So, here you are.
You’re a guy and you’ve just been invited to a masquerade ball/party/formal and you’re not quite sure what type of mask to wear. Forget about style for a second, you’re still trying to figure out which of the thousands of masks out there are for men. Well, fret no more and read on because we’ve got a few simple tips that’ll not only help you distinguish men’s masks from women’s, but also have you showing off your style with confidence.
Truth is, many masks out there are unisex.
Historically, masks were worn in Venice for most of the year as a way to escape one of the strictest hierarchies in Europe. People could wear masks and go about their daily routines without fear of being identified…and without as many inhibitions. You could have paupers dressed as noblemen, noblemen dressed as servants, and women dressed as men. That part’s important because it means that most masks out there are unisex. Generally speaking, if you’re a guy the main thing you want to look for in a mask is clean lines and sharp features. Stay away from too much glitter and feathers and you’ll be ok.
Need something more concrete? Here are some pointers:
- Men’s masks are often wider in the jaw than women’s masks. If you’re not sure, look at the measurements provided.
- There are some styles of masks that are usually worn by men, and tend to be more masculine in shape and expression. These are:
o The Bauta. It’s got a square-ish jaw, large chin, and no mouth.
o The Medico della Peste. The ones with the really long nose (and sometimes wire glasses). They’re often not very ornate.
o The Volto. It’s a pretty basic style and often unisex. Stick to a plain color or a simple pattern if you’re unsure.
o The Pantalone. Slanted eyes and sizeable hook nose.
o The Arlecchino. Joker-like, colorful, sometimes the mask includes a large headpiece and/or collar, possibly with bells on.
o The Zanni. A long nose, not too dissimilar from the Medico della Peste. But beware—the longer the nose, the stupider the character is deemed!
o His and Hers sets. If you want to match your belle, just pick out a set of two masks that match.
We hope that helps. But if you’re still unsure, let your lovely lady pick a mask out for you. Odds are she either (A) wants your mask to match her outfit (B) wants your mask to match hers (C) wants to pick your mask out because, well, she just wants to or (D) all of the above.
If you’re still nervous about picking a mask, don’t be. Keep the mask simple, wear a great-fitting suit or tux, and you’ll be good to go.
Here’s some images of some great male celebrities who’ve donned masks (and really pulled it off!) to inspire you:
Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera
Ian Somerhalder in The Vampire Diaries
Paul Wesley in The Vampire Diaries
Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut
Chace Crawford in Gossip Girl
Ed Westwick in Gossip Girl
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