Face coverings are mandatory during this pandemic, but the style and type of face coverings are not. Around campus, there are various types, styles and colors of face coverings: disposable masks, cloth masks, bandanas, etc. The reasons Westmont students wear their particular masks are just as varied as the types of face coverings.
While a couple students are hesitant, saying that they only “wear one because I have to,” the majority of students make the most of their masks. Out of the 43 students interviewed, about one third preferred cloth masks that family members had given to them or made for them. One student often wears the masks her mom gives her because they are “colorful.” Another student’s favorite mask is the cloth mask that her aunt made for her. A couple of students’ moms make masks for their families, and one student’s mother makes them for her daughter and her friends.
Sizing was also important to another student who tries to avoid the Westmont face masks, feeling like they “are too large” for her face. Although one student’s sister had sewn a mask for her brother, he prefers to wear a blue disposable mask as the handmade one is too small for his face.
The majority of students wearing disposable masks felt that the disposable ones were the best choice for them, as “it is the easiest to breathe in.” About 10 students wearing disposable masks answered that they favored this kind because the masks were “thinner” and “lighter” than the cloth masks. Students partial to single-use masks also felt that these masks were “very convenient,” provided “no clutter,” and were affordable.
Affordability was the main reason a student chose to wear his cloth mask that his “dad got from Costco for two dollars.” Another student wears “whatever’s free,” while three other students lean towards “cheap” masks.
Old Navy was also a popular choice for obtaining comfortable cloth masks. One student found that the 10-pack of cloth masks from Old Navy are the most comfortable. Another student’s favorite choice was the cloth mask she got at Old Navy that came in the color pink “because they match my leggings.”
Style had a lot to do with a student’s choice of face covering. A handful of students preferred either black or dark blue cloth masks because they “go with anything” and “match almost any outfit.” One student used a khaki-colored cloth mask because it was the same color as his jacket and “didn’t clash.” For another student, it wasn’t the color of her clothes, but the color of her eyes that she wanted to coordinate.
Two students chose bandanas as their face covering. One student obtained his bandana from a Bob Dylan concert, and feels “that one good thing that has come from this pandemic is that I get to actually use and wear my bandana.” Another student felt that a bandana that featured blue and white designs was the best choice for him, as he “likes the feeling of nothing on the ears.”
Comfort was also a significant factor in why students chose which face masks they liked. Seven students preferred masks that felt the most comfortable to them. One student said her ideal mask was the one that “didn’t irritate” her skin.
The most important takeaway from students’ reasoning for their preferred face coverings is that Westmont students have demonstrated resilience in being able to make their mandatory face covering work for them. From the type of style, to the color, to the level of comfort, all 43 Westmont students interviewed have managed to find a type of facial covering that is just as unique and personalized as themselves.