Mask Tips: From a Frontline Worker in NYC

For most of us, putting on a mask during this pandemic is for the occasional venture out the door for necessary errands. But for myself, I'm classified as a frontline worker and I don a mask and goggles for most of my work week. 

Besides working on Nary Resort, I work for a homeless organization in NYC. Because NYC has the most Covid 19 cases in the world, I have taken major precautions and have tried many different masks. Let me share with you what I have learned. 

Breaking Down of Medical-Grade Masks

The CDC recommends the N95 mask as the optimal way to prevent inhaling airborne transmissions. But as we all have seen, these masks are very hard to find in the US and are incredibly non-existent among medical workers right now. 

Something that has been popping on the market is the Chinese standard KN95. If you have either masks currently and have been using it, I recommend taking good care of it. 

On the field, I prefer to wear a fabric mask over my KN95. I find that the additional layer helps secure my medical grade mask. After street work, I throw the cloth mask in a laundry bag to be washed with hot water. Then I proceed to immediately stick my medical mask in a new brown bag after each use which helps my KN95 mask stay free from any microbial growth.

Breaking Down Fabric Masks 

Because the non-profit I work for has generous donors, I've been able to try a variety of masks. Here is a breakdown of a few I've tried:

The Accordion Mask
The most popular and easiest homemade mask to make is what I call the “accordion” mask with ear straps. The challenge with this mask is if it's too small, it pops right off your face. If it is too big, it falls off. 
Jersey Knit Mask
Then there is the jersey knit fabric mask (a mask cut out of jersey fabric). I don't recommend this mask personally. Due to the stretchy nature of jersey knit fabric, the cloth compresses and follows the lines of your mouth making it hard to breathe. 
String Mask
Another mask I have tried was the homemade tie-on mask. In my experience, the strings would constantly slip down and I would have to continually adjust the straps to keep it secured.


NARY Masks

As a resort brand pivoting to masks, our team has been researching what style of masks would be the most comfortable and easiest to wear.

For Nary masks, we made it a priority to incorporate in our designs a few things that I've found to be helpful on the frontlines.

  • Nose pieces that will help mold and secure the top of your mask.
  • A mask silhouette that leaves room to breathe comfortably. 
  • Additional fabric that hugs around the bottom of your chin. 
  • Super thin and "barely there" elastic straps for optimal mobility.
  • Ability to change your elastic after excessive use. 

With all these details in our Nary fabric masks, we hope this will ease the transition of wearing masks on the daily. 


From the frontlines,



Co-founder of Nary

Written by Camilla Mayer
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