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Masks, So Hot Right Now

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Masks are the new essential accessory — here’s our list of the best masks for hospitality workers.

2020 just keeps happening and one of the defining fashion trends of the new abnormal is masks. Over the last few months, I’ve tried a lot of different styles and producers in an effort to find a mask that looks good and doesn’t fog up my glasses. Here’s a rundown of the masks I’d recommend to anyone working in hospitality. Each of these masks are currently available, machine washable and make sense in a restaurant setting. Please note, however, none of these masks are FDA approved, but studies do show that mask-wearing will help flatten the curve.

Rendall Co.
Sentry Mask – $19
Rendall Co. is the brainchild of Deidra Jones. After 15 years of supplying restaurants with aprons and other workwear, she pivoted to producing masks to meet the needs of workers during the coronavirus outbreak. The Sentry Mask is meant for all day wear and is well-suited to the needs of a busy restaurant staff. It’s easy to put on and adjust to fit – especially if you’re handy with tying a modified slip knot. My favorite part is this is one of the very few masks that fits, manages to not look dystopic and does not cause my glasses to fog up. Highly recommended.

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Zensah
Performance Face Mask – $16
Zensah is known for their performance socks and sleeves, so masks are a natural addition to their lineup. The Performance mask is designed for gym-going, light running and other activities – so it’s perfect for being on a floor or in a kitchen. Like the Sentry Mask, it loops over the head and neck, not the ears, making it easier to wear for longer periods of time. While this DID fog up my glasses, it’s also breathable and moisture wicking.

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Vida
Protective Mask – $10
The Vida mask is simple, but includes a replaceable filter for some added protection. (Note: the filter is not FDA approved.) It features adjustable ear loops and a metal nose-piece to allow for a personalized and snug fit. They offer a variety of colors, making it easy to match your clothes or apron. While it’s one of the more basic masks, the $10 price point makes it a great value – even more so since it did not fog up my glasses.

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Kiriko
Face Masks $25 to $28 depending on style
Kiriko mainly sells aprons, shirts and other gear made from high quality Japanese textiles. Like the other mask companies, they too added masks to their offerings. The Kiriko masks are for those who want a mask that makes a statement. These masks are well-made and unique, with a wide variety of patterns – all sourced from high quality Japanese textile mills. They offer new designs as a drop every Friday at 6pm. These masks are beautiful – but they did fog up my glasses.

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New Republic
Cotton Face Masks – $12 for a pack of 3
These are the most affordable of the masks we tested, at $12 for a 3-pack. These are simple, elegant and they get the job done. Made from 100% cotton in Los Angeles, these are great when you need something simple to get you through a shift. While I don’t wear these as my daily masks, I bought two packs and have stashed them in my backpack, in my car, at work and around my apartment in case I forget my primary masks. Plus… they don’t fog up my glasses.

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Poached
Poached Schwag Mask – Coming Soon!
We wanted to make sure everyone is staying safe, so we made a limited run of our own branded facemasks. These are 100% cotton and loop around the ears for a snug fit. We tested these during a weekend shift and they fit perfectly while being comfortable. Hopefully, these will be a future collector’s item we can show the grandchildren as we try to convince them 2020 really had murder wasps, too. Keep an eye out for details on how to score a Poached Schwag Mask!

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Jack Hott

Jack Hott has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. Along the way he’s flipped burgers, tossed pizzas and spilled a lot of wine on white table cloths.

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