MSU students see masks as a fashion opportunity

Fashion Board members Shelby Freeman and Bradlea James pose in their stylish masks.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many changes. Face masks have quickly become a constant in our 2020 lives. Fashion changes in extreme ways throughout the decades, but the incorporation of surgical masks into everyday fashion is something not even the most style-savvy could have predicted. Fashion icons have demonstrated the ways a protective face covering can be used to accessorize and enhance an outfit.

Traditionally, face masks have been thought of as the traditional blue and white rectangular hospital masks, but today, they have become so much more. Now face coverings have a wide variety of patterns and colors. With so many different mask options, everyone has the chance to show off their own sense of style while staying safe.

Here in Starkville, Mississippi State University students have added their own personal flare to their back-to-school styles.

Madison Glusenkamp is a senior at MSU majoring in public relations and is a model for MSU's Fashion Board. Glusenkamp said she has always had a love for fashion. She specifically loves bonding with others through fashion, as this is something she has always enjoyed. Glusenkamp expressed how she is maintaining her fashion sense while following pandemic health guidelines. 

"I always try to somewhat match my mask to my outfit depending on the color or a pattern. I am really into floral masks or bright blues and pinks just because I am not a very bold person. I try to stick with what I am comfortable with," Glusenkamp said. 

Fashion allows everyone to be different, but a mutual love and appreciation for fashion can bring people together, even during these troubling times.

Metri Lyons is a senior majoring in theater and is a host for Fashion Board. Lyons expressed how he felt about face masks and what they have done for those involved in the fashion community, as well as those who are not.

"I think that masks have not only updated our fashion, but it has also allowed people to be a little bolder about what they are doing because you cannot see their faces. People have dared to step out of the box and out of their comfort zones and truly wear what they want because they are unrecognizable in their masks," Lyons said. 

Lyons' attitude towards face masks is indicative of many others who have chosen to view the face coverings as a means of expression and protection, rather than an annoyance. Even during these trying times, people are choosing to look at the positive. 

Many people have begun to create and sew their own masks. Glusenkamp said she prefers homemade masks to store-bought.

"I think it would be really resourceful and save people money if they were able to make masks at home. I have two that are homemade. And they are probably my favorites just because they are well-made, and I was able to customize them. You can pick out your own pattern, how big or small you want it and how big you want the straps to be. I think it would be great for people to learn how to make their own masks," Glusenkamp said.

Everyone's sense of style is different, but all can relate to the struggle of picking out an outfit. Alexis Drake, a senior marketing major, has been a model for Fashion Board since her freshman year. Drake shared the fashion insight behind a mask style which she has come to love.

"I have this one nude mask that matches my skin tone. I am kind of obsessed with wearing all nude or all white, that monochromatic style. I love accessorizing with it because it turns into a look," Drake said.

Clearly, COVID-19 is not planning to leave anytime soon, and this means face masks are also here to stay for a little while longer. In the meantime, by investing in face masks as a form of self expression, students have the chance to tap into a more creative side, while keeping themselves and those around them safe. 

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