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Factoring in the face mask

— by Alyson Walsh

Photo: Claire Pepper

Never in a million years did I expect to be writing about mask-wearing. Now that we have to stay alert and don a face mask in enclosed spaces and on public transport, the once unthinkable has become the new reality. According to a feature in The Observer, it’s all about communicating with the eyes – though if you wear glasses that could be an issue because there’s a chance they might be steamed up. This is caused by hot air escaping through the top of the mask and hitting the cooler lenses. I asked one of my friends what she’d been doing to avoid this and she recommended adjusting the face mask so that it sits higher on the nose and placing glasses over the top. She’s also been advised to wear a nose clip, which feels a bit extreme but there are masks on Etsy with adjustable ties and a built-in nose wire. Other tips for preventing foggy glasses include using soap and water or anti-fog solutions on the lenses and taping the mask to the face (more HERE).

 

Gloves by Sarah Harnett

 

The face mask I’m wearing is from Scobel Clothing but the elastic straps were a bit flimsy and eventually fell off. I must add replacements because limited research tells me that masks shaped to fit the face are more effective than the pleated rectangular variety. The linen version from Plumo is my favourite, and Everlane sells poly-cotton coverings in double layer knitted jersey. Sarah Arnett’s striking textile prints in poly-jersey are not medical grade (none of these are) but they are handy for popping in a pocket in case you’re out and about and find a grocery store without a queue; and the designer has now added fabulous lightweight gloves to the mix.

Reusable fabric face coverings are a better option than the single-use blue cotton surgical masks that, along with latex gloves, litter the London streets. I’ve been sent a Liberty print cotton mask from Brora and blue and white striped cotton from Lavender Hill Clothing to try out; these are the rectangular variety but stretching the elastic and tying the two loops together in a knot at the back of the head improves the fit. Do this before you leave the house to avoid face mask faffage. Though these are sobering times, I’ve found colourful face coverings are the way to go. And while big earrings can become entangled, there is one unexpected positive: this pandemic essential is a good way to conceal saggy jowls. Always a silver lining…

 

More on fabric face masks and how to make them HERE. Glove Love HERE.

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