple or a group of family or friends to coordinate while still being safe at formal events. A great option for events where there will be photos taken or anytime you want to keep your clique looking fresh, the set of three masks make it easy for everyone to make a statement (collectively). The exterior of the masks is made from 100 percent silk and the interior is a blend of silk and spandex for a comfortable fit. The masks are finished with semi-stretch ear loops and adjustable toggles.
10. Johanna Ortiz Exclusive Kate Is Wearing Satin-Lined Silk Charmeuse Face Mask
BEST WOMEN’S MASK
In the time of COVID, nothing detracts from a stunning gown or chic suit like a boring face mask. That’s why we like the new Exclusive Kate Is Wearing Satin-Lined Silk Charmeuse Face Mask from designer Johanna Ortiz. Set to drop at the end of December, this formal mask is cut from soft silk charmeuse, which feels like a pillow against sensitive skin. The satin lining has anti-fluid and anti-bacterial technology and the mask is finished with a metal nose wire and dainty elastic straps for a snug fit. When it’s time to remove the mask and enjoy your meal, the mask will stay close by thanks to a delicate gold chain. Available in four jewel-tone colors, the satin mask makes it possible to be chic and safe at the same time.