Jonah Traub, Co-Editor in Chief 

As the South Orange-Maplewood School District (SOMSD) officially enters the second year of its altered format thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19), fashionable students and teachers within the district – as well as other fashionistas within the overall Maplewood and South Orange (MAPSO) community – have started to grow tired of the same old protective face masks. However, this lack of enthusiasm for masks is not a feeling that is limited to the MAPSO area. The sheer boredom with this played out fashion trend has gotten so extreme and so widespread that in parts of the country and across the globe, some people have simply stopped wearing masks altogether, and it is hard to blame them. Who would not get a little tired of wearing the same thing over and over again?

Fear not MAPSO! The Columbian’s Style Advisors understand your pain, and after a lot of research and testing, we think we have come up with a way to help everyone spice up things again. While we have not been able to come up with a way to control COVID-19 to a point where people are free to remove masks from their wardrobe completely, we did come up with some fresh uses for masks that will add some flair to your wear.

One alternative use for masks that is sure to impress involves utilizing a protective covering as an eye mask. While this will not necessarily reinvent the wheel – as this practice still uses the mask to cover something on the face, just a different part – it should be beneficial to the wearer since the mask’s elasticity should make it stretchy enough to fit snugly around the ears and up above the nose, while the filter used to trap respiratory droplets in should work well for blocking out light. The mask will provide the user with comfort and a dark environment (the essential ingredients for a good night’s sleep), while also making for a great conversation piece at the breakfast table the next morning. Get ready to wow your family and friends!

Another new way that masks can be rocked are as dazzling pairs of earrings. After months of being pulled this way and that to support face masks and strap them in place, it is time to dress up your ears and show them some love. To attach the masks to your ears, either drape one string up above your ear and let the filter dangle, or thread the strings through your ear in a throwback to the heyday of hoop earrings. Either way, with a mask on your ear, you will be the talk of the town.

But while revamping your closet is always important, especially when a wardrobe staple starts to go out of style like face coverings have in recent months, there is only so much retooling that can be done when everyone is still being forced to wear masks a majority of the time to ‘remain safe.’ However, the Style Advisors of The Columbian do not want to hang our readers out to dry, so we have also come up with a non-clothing related use for masks that will help distract strangers – and yourself – from the blandness of your get-up.

One application that we feel can really divert attention away from your face is the use of masks as slingshots. With this activity, you are allowed to channel your inner-Bart Simpson in an easy-to-use way that can be fun for the whole family. Take your mask out to the practice range and become as deadly accurate as the Green Arrow, or travel with it to the park and make new friends thanks to your impressive skills. With this weapon of mass(k?) destruction in your hands, it is hard not to look cool, even if you have an eyesore on your face.

There you have it, our three sure-fire ways to stand out. While we cannot guarantee that you will only get compliments if you start using masks as slingshots, eye masks or earrings, we can assure that you will receive your fair share of attention. So, if you want to start looking like a star during these COVID-stricken days and differentiate yourself from those who have made the poor decision to sacrifice their stylistic integrity for safety, you know what to do. Stay fashionable MAPSO!

Design By: C. Hummel

Art By: M. Shapiro