Special to Mildred Hoit by Robert Janjigian
In Palm Beach County, there has been a mask mandate for about a year.
There is very little style to these masks... and most fashion-conscious women are hard-pressed to find a piece of clothing in their wardrobe that works with the hospital blue tone.
The old adage, necessity is the mother of invention, applies to Mildred Hoit’s offering of the locally produced Palm Beach Mask, available for purchase in packets of 10 for $10.
“The idea of selling masks at Mildred Hoit did not really appeal to me until I realized that we could provide an important service” says Molly Randall Lombard, Mildred Hoit’s energetic and savvy chief buyer and merchandiser, as well as the shop’s lead salesperson. Lombard was also persuaded to give them a try when she saw the actual products.
Palm Beach Masks are made in a variety of colors. They are made by a company based in nearby Riviera Beach supplying canvas for sails and other elements on yachts, which has successfully switched to making PPE during the pandemic emergency, impressing the Mildred Hoit buyer.
“We were selling a few floral fabric masks at first, but they sold for over $20.” says Lombard. The Palm Beach mask is a better value and has the added appeal of being American, indeed South Florida made. “Ninety percent of the available PPE isn’t made in the U.S,“ Lombard explains, “and the colors are lovely.”
These masks are also the most comfortable Lombard has ever worn and the light blue in the mix is a little more joyful. “The colors are so Palm Beachy, and are easily matched to almost any of our resort clothing,” she says. “It makes mask wearing more fun.”
West Palm Beach native Janet Reynolds, who has shopped at Mildred Hoit for more than a decade, thinks the many colors of the masks can be very flattering to a wearer, especially as they can be matched to the wearer’s eyes or to a colorful tunic or sweater.
Mary G. and Janet Reynolds
Reynolds has purchased 100's for herself, her family, and friends. “I give them as hostess gifts.” Reynolds appreciates that the masks are locally made American products and that her daughter, who is in the medical business in New Hampshire, believes they are extremely well made. “She told me that if you can’t blow out a candle with the mask on, then it’s a very effective, high quality mask.”
As an added bonus, they are offered in an attractive range of colors. “I love the orange, as I wear a lot of that color” says Reynolds.