Interestingly but not surprisingly, the mask has become a fashion accessory. And, of course, now the accessories have accessories.
The protective face mask has become many things over the last six months, and who would have thought a year ago that it would be such a topic of conversation? Masks have become a part of our everyday lives and our daily routines, and they don't seem to be going away any time soon.
But if you're going to be wearing one every day, why not have some fun with it? It didn't take long before the masks were brandishing bold colors rather than the basic, reusable blue and white. People made masks with patterns ranging from camo to Disney villains and everything in between.
Some accessories are for practical reasons. For instance, the lanyard keeps your mask handy and reduces the amount of times you have to touch it. Extenders help relieve the pressure around the ears, especially for those that have to keep the mask on for the better part of a day. But some accessories only exist or are purchased because they look cool.
Regardless, if an accessory encourages people to wear their masks more often and make them feel better about it, then why not?
Something to keep in mind though as Dr. Gonzalo Bearman, Director of the Infection Prevention Program at VCU Health in Richmond, reminds us in an interview:
"If an extender makes a mask less snug around the face, and if it compromises the ability of the mask to cover both the nose and mouth, then it should not be used."
A quick internet search will bury you with pictures of funky masks and accessories; they're everywhere on Instagram and beyond with major retailers even getting in on the mix. So have a look, see if anything catches your eye, and explore the surprisingly vast world of protective face mask accessories.