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Face mask fashion: politicians step out in statement masks

Nicola Sturgeon set the template for face mask diplomacy almost three weeks ago with a £10 tartan mask, which raised money for Shelter Scotland. Her endorsement sparked staggering sales and promoted Scottish culture, charity and business in one photo op, while making a clear message about public health. In other words, she played a blinder.

Sturgeon also sparkled a trend of sorts, with Jackson Carlaw, the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, wearing an even toastier-looking tartan face mask to pour himself a patriotic pint a few weeks later.

Michael Gove wearing a face mask.

Michael Gove finds himself in a face mask fog. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Perhaps Michael Gove was aiming for similar success with his mask debut on Thursday. He has been sporting a jolly £12.50 rainbow-covered iteration, by English Fine Cottons and Alder Hey children’s hospital. Sadly for his communications team, however, his glasses steamed up, inspiring the tabloids to run the image next to stories of confusion about face mask rules with the caption: “I haven’t got the foggiest.” Still, compared with his unmasked appearance at Pret a Manger branch earlier this week – where Liz Truss wore a simple true blue mask – it was a big improvement.

Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask

Boris Johnson with his wobbly central seam. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images

Rishi Sunak kept his inevitable GQ Man of the Year nomination secure with fog-free spectacles and a handsome dove grey valved mask.
Boris Johnson’s blue mask, reportedly bought for £2 from Poundstretcher, is plain and functional. While it was a relief to see him wear one, it looked peculiar with its wobbly central seam, adding to his wilfully shambolic appearance.

President Donald Trump wears a face mask.

Donald Trump wears a face mask, which is an improvement of sorts. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

By comparison, unexpectedly, Donald Trump looked OK in his. Clearly the design of the straight-edged, navy blue mask, with its gold presidential seal, was an attempt to remind the world that he was still macho, and not going soft – or being “politically correct”, a charge he has levelled at mask-wearers in the past – by making this U turn. But it looked good – because it looked safe, and not just because anything that covers up his angry, cat’s bottom pout is aesthetically preferable.


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