The four colors of my Martin Greenfield Masks
Like many of you, I've found myself in need of a facemask in recent weeks. Family members had sent me a few masks, but they weren't a long term solution for problem that seems likely to drag on for many more months. Happily, Styleforum published a handy mask shopping guide, so I was able to see a breadth of options.
Why Martin Greenfield Masks?
I was looking for a mask that was made by a menswear company, affordable ($20 or less per mask), machine washable, secured by straps on the back of the head (this is both more secure and more comfortable in my mind), and that looked smart enough to be worn with tailoring. Only Martin Greenfield's masks met all those requirements.
The masks work equally well on women, worn here by my wife.
$108 is not cheap, but for six masks that breaks down to only $18 per mask. The number of masks was also a selling point. Both my wife and I plan on needing to wear a mask daily during the work week and three each allows us time to wash each mask after use. Convinced of the merits, I placed an order. A little over a week later, our masks arrived. We received two navy, two khaki, one blue glen check, and one gray chalk stripe.
The outer layer is made of a densely woven cotton and feels a bit like a jacketing fabric. The middle layer is a non-woven gray polyester for increased filtration. The inner layer is cotton shirting that forms a pocket for a filter of some sort should you wish to use one. This layer is a nondescript ecru on all of the masks except one, which has this fun mint awning stripe.
The masks have a substantial metal wire to ensure the fit and seal around your nose is as good as as possible and are tightened with a single strand of white cotton string, which is looped through the sides and cinched at the top. By constructing it in this way, both the back of the neck and the back of the head portions of the string tighten at once. As you can see from the below pictures, the string as provided is quite long and is a little unattractive when tightened. I've shortened the string on the masks now so the excess isn't as long and dangly.
The fastening mechanism on the Martin Greenfield masks. Please forgive the quarantine self-haircut.
I've worn my Martin Greenfield masks several times over the past two weeks. I was happy to find that you can wear sunglasses and the mask at the same time, something that's not possible with all masks.
The metal wire does great job creating a seal, so no air comes in or goes out through the top of the mask. One side effect of this is that the mask sucks in when you breathe and is often touching your mouth in a slightly unpleasant way.
The plastic fastener also slips a little over time allowing the mask to droop some and requiring adjustment. When I removed the fastener and tied a tighter knot in the string, this problem went away.
I had to remove the metal wire for a medical appointment recently and the mask was much more comfortable to wear because the seal wasn't as tight. Obviously, this is not great for filtering the air, but it's likely sufficient for wear while outdoors.
Lastly, much like headphone cords, never store you masks together or they'll quickly become a Gordian knot-like tangle that will take you far longer than you want to undo.
I was initially not thrilled with the khaki masks. I've since warmed to them for wear with earth tones and natural linen, but it would be nice to be able to choose the fabrics of your masks, especially since many of their customers are likely looking for dressier fabrics.
I'm continually experimenting with the fastening, and I would recommend Martin Greenfield switch to some sort of elastic cord to eliminate the need for the drawstring clasp and excess string. I actually just purchased some brown elastic cord to swap out for the string, which I think will make the fastening quicker, more secure, and make it blend in more with my and my wife's brown hair.
I also think the sewn channel for the metal wire should be a little wider to facilitate removal for washing; it's a bit tricky to remove on some of the masks.
These last two recommendations are a bit nit-picky, but the center seam on the masks is not always straight, which detracts some from the neatness of their appearance. The pattern matching on the glen check mask is also a little bit off, and while I would have liked it to be better, that hardly seems worthy of complaint on such a utilitarian piece.
Despite little qualms here and there, I'm quite happy with the masks. I think they look smart with a wide variety of tailored outfits. Martin Greenfield even offers the full cost of your mask order as credit on the purchase of a suit, tuxedo, or sport coat and trousers. I would like to see this include just a jacket or trousers, as I think they'd get more takers, but it's a generous offer nonetheless. Most importantly, Martin Greenfield donates six masks to essential workers for every six you buy. All in all, I was happy to support a menswear company during these trying times and to help them support their community at the same time.
Have a few minutes to spare? Check out my business suit guide or my review of The Anthology's knit tee.