My history with eyeglasses is a long one. It all began one day in Mrs. Wilk’s third grade class when I found myself wondering why she had switched from writing notes on the board to simply waving her hand around while lecturing about the importance of cursive. Next thing you know I was reading a series of vowels incorrectly and exited the optometrist’s office with my first pair of glasses. They were copper wire frames with a rounded lens. I was not happy.
And so began the annual struggle. Each year before school began, I would go to the optometrist, find out that I had become a little blinder, and would have to pick a new pair of frames. Being a child with an appropriately small head meant my selection was limited, and I always felt like I was picking the pair that was the least unflattering, instead of finding a pair that I actually liked that would go with my new back-to-school clothes. I tried everything: wire frames, Harry Potter frames, black plastic frames, I even experimented with transitional lenses. Besides the definitive opinion that no one should ever have transitional lenses, I felt like I hadn’t learned anything about my preferred style of eyeglasses. As a young fashion fanatic, this was very upsetting and I often felt defeated each year when exiting the optometrist’s office.
I longed for contacts. That was the only solution I could think of. All the cool girls at school had contacts, and being in 7th grade meant that being cool was pretty much all anyone ever did anything for. For years I begged my parents to let me get contacts. Unfortunately, I am the oldest child, and as such my parents’ overdeveloped sense of danger told them that contacts would surely lead to my untimely death.
Eventually, after I spent my freshman year of high school with glasses bouncing around my face whilst running the timed mile for our track team, my Mom caved and allowed me to get contacts. And honestly, I never looked back. I wore my contacts every day. I finally got to embrace sunglasses — the cool, leather-jacket-wearing older brother of eyeglasses. My brown, rectangular plastic frames only adorned my face for brief moments while I was in my pajamas or sipping my morning coffee. All was right with the world.
Then, right around the time I went to college, something unexpected happened. The quirky nerd movement had begun, and glasses became cool. My extremely fashionable, ahead-of-the-curve roommate even had a fake pair. As the years went on, they only became more popular, even iconic for some people. I like to think that this movement was caused by the rise of the tech/nerd giants like Steve Jobs combined with the creation of several popular television shows, like The Big Bang Theory and New Girl, where starring characters wore thick frames.
So I decided that I of all people, with my 20/300 vision, should be able to rock this trend, and went out last year to finally replace my rectangular brown frames with a pair of large square tortoise shell glasses a la Jessica Day. However, I didn’t wear them instead of my contacts. Not even once. Maybe it’s a mental block that I have, but I have the hardest time styling them. Normally when this happens with clothes, I will go online or flip through a magazine and try to get some inspiration. Unfortunately, a quick Google search for “eyeglasses ads” revealed quite a lot of good looking people, wearing glasses, and starring in to space, and nothing else. This wasn’t very inspiring.
So when Warby Parker contacted me last week to ask if I would take a look at their Waterway and Beacon collections for the blog, I wasn’t sure I could come up with much to write about. But unexpectedly, just a quick look at their website was enough to change my mind. I have to say, if you’re looking for inspiration for a new pair of frames, this is the place to go. Their models are the opposite of starring in to space; they’re at a birthday party, they’re jumping in to a pool with their clothes on, they’re eating Chinese food at 2am, these girls look cool. Like, Jenna-Lyons-letting-her-bun-down-to-play-bass-in-her-cover-band-at-an-underground-bar-in-Williamsburg-on-a-Tuesday-night cool. Or attending-a-museum-exhibit-opening-just-to-steal-one-of-the-complementary-bottles-of-champagne-and-sneak-to-the-restricted-second-floor-with-your-friends cool (damn that sounds awesome, I need to do that).
Possibly the best part is that the glasses don’t cost an arm and a leg, with frames starting at just $95, and for every pair sold, they donate a pair to someone in need. Or, if you want to think of it this way, you can buy two pairs starting at just $47.50 each, and then give one away out of the kindness of your heart. Because, you know, you’re really cool like that.
Check out a few of my favorite pairs below and let me know what you guys think! Have a great day!