Over the past 50 years the 16th birthday party has become known as the “sweet 16th”. This idea of a “sweet 16th” is a traditionally Western concept and is applied primarily to young females. While this birthday celebration was originally a rather subdued and mellow event, they have become more elaborate.
With the introduction of television shows such as My Super Sweet Sixteenth individuals are competing with their friends to have the most impressive celebration. They are always looking for ways to be unique so as to make their party the most special and memorable. One of the most popular themes is that of the masquerade ball.
The most exciting feature of the masquerade ball is the masquerade mask. Most individuals will enjoy dressing up for parties, but the addition of a bold mask as a fashion accessory will merely add to the excitement! In fact just choosing your sweet 16 masquerade mask can be as much fun as wearing it to the celebration. The masquerade mask comes in various styles, colours, and designs. The main three styles being the full face mask, the head mask, and the half face mask.
The half face masquerade mask is the most popular of all the masquerade masks. It is designed to cover the upper half of the wearer’s face stretching from the forehead to the bridge of the nose. Unlike the full face and head masks, the half face mask does not conceal one’s identity completely and would not have fulfilled the traditional purpose of the masquerade mask – to act as a disguise so one may behave in socially inappropriate ways without being recognised. While this mask does not hide one’s identity it is more practical than the other designs allowing one the ability to eat, drink, and speak unencumbered.
The full face masquerade mask comes in what is known as a Venetian carnival design. It covers the entire face from forehead to chin with only holes for the eyes. Some designs have included a mouth hole to allow for eating, however this is not common. These masks often present more elaborate decorations and markings than the half face mask making them very enticing.
The head mask is a masquerade mask which resembles a helmet. It covers the head and either the upper half or all of the wearer’s face making it a rather cumbersome item. The head masquerade mask will usually support feathers and large items of jewellery as a form of decoration. It is also quite impractical which makes it rather unpopular and unique to social events.
Masquerade masks are held to the face using either a length of string or elastic which is fastened behind one’s head or by holding a coloured stick which is attached to the mask.
A young girl celebrating her sweet 16th would want something to complement her outfit and match the colours. Usually one would choose a large, elegant mask featuring fine trimming. However, her choice will depend on the colour of her dress and extravagance of the party.