Look at that kid! Is he winning or WHAT?! He borrowed my SUPER/WeSC ‘Moose’ sunglasses for a stroll around the block last weekend. They are my latest obsession – the modern, spiritual successor to my much loved Louis Vuitton Faux Semblant frames, lost on the Tampa Streetcar.
Glasses change your personality – they change how people see you. Your eyes are shielded, looking out past a lens of correction, color, or gradient. Looking in, people see what you want them to see – obscurity or clarity. They match your facial structure, and complement the contours of your bones and skin. And, they are art forms, like many accessories are. You can have simple frames or decadently detailed frames. I love experimenting with glasses…although that sort of fun usually results in an unplanned purchase.
Despite wearing contacts for nearly ten years, I have always loved glasses, on myself and on those around me. I amass new pairs quicker than any other accessory, in part because I can spend my flex health cash on optical eyewear. My first pair of corrective vision frames were black metal rounded lenses with squiggles at the temples. They were Adidas and I rocked Wilson Middle School with them.
Moving to high school, I upgraded to a brown acetate squared-off frame from SEE. At the time, “Made in Japan” was about as exotic as it got. In college I switched to entirely plastic ultra light frames from Swissflex. My latest optical frames are half-rimless black acetate frames with orange striping detail on one side (below). Made by British brand Kirk Originals (in France), they always earn me compliments from other discerning eyewear enthusiasts.
My whole family wears glasses – dad in Oliver Peoples round metal frames (I call them Dumbledore), mom in tortoise cat-eyes from SEE, and my brother in a funky pair of acetate and metal square frames from Anne et Valentin. Clearly my tastes are influenced by an already tasteful family pedigree.
Sunglasses are a fully separate animal from eyeglasses. They do not require a prescription (or impairment), and are more form than function. I think my first fashionable sunglasses were Fossil, bought at Le Bon Marché the summer I spent a couple weeks out in Seattle.
Through the years I’ve bought and returned many pairs – a Gucci pair in high school. They just felt cheap. One I kept was a pair of Louis Vuitton frames that I literally had to have as soon as I locked my eyeballs on them. They were in the Soho store (I was there on a trip with high school friends)…a perfect blond tortoise with gold ‘trunk hinge’ details. Hand made in France. I was in love. So I bought them and managed to hold onto them for nearly two years, until a fated night on public transit, when they fell off my person, to never be seen again. Whoever found them is a lucky guy or gal.
In 2008, just before my last year of college, I bought a very simple pair of square metal aviators from Mosley Tribes (above), and stuck with them for three years. They were polarized, a first for me, and were a vast improvement in quality and durability from pairs past.
Last year I replaced those with a pair of gold Ray-Ban aviators with blue lenses – a bit Anastacia – but perfect for summer. I’d grown tired of having to pay hundreds of dollars for pairs I got bored with easily, so soon after I found a $35 vintage pair at a store in St. Augustine (both above). Can you guess which ones get the most commentary?
This year, I was desperate for something new, so I bought a pair of titanium frames from Zero G, as detailed in a previous post. I like them a lot, but the lenses scratch easily and I still question how good they look, on. A couple weeks ago I found a cheapie matte yellow pair of Wayfarers in Fort Lauderdale. Purchased! And, despite not having any for years, I know in my heart I have a special spot for acetate frames over metal ones – hence the newest purchase, modeled on Levi above.
If you haven’t ever spent time just trying on different frames, optical or sun, I suggest you do. They’re a fully accessible fashion item, even to those who don’t need them. And, for better or worse, they are the first thing people process when looking at your face. So you better make them GOOD! SALT, Barton Perreira, and Oliver Peoples make great frames, although they’re pricey. Any frame, at any price, can look great, just take your time looking, don’t rush it. The right pair will always surface.
Locally, visit The Optic Shop for a fantastic selection of optical frames. I buy sunglasses all over – Saks, Sunglass Hut, and online. Don’t be afraid of brands you’ve never heard of – anything made in Italy, France, or Japan is usually safe, although the latter two are the stalwarts of the eyewear industry. Japan’s acetate is stuff of quality and durability legend.
Happy hunting, four-eyes!