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. Face mask chains and lanyards seem to be the most popular take on the trend, but they are made to be more than just a decorative statement.
We 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," "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 some of the best options that are just as fashionable as they are functional.