Growing up, I had a slew of comic books piled up in my room touting mask crusaders that I admired — from Batman and Robin to Captain America and even the Lone Ranger. Living in Texas, the Lone Ranger was one of my favorites. I even dressed up like him for Halloween, complete with the gun belt, play gun and face mask. Never in a million years did I imagine one day I would be wearing a face mask on a daily basis as a grown adult.

Since masks are part of our everyday life, I figure it’s best to embrace it rather than complain. Heck, it’s now the first impression someone gets of you, and along with your eyes, it has to serve as your smile. So why not make it a part of your fashion statement?

While there are some instances where a medical mask is preferred, I like to have several options on hand to choose from according to what I’m wearing. From fun and playful to business-like and unassuming.

My “go-to” mask right now is one that Jeff Loring at Stitch-It & Co. in Nashville made for me. He knows my style and wardrobe, so he knew that a seersucker was just the thing.

I’m also obsessed with Manuel’s custom masks that you can spot a country mile away. In fact, I have several. His signature style caters to some of rock ‘n roll and country music’s biggest names. He takes your idea for an image and a color and he puts his twist on it. You get it in the mail a couple of weeks later. Anyone who knows me knows I love color, and he designed a basic black mask with a peacock on it, vibrant with iridescent colors that a peacock struts. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind. He doesn’t duplicate his work.

Another favorite designer/stylist is Andrew Clancey at Any Old Iron. They cater to the likes of entertainment heroes Elton John, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, the Jonas Bros. — so go figure. Now that they opened shop on Music Row, they are even more accessible to Nashville’s musicians and fashion forward — like you! Their sequined masks align with their collection of suits and jackets that add that sparkle to your look.

Picking out the right mask is all about the look, but don’t forget comfort and breathability. Make sure it’s a good fit and is easy to wear. So, for now, we’re all being mask crusaders as we protect ourselves and those around us.

In all seriousness, stay safe, be well and keep smiling, even if it’s only you that sees it. Mind you, this is not a political statement, just a simple fashion take.

Keep those questions coming, and feel free to email me at johntom71@comcast.net.

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