Since masks are now on the list of daily essentials we grab before we leave the house, they are becoming just as much of a fashion item as your go-to pair of leggings. From dainty floral designs to fun masks that call for some childhood nostalgia, masks are no longer just a preventative measure, they are a means of self-expression. With this in mind, it makes sense that the latest style trend taking over Instagram is face mask accessories.
You read that right.
From influencers to jewelry designers, people are looking for more unique ways to make wearing a mask work for them by adding chains, embellishments, strings and even personal touches to their fabric masks. One influencer, Lara Eurdolian of Pretty Connected, even launched her own line of mask straps.
These face mask chains and lanyards are meant to be more than just a decorative statement, according to one Etsy shop owner, whose face mask chains are current bestsellers.
"I started to make the chains after noticing that people don’t know where to put their masks when they take it off, to eat or drink, to breathe out in the open, when they get in their cars, et cetera," Rocio Biosca, owner of Etsy shop FireflyFeelingBright, told Shop TODAY. "Some people would just hang their face mask on their ear, but that is very uncomfortable, and if you place it on a table or on any surface, it could easily become contaminated."
While accessories like these are intended to make mask wearing a more convenient experience in every kind of setting, experts say this new "fashion trend" can also be encouraging.
"I’m in favor of any accessory that makes a mask more comfortable or appealing to wear," Daniel Morgan, M.D., a professor of epidemiology and public health and infectious disease at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told Shop TODAY. "It will encourage people to wear their masks for longer periods of time and help prevent the spread of infection."
However, Morgan says that the chain (or any accessory used) should not modify or alter the function of the mask. While lightweight chains and decorative overlays are fine to use as an accessory, it is important to keep in mind the actual purpose of the mask. "To have any benefit, masks require a material to serve as a filter — such as cloth — that completely covers the nose and mouth," he explained.
Dr. Ruth Bush, a vascular surgeon and associate dean of medical education at the University of Houston College of Medicine, is also in favor of the trend and has her own assortment of unique face masks. As mask-wearing becomes mandated in states across the country, Bush says it makes sense to invest in face mask accessories. "Since we must wear one though, why not look good!" she said.
Whether you decide to opt for fun prints or sequins, you should still ensure that your accessories can be properly washed. "Though I must state, above all, whatever you do, just wear a mask," Bush added. "This simple act shows respect for your neighbors, your loved ones, your community and the world."
If you're looking to get in on the latest trend and test out some options yourself, we found accessories, masks and more that are just as fashionable as they are functional.
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Face Mask Chains
Biosca crafted using this chain using bracelet beads. "I thought that it would make it more fashionable than a simple cord," Biosca told us — and it worked, since this lightweight beaded chain is a current bestseller on Etsy.
You can try out the trend by purchasing one or purchase a set of three to gift to friends. If your mask has a thicker ear loop, you can also clip the chain around itself for a secure fit.
These washable mask straps are designed to fit both adults and children and are currently available in three different colors. The length of the chain is just short enough that it doesn't dangle, but long enough rest comfortably away from your face.
Accessory brand The Sis Kiss has also stepped into the mask chain scene, creating custom pieces that are available in an array of colors and styles. Each piece can be customized with your name, initials or even a mantra that will serve as fashion statement.
You can personalize this dainty chain with letters of your choice and with three gold-style finishes to choose from, this custom find also adds a bit of glam to any outfit. The chains are also available in kid sizes too.
This elegant chain from Coach features small clasps that can be used on masks with thin ear loops, or clasped onto itself to help stay put.
This handmade mask chain is just as dainty as it is convenient. Reviewers are calling it "cute and lightweight" and perfect for work.
Etsy shop JunieLife has a collection of dainty chains that you can purchase individually to match your masks at home, or you can purchase a matching mask and lanyard set that pair perfectly with one another.
You can clip this chain on the top ends of your face mask to keep it in place and prevent it from slipping out of place. The stainless steel chain is both light and durable.
These lanyards have already amassed 30 five-star reviews and are available in six vibrant colors. You can snag two of them on sale for just $5.
This face mask strap is made from ribbon and has a button closure, so you can adjust it to the size of your mask and wear it how it fits best. Both kid and adult sizes are currently available in three different patterns.
These fabric lanyards also feature button closure and are available in two different sizes to accommodate variations in mask size.
You can purchase this bestselling set of three mask lanyards for just $12, so you can order multiple for your family. The masks can easily be clipped and unclipped for when they need to be washed, as the individual hooks are easy to maneuver.
These lanyards are sturdy but use a slightly thinner fabric to hold face masks in place. While the chain is 36 inches long, the seller recommends knotting it to keep it at your preferred length.
Designed for both children and adults, this lanyard is suitable to use with most face masks. The lanyards also feature included ear savers, so it can easily be adjusted for a better, snug fit.
Face mask accessories
After a Georgia teacher went viral for her innovative use of face mask brackets, they've become one of the most popular face mask accessories on the market. The accessory rests underneath face masks and its 3D design makes it easier to talk while wearing a mask (or keep lipstick intact). This style from Etsy shop Packmille is available in both adult and kid sizes.
Whether you often wear your mask for extended periods of time or simply want to avoid the pressure that the straps place on your ears, these soft silicone ear savers can offer some relief. They're available in multicolor packs of four and have amassed more than 600 verified five-star reviews.
Finding the perfect mask that just doesn't fit right doesn't mean you have to go searching for a new one all over again. These convenient ear loop locks allow you to adjust the fit of the straps around your ears and face, for a secure, comfortable fit. One verified Amazon reviewer called them "a must for back-to-school right now."
If you prefer to keep your mask stowed away when it's not in use, this bestselling storage case is a popular option on Etsy. It features a mask deodorizer and antibacterial coating that can help keep your mask stowed away and sanitary.
These innovative headbands use thick buttons that you can loop your mask's ear loops over to not only achieve a better fit, but to also keep the pressure off of your ears. You can choose from 25 different styles to rotate through, so you can wash one while wearing the next.
To combat ear irritation, one hairdresser took an innovative approach by using chic barrettes instead of a typical ear saver, Allure reported. These clips come in a set of two and can make wearing a mask both stylish and comfortable.
This stylish headband currently ranks among the top five fashion headbands on Amazon. You can choose between seven different styles that all feature convenient buttons, which function as ear savers for reusable face masks.
“After a long day of mask usage, ear pains are definitely a problem! This product provides the comfort as advertised,” one verified reviewer wrote. “The headband material is also sturdy and soft!”
These bestselling keychain mask storage bags are another chic way to keep your mask within reach, and not hanging somewhere in your car until the next time you need it. The pouches are large enough to fit most fabric masks and are also machine washable.
Stylish Face Masks
Baggu's fabric masks are crafted with 100% organic quilter's cotton and feature adjustable ear loops, a nose wire and a filter pocket for optional use. For every pack of masks sold, Baggu will be donating a portion of the proceeds to numerous organizations such as the Black Voters Matter Fund, Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Community Alliance with Family Farmers.
We had the chance to try out Everlane's solid-colored face masks last month and loved how soft the fabric felt while still managing to be breathable. Everlane's tie-dye fabric face mask collection is slightly chicer than the standard color deviations but still provides the same comfortable fit.
For those truly looking to make a subtle fashion statement, this beautifully beaded face mask has a double-layered design and a filter pocket. The ear loops can also be adjusted, thanks to the sliding beads that help provide a better fit.
This fanny pack set proves that matching sets aren't just for clothing. The reusable mask is made from two layers of cotton fabric with a built-in filter. Whether you need to run errands or stow away your mask when you're not wearing it, the fanny pack is the second stylish and functional item in this set.
A unique take on self-tie masks, these adorable gingham print face masks can help you stay protected in style. The masks are available in both kid and adult sizes and feature a double-layer design crafted from cotton with a filter pocket and an adjustable wire around the nose.
BaubleBar just added additional styles to its popular face mask collection, so you can now choose between a total of five different sets of designs. The masks are sold at cost, so you can stock up and rotate as needed.
This holographic mask is a fashion statement all on its own, but for a little extra flair, you can purchase the matching scrunchie. The inside is made from soft cotton while the outside is made from a polyester blend, but to maintain the sleek look the seller recommends hand-washing the mask.
These cute fabric face masks are back in stock and are decorated with matching pastel heart beads for an accessorized look. For a custom fit, these masks use self-tie straps to ensure all-day comfort and protection.
Available in seven different designs and patterns, these masks are made from a durable cotton and feature adjustable, intricate self-ties. Twenty percent of the proceeds from these stylish masks will be donated to the non-profit GetUsPPE, which works to address the shortage of PPE worldwide.
For more stories like this, check out:
- This teacher is going viral for discovering a genius face mask accessory
- 31 colorful face masks kids will actually want to wear
- Experts share tips on how to shop for a breathable face mask you can exercise in