Skip links

A bit shady: does wearing sunglasses with a face mask work?

I have spent the past 10 minutes trying to work out how to phrase this sensitively, but I’m just going to come right out with it: sunglasses with a face mask is a challenging combination to pull off. It just looks a bit odd.

Even though no one disagrees, this is a controversial topic nonetheless. Any discussion of the aesthetics of mask wearing is problematic, because the minute you start talking about style in this context it sounds as if you are weighing up whether it’s more important to (a) keep yourself and others safe or (b) look cool.

That’s not a thing. As long as we need to wear the masks, we wear the masks. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not allowed to talk about how to navigate this look. Face masks are, after all, the most radical shift in the optics of the world around us in decades. You would have to go back to the trend for long hair on men half a century ago to find anything as profoundly unignorable. We can’t just pretend masks aren’t there, when they are, literally, in your face. The same principle applies as when talking to someone who has spinach in their teeth. Awkward, but best to tackle the issue.

I feel like we are getting to grips with basic mask-wearing, just about – but now we face a fresh challenge. With a heatwave incoming, it is time to grapple with this summer’s most challenging high-summer look. One that makes last year’s headline-grabbing cycling shorts trend seem like a walk in the park by comparison. How to wear sunglasses with a face mask?

Join the Discussion