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Great Outfits in Fashion History: Literally Every Time Taeyang Wore a Mask in Public

The K-pop star has been making mask-wearing look cool for years.
Taeyang and other members of Bigbang at the VIP screening of "Commitment" in Seoul, South Korea in 2013.

Taeyang and other members of Bigbang at the VIP screening of "Commitment" in Seoul, South Korea in 2013.

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

As parts of the U.S. disintegrate into arguments over whether or not citizens should be required to wear masks to contain the deadly and still-spreading coronavirus, I'm reminded of perhaps the first person who ever made mask-wearing seem aspirational to me: K-pop star Taeyang.

While I liked Bigbang — the boyband Taeyang was a part of — well enough, it was his solo work that really caught my attention in the late aughts and early twenty-teens. I was particularly obsessed with the song "Wedding Dress," and I watched the music video for it hundreds of times between 2009 and 2011. Though there are stylistic elements in it that feel like a time capsule now (that hair!), watching it today is still a reminder of what Taeyang did so well: He sang like a dream, he danced like he was born for it and he looked just as good in baggy jeans and a baseball cap as he did in a sharply-tailored vest and tie.

It was the panache with which he pulled all of this off that made him a style star on the street as well as the stage, and eventually inspired Fendi to partner with him on a co-branded capsule collection. 

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It's also what turned him into living proof of the fact that covering your face in public can look downright cool. In 2013, Taeyang attended an event with his Bigbang bandmates and paired a simple black face mask with a Hood By Air shirt featuring vertical zippers and silvery sleeves. He managed to make his face mask seem as much a chosen accessory as his backwards baseball cap, tiny hoop earrings and heavy silver chain.

Later that year, he was spotted multiple times at the Incheon airport wearing black-and-white bandanas over his mouth, each time paired with plenty of bling, a backwards baseball cap and a largely monochrome outfit. On one of those occasions, he was also photographed carrying a neon-green bag that looks like it was pulled straight out of Virgil Abloh's Fall 2019 Louis Vuitton collection despite the fact that it predated that collection by six years. 

Whether you chalk it up to prescience or the basic courtesy of covering your mouth in East Asian countries, especially when traveling, the point is that Taeyang has been making masks look like an outfit asset since long before any of us had heard the word Covid-19.

In case you, too, want to be like Taeyang (or are just heeding the CDC's recommendation to wear cloth face coverings to slow the continued deadly spread of the virus), check out some of the best black-and-white masks and bandanas on the market in the gallery below.

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