Plague Doctor Masks in the 21st Century

Date: May 26, 2020

Have you ever heard of plague doctor masks? Chances are you have! They’re the ones with long bird beak-like noses and glass openings for the eyes, often seen in history textbooks. Let us give you a quick look at why did plague doctors wear bird masks with beaks.

Why did plague doctors dress in bird masks and Black Plague Hats, and what is it’s history?

Back in the 17th century, doctors, who treated patients ill with the Bubonic plague, donned a costume intended to protect them from airborne diseases. Said to have been created by Charles de l’Orme (the chief physician to King Louis XIII of France), the outfit consisted of an ankle-length overcoat and a bird beak-like mask. Along with these were gloves, boots, a hat, an outer over-clothing garment, and a staff stick (so they didn’t have to touch the patients!). Yes, they weren’t taking any chances!

With COVID-19 spreading like wildfire across the world, medical-grade masks have become a requirement for hospital staff everywhere. Everyone else in quarantine is required to wear some form of a mask when stepping out in public. As such, this has created a demand for both fabric masks and plague doctor masks, the latter becoming a way for people to express themselves and make a fashion statement. Our modern-day pandemic has piqued the curiosity in people to learn why historically plague doctors wore bird masks and why it gained popularity again. Doctors throw these beak-like visors over their medical masks to bring a little humor to colleagues and patients dealing with the pandemic. Others wear them to the grocery store, while social distancing, as a form of self-expression.

You can hop on board this trend with a simple all-black design of the original plague doctor mask. But, if you’re looking for a different spin on this classic, Masquerade Store offers a modern version of the bird mask! We’ve kept the fundamental design the same, but added a steampunk twist with metal-like beaks, steampunk eye goggles, and studs. What’s more? They come in a variety of colors with an emphasis on the features that have plague doctor symbolism.

Fun fact: The steampunk eye goggles used in our design is removable and can be switched out for your eyeglasses! Keep an eye out for the OTT plague doctor masks — they’re perfect for a little extra fun! Plus, these will make a memorable and unique quarantine birthday gift!

If the plague doctor masks aren’t your thing, there are low-key versions made with beautiful material that are 100% cotton. These masks have 2 front and back fabric layers, 2 interface fabric filters stitched inside, a nose wire, a filter pocket opening, and comes with 2 extra felt fabric filters to insert, allowing you to keep your masks germ-free. They’re ideal for both adults and children, alike!