For the last couple of months I’ve been wearing a facial mask whenever I’m outside the safety of our home — a very unexpected addition to my daily outfit. It’s taken a while to figure out the most comfortable fit, but I have some good options. The biggest challenge has been preventing my eyewear from fogging up, and I still don’t have a flop-proof solution despite trying every tip I’ve read.
I’m down to three types of masks that work well. A disposable mask, a shaped mask, and the Karen Kane masks. They work well because they FIT well, creating some degree of protection and a lot of comfort.
For context, I have a small head and face, a fairly pointy nose, big cheeks, small ears, and feel claustrophobic quite easily.
1. Disposable Mask
These are very lightweight, and fast to pull on and off. I create a snug fit by knotting the elastic behind the ears, and folding over the top edge of the mask. The shaped wire across the top of the mask creates a close fit against the nose and cheeks, which helps to prevent foggy eyewear. I create a sweet spot with the position of the top of the mask and my specs for optimal comfort. The mask comes up high, and my specs are worn a little lower on the nose so that the fit is “locked”, thereby preventing the air flow that causes fogging. The pleats across the mask create room around the nose and mouth, making it feel less claustrophobic. The elastic around the ears is comfortable, and the mask stays put.
2. Shaped, Washable Mask
A friend kindly made a shaped mask for me and I’m grateful. The mask fits snugly, thereby creating insulation and comfort. It ties in the back with a laced bow instead of ear elastic. It has the same wire detail across the top of the mask that creates a snug fit against the nose and cheeks, which helps prevent my specs from misting up. The mask takes a little longer to put on than the styles with ear elastic, and it can slip off my head if it’s not tied tightly. The tight fit and lack of pleating can make me feel a little claustrophobic, so I have to fiddle a little to find the right balance. It’s definitely the prettiest mask of the three, and has a nice clean fit.
3. Karen Kane Washable Masks with Filter Pocket
These masks by Karen Kane were way too big, but I altered them to create a good fit. First, I shortened the elastic so the mask fits closely against my face. It has a pocket for a disposable filter, which the other two masks don’t have. Surprisingly, the filter helps to create a better and more comfortable fit. I also fold under the bottom of the mask to decrease the size. This mask does not have wire across the top, but if I wear it quite high, and lower my specs, I can create a bit of a vacuum that helps prevent foggy specs. The pleating creates a nice bit of room so that breathing is easy. The elastic is comfortable, and the mask stays put.
I haven’t figured out how to prevent my specs from fogging up when I wear a mask in the rain, so I go without eyewear when it’s wet. A blurry image is better than a foggy one. Good thing our dry Seattle Summer is on the way.
After a lot of trial and error, some alterations, and simply getting used to the feeling of wearing a mask, I’m sorted. I surprised myself by being disinterested in matching masks to my outfits. Although I bat for Team Matchy-Matchy, I’m happy to wear a mismatched mask. I’m much more concerned with comfort and the fact that I can see through my specs.