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By now, it's been long enough that we could all probably stand to add a few less, uh, well-worn masks to our collections. With well over a year of expertise under our noses, here are some of our editors favorite pandemic accessories—the face coverings that look cute, don't slip, and make this whole situation just a few layers more bearable.
Keep in mind that wearing these with surgical masks, or upgrading to some more serious coverage in higher risk situations, may be the move.
3-Layer Face Cover, Outdoor Research Local
SoDo-based Outdoor Research, usually a maker of waterproof ski jackets and such, was one of the first recreational gear companies to go big on masks. It dedicated its Seattle factory to making PPE back in March 2020, setting a goal of 200,000 masks per day way before most of us were wearing them. This brand-new, standard-compliant edition of their Popular Mechanics award-winning mask comes with a built-in filter that works through 25 washes, adjustable ear loops, plus a snug fit. OR’s other models have been hit or miss, including a sports-minded Adrenaline Mask that protrudes a bit too far. But if this version is anything like its predecessor, it'll become the Patagonia puffy of your mask collection: perfect for any occasion. —Allison Williams, deputy editor
These masks check all the boxes: They've got a filter pocket (plus three inserts to get you started), adjustable ear straps, and a metal nose piece. Plus, Vida's upped its design bar considerably since the single-color versions I purchased back in May 2020 with artist collaborations like this fern print from Seattle-based graphic designer Misha Zadeh. If you need a little extra protection, Vida's FDA-approved recyclable masks come in colorful multipacks, and the company's also on top of the vaccination card holder game. —Angela Cabotaje, editor in chief
Custom Masks, Ida Loves Dresses Local
Shoutout to Chelsea Lin for pointing me toward this local maker and her masks patterned with leopards and jellyfish and soft-serve ice cream cones. You can specify your size, style, ties versus loops, and whether you want a nose bridge wire. Do these masks run large, or do I have a freakishly small face? Either way, I added some adjuster beads to the (very soft) ear loops. —Allecia Vermillion, executive editor
Fabric Mask Set Loop, Baggu
3 for $32
Everywhere I go, someone compliments this mask, and every time, I tell them where to find it with the enthusiasm of a missionary who has been approached by a potential convert. If you’re on the hunt for PPE that won’t detract from your prime grocery store looks, Baggu’s cute patterns and colorways speak for themselves. But the real magic lies in the unique design: Two extra flaps work to completely secure the mask under your chin and around your nose (meaning a big yell or yawn won’t yank the whole thing around). I cannot shut up about these masks. (Note: Wholesale's looking a little iffy right now, so Prism may be sold out, but I usually nab these masks from the Ballard boutique—they also sell tie versions.) —Zoe Sayler, style editor
At the grocery store and higher risk indoor situations, I’ve been using KN95 masks. But anytime I’m outside around people, I use this Japanese-made cotton mask I bought early on in the pandemic at Wallingford’s the Sock Monster (it's sold out online, but also available through Portland-based Narasocks). I thought the price was outrageous, but pickings were slim. How wrong I was! This remains the best pandemic purchase I’ve made—the only mask I can comfortably wear for hours. It’s soft, thick (with space for a filter), and it conforms to my face. —Stefan Milne, former arts editor