My dad doesn’t ask for gifts often, maybe once every few years. When he does request a gift, it’s always in person and while he’s leaving to go somewhere, as if he’s bashful about the ask, or knows I will deliver without further instruction. “Rach, I need some sneakers that I can wear to the office. See you later. Love you.” “Rach, I need one of those stretchy sports belts. Have a great day. Love you.” Although I am not a proponent of “stretchy sports belts,” I have gotten quite good at translating his gift requests into chic iterations that still check the box on his end, too. The one thing my dad asked for this year (as he ascended the stairs to go back to his desk) was a “nice face mask.”
I’m currently isolating with my parents in Wisconsin. The state is opening back up, but with cases of coronavirus spiking in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, my parents are still reticent about reemergence. When the initial face mask shortage happened in late March and the CDC recommended everyone wear cloth face masks in early April, my dad dug up a flimsy and ill-fitting painter’s mask he had crammed in a drawer somewhere in the house. It’s crumpled, haphazard silhouette took up his entire face. “Cool mask! Will that even work?” I’d say over FaceTime, not thinking about the fear he may have had beneath his stoicism. He’s over 65, an age that puts him in the CDC’s “at risk” age group.
A mask may not be the most exciting Father's Day gift idea, but it is a practical gift that shows how much you care. What my dad meant by a “nice” mask was one that helps him stay safe and isn’t an eyesore. As we head deeper into summer, I knew he’d want something as breathable as possible, too. Dharushana Muthulingam, MD, MS, an infectious disease physician and public health researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, recommends cloth masks that find a happy medium between fabric density and comfortability for the summer months. “Aim for compromise to get ‘good enough’ protection that also lets some amount of air in to make wearing the mask tolerable.” Dr. Muthulingam tells Vogue. Luckily, plenty of brands are producing good-looking masks made from lightweight cotton and performance materials.
Here, 22 face masks to consider as gifts this Father's Day.
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