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The Penn community's favorite masks

Throughout the many months of the pandemic, masks have slowly made a name for themselves as being not only a precautionary measure but also a new possibility for stylish expression. Designer masks, colorful prints, and creative pairings with outfits have shaped the face mask into a fashionable accessory with many personal twists.

As many of you prepare to return to campus next semester, here are some stylish masks you should be on the lookout for on Locust Walk along with a few recommendations from your peers!

Pastel Blue

Image courtesy of Nicole Rong

Nicole Rong (’24) sports a stylish blue cloth mask. “I love the color of the mask and how it’s 100% cotton,” she noted. “My friends and I always match the color with our outfits, so that’s always fun.” Find a similar one on Etsy here.

Image courtesy of Valerie Wang

In a similar vein, Valerie Wang (’24) also loves a blue mask—hers is a satin and cotton blend, bought from a small business called MaskMatters. The business was founded this past summer by Penn student Susanna Liu (’24), and all proceeds were donated to the Save the Children’s Yemen Relief Fund. I have a reversible white satin and floral mask from MaskMatters and can confirm that the quality of the triple-layered cotton combined with the timeless style makes these masks perfect. Shop their site here.


Rebecca Kanter (’24) has her eye on these cloth masks from 26-year-old embroidery artist Emma Mierop’s brand Skippy Cotton. Kanter noted that these “would make great holiday gifts” and have “strong mystical and celestial vibes,” which she thought were cool. Stock is running low—pre-order Mierop’s masks here.

Cloth for a Cause

Virginia Axline (’21) recommends this Etsy shop, MasksForWishes. “This Etsy shop is a fundraiser,” she told me. “100% of the proceeds go to the Make A Wish Foundation South Florida, and the money goes towards funding wishes for kids with life-threatening medical conditions.”

These are some of the cutest masks I’ve ever seen, and there are many more patterns. Axline can confirm—according to her, they’re “super, super comfy masks that are homemade and tie around your head instead of around the ears for those who have to wear masks all day long.” Sounds like a steal if I’ve ever heard one. Some of them are running low in stock already, so grab yours now! Check out their collection here.

Image courtesy of Chris Wooden

Chris Wooden (’24) prefers this pink floral mask. Here she pairs it with designer Lirika Matoshi’s strawberry dress that took the internet by storm during the early days of the pandemic. “One of my friends in San Diego— on Instagram—sells masks online and donates the majority of profits to BLM-related organizations,” Wooden said. “I bought this mask from her, and it’s definitely my favorite!” Pink is Wooden’s favorite color (a great choice, because she looks stunning here), and so she loves matching the mask with the rest of her outfit or using it as a pop of color.


Over the summer, Yune Kim (’24) started making and selling these adorable floral masks. Her shop, Sijang Merkado, is on Instagram (@sijangmerkado). DM to order yours today! Quantity is super limited, and you don’t want to miss out on these.

Image courtesy of Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells (’24) has leaned into the floral masks in the most glorious way possible with this stylish white and purple one. “I like to pair my mask with brightly colored clothes, especially if I want it to stand out,” Wells notes. “I also love matching it with my other purple clothes too. Of course, the main function of masks is for safety, but what I love about them is that I can still use them to express myself through fashion.” I love his take on it and totally agree—masks are a great way to protect yourself and others, while also adding an extra layer of sophistication to your outfit. Shop a similar mask on Etsy here.

These are just a few of the amazing masks that are out there. While you’re shopping for the perfect mask to feature as you stroll around campus, be sure to check out all the shops listed above, as well as tons of other independent creators on Etsy. With the sheer amount of fabulous choices, it will be difficult to find one that doesn’t fit your taste—but in the unlikely event that none of them seem to catch your eye, you can also make one yourself with a little bit of fabric, a needle, and thread.

No matter which option you choose, stay safe (and stylish)!

Cover image courtesy of Catherine Liu (’23)

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