Since masks are now an essential part of daily life, they provide new fashion and style opportunities, according to Mia Ellis (first year). Students are hardly seen without them, as Occidental requires masks to be worn indoors. This includes classrooms, dorm hallways and other shared spaces around campus. Whether it be through unique patterns, simple styles or monochrome looks, masks are now another way that students can show who they are to the pandemic-era world.
Ellis has a variety of masks, some with bright, floral designs and others with darker and more muted colors.
“I actually do try and match my mask to my outfit,” Ellis said. “Every morning, after I get dressed, I just look at my masks and I’m like, ‘That one!’”
Ellis said her mom also helps her with her mask choices.
“My mom, she finds all these links for masks, and then sends them to my brothers and I, and tells us to pick out the ones we like,” Ellis said.
Ben Langer Weida:
Ben Langer Weida (first year) said he prefers to match his mask with the rest of his outfit.
“I try and keep the color of the mask the same vibe as whatever else is going on,” Langer Weida said. “That makes it a little difficult because I only have three masks, but I try to make it work.”
Langer Weida said he has a variety of patterned masks, all of which are handmade.
“My masks are made by my mother,” Langer Weida said. “I have a package of blue store-bought ones for emergencies, but otherwise they are all made by my mom.”
When it comes to wearing masks every day, Langer Weida said he has no complaints.
“I personally think it’s pretty great,” Langer Weida said.
Some students, including Simi Fulton (junior), find more plain masks to be the most practical.
“I wear a lot of green, so I always wear a green mask because that is just the one that works best,” Fulton said.
Fulton said she is happy to be back to in-person learning, even while masked.
“I’ve gotten used to wearing a mask over the pandemic and it’s good for safety,” Fulton said.
Emily Wills (first year) said she wears many different handmade, patterned masks.
“Most of my mask collection does have a lot of wild patterns,” Wills said. “My mom makes most of my cloth masks, and there’s a wide variety of them.”
Wills said she also makes an effort to coordinate her clothing and her masks.
“If I’m wearing a really interesting mask print, I try not to wear a really interesting outfit choice so that they don’t clash that much,” Wills said. “If I’m wearing a pattern for my outfit, I normally try to wear a basic mask.”
Jen Miller (first year) keeps her mask choices simple, leaving room to experiment with outfits.
“I just wear black masks everyday because it’s easy and they’re comfy,” Miller said.
Miller said she is also no stranger to wearing masks for most of her day.
“I worked retail during the pandemic, so I would be wearing a mask for six hours at a time and I didn’t really have a problem with it,” Miller said. “I kind of like being able to have half my face covered.”
Miller said her philosophy toward masks is simple.
“Wearing a mask isn’t that hard. So just do it,” Miller said.
Jamie Perez-Schere (first year) also sports hand-made masks.
“This mask and pretty much all the masks I wear, my mom made,” Perez-Schere said. “She’s been sewing for forever.”
Perez-Schere said they recognize the care involved with their mom’s sewing projects.
“At the very beginning of the pandemic, when there was a shortage of masks and people had to make their own, she was just making tons and tons of them,” Perez-Schere said. “She gave them out to anybody who needed them.”
Lauren Gallagher (first year) is undeclared as major, but she is deliberate and decisive when it comes to mask choices.
“I look towards minimalism for inspiration,” Gallagher said.
And she lets her wardrobe dictate her mask choice.
“I typically choose masks that complement my wardrobe the best,” Gallagher said.
Sophie Kaviar (junior) said she has a go-to style and so do her masks.
“Honestly I really like to dress cottagecore,” Kaviar said.
Kaviar said her masks also have some sentimental meaning.
“I just have a collection of masks that I got for Christmas. My mom also makes masks,” Kaviar said. “She likes to sew and she gives me extras that she makes for herself and her friends.”
Kaviar said that sometimes either the mask or the clothes dictate the outfit.
“I’ll match the mask to the outfit or I’ll match the outfit around the mask,” Kaviar said. “I like it. It’s a fun accessory.”