While I've been alternating between graphic T-shirts ("Keanu Reeves looking hot in sunglasses" and "Father John Misty shedding salty, sarcastic tears") for the past week in quarantine, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been continuing her long tradition of Looking Good While Wearing Things.
You know what I'm talking about — the sunglasses, that coat, a scarf collection that went undefeated in the D.C. area for decades until Dr. Deborah Birx entered the arena. The woman has a colorful, idiosyncratic style that says, "I'm here, I'm unapologetically in love with statement necklaces, and I'm going to get shit done" — and that's all before she even opens her always-lacquered lips.
After the CDC recommended in late April that all persons wear face coverings while outside of their homes, Nancy appeared on Capitol Hill with her nose and mouth covered. But that's not why we're gathered here on this web page today. We've come together at this "weird" time to collectively appreciate the fact that Pelosi has leveraged her vast scarf collection to make fashion lemonade out of this sad basket of lemons — each day coordinating her face coverings with her ensembles the way she would a handbag or a shady, message-bearing brooch. If I didn't know better, I'd call Nancy a French girl because these looks are effortless.
Hillary Clinton, whose political career was once (for better or worse) synonymous with the word "pantsuit," obviously agrees.
A post shared by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on May 13, 2020 at 7:21am PDT
The president's decision to forgo a face covering in light of medical expert recommendations has been questioned by the media since the early days of the pandemic and yet, for reasons unknown, he's chosen this maskless, extremely vulnerable hill to die on. It was reported that the White House's new requirement that all staffers must wear masks, established Monday, was issued by the president himself — so it's not as though he's completely unaware of the necessity of keeping covered.
Look, I have sometimes off-putting opinions that I might call my "hill to die on" (Airheads are a terrible candy with the texture of the organic fruit snacks my friend's mom tried to feed us for "dessert"), but I'm not risking actually dying to prove that point. The president's (and vice president's, for that matter) decision to go without the 4-by-6-inch scrap of cloth that could be the very barrier between life or death — either for him or for someone in his immediate vicinity — is cause for concern.
According to a Washington Post report, the president sees wearing a mask as a "sign of weakness." Perhaps an admission that this whole pandemic thing is —*gasp*— dangerous. The Cut's Rhonda Garelick also speculated that Trump's anti-mask stance is a display of power — a calculated signal to his base that he's invincible. She added, however, that wearing a mask would also obscure the president's other mask — the over-the-top, orange-tinted character he projects to the rest of the world, the presence that he has spent years grooming for a life in the spotlight. The "COVID-19 mask," she writes, "is the most homogenizing, democratizing accessory imaginable," and definitely not suited for the Trump persona.
But if there's anything that Nancy has proved to us, day in and day out, it's that masks don't have to be the homogenizing, boring necessity, a personal style retardant. Responsible, reasonable adults can wear masks to protect themselves and others and still look both strong, camera-ready, and every bit themselves, all at the same time.