Monday, August 24, 2015

My Personal Style, Glasses Edition

new spectacles
Oh, hi. This is me, wearing glasses.

Long ago, or  two cities ago, at least, I used to get dressed up on Tuesdays and visit an elderly friend with poor eyesight who insisted I was a fashion model. She'd based this opinion purely on my winter outerwear, but when the weather warmed, I didn't want to disappoint, whether or not she could actually see what I was wearing. And thus was born my habit of photographing and posting what I wore every Tuesday for my visit. It has been requested that in this new space, I share a bit about my style and post outfit photos again, even though I am far away from my old lady friend and no longer dress up. Though I don't consider myself to be a particularly stylish person, I do enjoy wearing things that make me feel good, so here we go. I'm just going to kick it off by talking about what goes on my face. Specifically, my glasses.

I have required corrective lenses for my poor eyesight since second grade. Glasses came first, of course, because no one in their right mind would allow an eight-year-old to wear contacts. I'll be blunt and just tell you straightaway that the glasses of my elementary school years were downright ugly. They didn't make cute glasses for kids then. I mean, it was the eighties, so it could be argued that they didn't make cute glasses for anyone at that point, but the ones marketed to kids were particularly horrid. My first pair were brown, with a tiny square with a picture of Bugs Bunny adhered to the earpiece. Later, there was a pair with a strawberry in the same position, for Strawberry Shortcake, of course.

And then came contact lenses, thank goodness. Seventh grade was a turning point, and from then on, though I owned glasses, they were rarely seen outside my home. By the time I was out of college, there were contacts that could be worn for a month and then discarded. I jumped right on that wagon, delighted that I could wake up with clear vision, just open my eyes and TA-DA! I could see things that were farther away than a few inches from my nose! I still owned glasses, but I used them so infrequently that I often owned slightly ugly glasses. I went right back to second grade, but without the Bugs Bunny. My last pair were ones that were from the free rack, clearly factory seconds, judging by the way they fell off my face when I wore them and couldn't be adjusted no matter who tried.

This would have been fine, and I likely would have kept them, except for one small problem. The last brand of contact lenses that had been recommended to me had been recommended in error. Instead of being suitable for extended daily wear, they were suitable for eight hours per day, maximum, five days a week. The end. Or you'll grow extra blood vessels in your eyes because your poor, myopic little eyes are starved for oxygen. This is exactly what happened to me. The optometrist I met with a month ago looked a little horrified when I told her how much I'd been wearing them. "You could go blind!" she said. "I am switching you to lenses that allow more oxygen in, and you are to wear them no more than four days per week, eight hours per day, for the next six months."

Suddenly, the question of whether my ugly glasses needed to be replaced was no longer a question. And that's how I ended up with the prettiest pair of glasses I've ever owned.

It was serendipitous, really. I tried on a bunch of frames that I really didn't love, and then the man who was helping me said, "Wait, I know which ones are right for you." There weren't any in stock, so he pulled a pair of glasses that someone else had ordered, which had not yet been picked up. I put them on and immediately knew they were just right. Bold, but not too bold. Warm, a little bit retro, and just the right shape. I'd meant to purchase a pair from the cheapest options, but I couldn't do it. Knowing that I would be wearing them quite a lot, I wanted glasses that would make me feel good. I paid an extra £25 for that privilege, and it was £25 well spent.

I actually like to wear my glasses now. This is a new feeling for me. Before I was in a rush to get my contacts back in. Now, I feel good in my specs. They suit me, and they go well with what I like to wear, and they are comfortable to boot. I'm nearly forty, and I've finally figured it out: when you look good, you feel good, even when looking good involves something so small as a pair of glasses. Looking good doesn't have to mean that I look good to others, but when I look in the mirror, I want to like what I see. And I definitely like what I see when I'm wearing my new glasses.


  1. Super cute, Mary! I love a good pair of glasses! I'm currently trying to make the transition from my glasses to gas permeable contact lenses, because my glasses have gotten me as far as they will go in terms of correcting my vision, and it's not great. I see so much better with gas perms, but my vanity won't let me let go of my glasses!

    1. Thanks! I see better with my contacts, too. But I'm totally crushing on my glasses! Really, it's kind of convenient that I have this corneal neovascularization thing going on. I think you can wear your glasses for fun - just wear the contacts when you absolutely must see well. There's nothing wrong with choosing your vision correction method for style purposes some of the time, at least in my opinion. (Perhaps your eye doctor would disagree? Don't listen to my advice. It's sometimes terrible.)

    2. Oh, I totally agree. My problem is, I won't wear them long enough to actually get used to them (I'm still in the they annoy the crap out of me/they're uncomfortable phase), so when I MUST see well and should be wearing them, I spend the entire time being annoyed and uncomfortable, which makes me not want to wear them's a cycle that I have to break!

  2. Thank you!!! I love the glasses and your smile. I too am contemplating new spectacles because I need to wear them more often. I wanted to wear them so badly when I was a kid! Now they are kind of annoying, no matter how cute. This is only because I'm used to seeing the world smudge-free and with glasses, that happens less often.

    1. First off, those glasses look great on you, Mary! I know I don't know you IRL, but they really suit you. Good choice!

      cora d, Have you considered Warby Parker? It's a website that lets you try on pairs at home for free (you pick 5 on the site and it is shipped to you, you can choose a set of 5 as many times as you want). Once you've decided you select them on the website and upload your prescription (I had mine emailed from my eye doctor). The whole process was so easy and the customer services is excellent. At first I thought it was too good to be true, but I have friends who have been getting their glasses through WP for years and they confirmed what a great option it is for buying glasses. They are pretty affordable, I'm comparing this to the first pair of glasses I bought which cost close to $250. WP is $95 for single vision glasses. I'm supposed to get my pair on Friday and can report back.

    2. Thank you! Sounds like a great service. I'll check it out.


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