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It would be quite an understatement to say that the year 2020 has thrown lots of surprises our way, one of the biggest being incorporating face masks into our wardrobes. While many brands quickly made stylish yet safe options available, for many of us it's still a significant adjustment just remembering not to leave the house without one. Keeping backup stashes of masks in your purse, car, and anywhere else that you frequent these days, is an easy solution to ensure that you always have one on hand. What's even better is a statement necklace that'll literally keep your mask within arm's reach at all times.
Even the most skilled fashion forecasters couldn't have guessed that the latest accessories would have a PPE pendant attached to it, but here we are. If you're wondering how sanitary it is to have a mask hanging on your body when not in use, Cassandra Pierre, infectious diseases physician at Boston Medical Center, says that while this is a valid concern, "we now know that infection from indirect or direct contamination of objects is really quite low — less than six percent." She goes on to explain that you need a significant dose of COVID-19 on a surface to become infected. The studies that showed how the virus holds up on a surface "were done with large, massive doses of COVID-19 deposited on a surface, which do not approximate real-world settings," Pierre adds. Besides: "Anything that's going to make [a mask] something that you're actually going to reach for and want to wear, is helpful in the grand scheme of things."
How you remove your mask after being outdoors or around others is the key here. “Use the ear loops to put your mask on, rather than touching the front of the mask itself,” says Pierre. Overall, Pierre says that chains are a good way to ensure that you actually have and wear your mask when needed, which is essential in preventing the spread of the virus. She also advises against wearing a chain in more crowded places like at a protest, or on the bus or subway. While your mask should be secured on your face in any of these higher density settings, there's a chance of contact with contaminants if you have it hanging around you.
In addition, now that half of our faces are covered, fewer reasons to dress up, and with less real estate to show off a bold lip color, face mask necklaces are a new way to express your personal style. With more straight-to-the-point options like a simple neon lanyard or a chunky chain link style, the choices are growing and just as practical as they are stylish. Below is an assortment of face mask chains that will really help personalize your PPE.
While protection is the priority, a chunky chain link necklace is a nice distraction from a more clinical looking face mask. The Pretty Connected Dylan Kids + Adults Face Mask Chain Strap is made of lightweight plastic and comes in seven colors including this mint green. The frosted acrylic Lele Sadoughi Face Mask Chain has the look of a tortoise necklace with its caramel and black links. It'll be hard to forget Quay's Flat Link Chain at home: The neon pink (it also comes in neon green) will serve as a bright reminder to grab on your way out the door.
If you find yourself unsure of which color choice you're feeling for the day, the Miami Mask Chains Royal Knight Blue Face Mask Chain makes the decision a little easier. On one side it's a cobalt blue and black tortoise pattern and the other half is black and white. The ring clasps are a little wider so attaching it onto any style of face mask is easy. The Fullgren Mask Chain has a similar look, but in a sleek and solid black that matches with just about any mask you pair it with.
The Dear Soho Etsy shop has a chain collection that, at first glance, can be confused with a high-end necklace. You can choose between two different diameters of chain links (one inch or 3/8 of an inch) depending on how chunky and how much of a statement you want to make.
If the look of fine jewelry fits your fancy, then both the Happi Box Etsy Shop and 1928 Jewelry are the way to go. The delicate rose gold finish on the Happi Box chain is understated, but still dresses up a plain N95 mask. The 1928 Jewelry Classy Link Face Mask Chain Holder is a little heftier and has a richer gold tone, which gives it the feeling of an antique heirloom.
Billie Simone's Gemini Mask Chain is certainly an investment piece, but the gold-filled links will hold up over time. At 30 inches, Chico's Convertible Gold-Tone and Faux-Pearl Mask Necklace is significantly longer than other options, so it drapes a lot more visibly off of your mask.
Stick with a classic, durable lanyard if your mask-wearing involves any athletic activity, grocery store runs, or anything else where you may be tugging it on and off with any bit of frequency. The Diamond Hawk Face Mask Holder is long, coming in at 16 inches, can be adjusted to fit both adults and kids and comes in a pack of six. The Etsy shop Tinker Crafts also has an Adjustable Face Mask Lanyard that's thinner and made of lightweight fabric that comes in 20 vibrant colors.
These beaded chains will give you a reason to go out — even if it's just for a quick, socially-distanced dinner that you didn't have to cook yourself. With details like freshwater pearls and colorful stones, these picks from Serendipitous Project, Zany Chains, and Aaryah are all designed with varying personal style preferences in mind. The Serendipitous Project Marie Mask uses real pearls and the lace mask that's pictured comes with it. Zany Chains' Rainbow Surprise has an unexpected hint of vibrancy that'll peek out from under your hair. And Aaryah's colorful Amal Beaded Mask Chain combines a mix of rose quartz, lapis lazuli, and clear quartz, and comes in two sizes.
A happy middle ground between the chunky and more straightforward chain options are these choices that weave in embellishments like the tiny daisies on the Roxanne Assoulin Daisy Mask Chain. Choose from either blue or black beads that rest in between the floral accents. There's also the WHBM Convertible Mask Necklace that blends a silver chain, with black ribbon, and faux pearl beads. The Azazie Convertible Face Mask Necklace Chain combines both silver- and gold-toned metals with blingy rhinestone accents.
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