ABOUT FACE: safe and stylish masks, found!

There's no need to choose between fashion and protection when you can have both.

Lips Kiss Mask available through Sasswear Shop

Face masks have become a way of life - at least for the time being and as far as we know, for a long time to come. Might as well face it and embrace it. While the eerie post-apocalyptic vibe of our "new normal" is palpable, it also (ironically) brings an opportune moment to make a fashion statement. And with everyone from large fashion brands to small indie shops springing into action, churning out masks that are not just protective but also super cute (and in some cases charitable), there's a bevy of choices for those who want to be both safe and stylish. Plus, the internet is teeming with options, so you don't have to leave home to find the one that's perfect for you.

As with any circumstance, opinions differ, but the more popular is that donning a face mask is an act of kindness towards others who might be more high-risk than yourself.

Whether you wear it proudly or under protest, why not use this unprecedented and utterly bizarre alternate universe we're living in as an excuse to express yourself? Heck, even if half your face is covered, who says your style has to be silenced?

Further, if you love playing with color, fabrics, patterns and textures like I do, you'll surely be enamored by what I'm about to show you.

Listen friends. This is the one accessory you can't afford to leave home without, so face facts and start figuring out how you're gonna own it. As for me, if I have to cover my nose and mouth to go out in public, I'm fittin' to buy - and wear- a mask that turns my frown upside down.

Here's a selection of protective face masks I've got my eye on. Disclaimer: all shown are non-medical grade, so if you're on the front lines or among the more vulnerable population (and God bless you if you are), I do not recommend opting for any of the below. On the other hand, if I've inspired you to order, do keep in mind that demand is higher than supply, and in some cases, individual makers are sewing their hearts out as fast as they can. Please be patient and remember: this is not about instant gratification, but rather... gratitude.

LMK which is your favorite.

Masterpieces that speak for themselves.

Bring the legends back to life and make an artistic statement with this selection depicting some of the most famous paintings in history. Clockwise from top left: Lemons and Orange by Renoir; The Son of Man by Magritte; Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh; The Dance by Matisse; Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow by Mondrian; Banks of the Seine, Vétheuil by Monet, $14.99 each; covermymouth.com

Reminiscent of a much-needed island vacation.

Big Hollow Designs "BATIK FACE MASK," $9 each; bighollowdesigns.com

220 thread count, double-layered, washable and reusable (shown in "yellow," "pink," and "sky blue")

Worth coming out of hiding for.

Top: Shinesty "THE 70s CAMO PRINT FACE MASK," $19.99; shinesty.com 20% of profits go towards assisting professionals in getting the protective equipment they need. Bottom: Daniel Patrick "DESERT CAMO FACE MASK," $25; danielpatrick.us 100% cotton made from signature DP fabric, machine-washable

The best things to come from the remainders of cutoff jeans.

Clockwise from top left: The Great "THE FACE MASK," $12; thisisthegreat.com shown in "chambray", made from the company's fabric remnants and for every mask purchased, one is donated to the support staff at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; Mother "DON'T SPRAY IT FACE MASK," Set of two, $20 - assorted; motherdenim.com 100% cotton-lined heritage prints; Joann "HOW TO MAKE A DENIM CHEVRON PATCHWORK FACE MASK" free pattern online at joann.com

When you're going to a black tie affair, and haven't got a thing to wear.

Roopa Pemmaraju HAND-EMBROIDERED ON SILK REUSABLE MASK, $80; roopapemmaraju.com, made lovingly by hand by skilled artisans in India in support of female empowerment and preserving the environment

With a bright and cheery attitude, wearing a mask can be a bed of roses.

Pop Fizz Cheers "RIFLE PAPER CO. FLORAL FACE MASK," $25 each; etsy.com made from 100% premium quilters cotton, handmade and machine-washable

An "always in style" textile...

since you can never go wrong when you do the right thing.

Narces "HOUNDSTOOTH MASK," $30 CAD; narces.com

triple-layered, form-fitting and comfortable, includes filter insert pocket, made in Canada. With every mask purchased, Narces will donate two masks to a local healthcare institution.

Did somebody say summertime?

Kiel James Patrick "MADRAS MASKS," $15 each; kieljamespatrick.com; 100% cotton reusable masks made from the Rhode Island company's signature patterns. 25% of every mask purchase will be donated to No Kid Hungry, an organization focused on helping children who have lost access to school meals due to COVID-19.

Just the thing when you're feeling groovy.

Oakland Craft Company "COLORFUL MOD CIRCLES MASK," $13.60; etsy.com 100% cotton, vented for extra breathe-ability, reversible

And the bride wore...

Narces "GOLD LACE ORGANZA MASK," $30 CAD; narces.com

triple-layered, form-fitting and comfortable, includes filter insert pocket, made in Canada. With every mask purchased, Narces will donate two masks to a local healthcare institution.

Designed by artists, these masks are strokes of genius.

Moodthology Papery "WATERCOLOR RAINBOW STRIPE PATTERN CLOTH FACE MASK," $12.95; moodthology.com


It's safety first... especially when taking a walk on the wild side.

Charlotte Jade "MIXED ANIMAL FACE MASKS," Set of four, £20.00; charlotte-jade.co.uk handmade in the U.K. utilizing nature-inspired prints usually reserved for wallpapers, textiles, tableware and more

Barely there. Like wearing nothing at all.

KGVCX "WOMEN'S SATIN NUDE STRAIGHT-CUT FACE MASK," $31.95 each; etsy.com made to order in your choice of blush, taupe, rose gold, mauve, nude, or copper

A little Mexican flavor to spice things up.

Lorec Ranch "SERAPE FACE MASK," $10.99; lorecranch.com 100% cotton with tie backs and elastic ear loops. For every mask purchased, the Lorec Ranch Home Furnishings will donate a free mask to an essential employee in need.

No reptiles were harmed in the making.

Davanzo "FASHIONABLE SNAKESKIN MASK," $12.95; shopdavanzo.com made from stretchy, high-quality poly/spandex to fit like a second skin

Breathable, breezy, and buttoned-up.

Allure x Anywear "TETRA FABRIC FACE COVERING SET," Set of three, $40; bandingtogetherproject.com soft, lightweight 100% organic tetra (cotton/linen) masks perfect for warmer months; designed by Somali-American model, UNICEF ambassador, and Allure cover star Halima Aden. With each purchase of this set, Anywear will donate a medical hat with buttons to a health care professional in need.

This one's tailor-made.

Classic Sofa "BESPOKE MASK" shown in natural print, $20; classicsofa.com

The NYC high-end custom furniture maker is facing the crisis head-on with beautifully woven, breathable masks that they distribute directly to the front lines at Beth Israel Medical Center and other hospitals. 100% of the proceeds are keeping Classic Sofa's employees working for this worthy cause.

Cute, kitschy... and a little bit throwback, these are sure

to brighten your day as well as others'.

Clockwise from top: Alice and Olivia "STACEFACE PROTECTIVE FACE MASK," $10; aliceandolivia.com, featuring company founder/designer/boss babe Stacey Bendet (for every mask sold, one mask donated to communities in need); Creative Supplies "PINK AND TEAL FLAMINGO FACE MASK," $12.95, zazzle.com; Mia Jewel Shop "LIME PATTERN PRINT FACE MASK," $11.99; miajewelshop.com handmade, 100% cotton; Tabacaru Swim "BLACK FLORAL PRINT WITH FILTER" water-resistant mask, $25; tabacaruswim.com, made from upcycled materials, and 20% of sales are donated to The Los Angeles Food Bank

Eternally a fashion staple.

Found My Animal "PRISMATIC LORRAINE COMMUNITY MASK VERSION 1," $10; foundmyanimal.com This friendly neighborhood company based in NY is dedicated to accessorizing pets and their people. Now, it's also offering these soft cotton/poly/flannel masks with a solid brass nose clip for a comfy, non-slip fit.

Pastoral scenes from a simpler time.

Homesite "TOILE FACE MASK," Set of three, $44.99; etsy.com

handmade in Greece, washable and reusable

Some final thoughts: You are living a part of history, albeit an unpleasant one. And like my grandma used to say (and she had an uncanny way of always being right): "This too shall pass." True, it's more challenging when obstructed by a cloth covering, but just breathe. We got this.

And don't let the pandemic take away your smile.