Why the right glasses are important for your style: advice for those with bad vision

I’ve worn glasses since I was in year 7 (first year of high school for you non-Brits), so I’ve had rubbish eyesight for most of my life. Way back in the 90’s, the frame options for glasses-wearers were limited (at least in my small town opticians), and you would probably end up wearing some awful Harry Potter-style round frame, be labelled a nerd and called ‘four-eyes’ or worse. Kids were kind of mean in 1992.

Luckily, as I grew up and started getting more fashion-savvy, I discovered that yes, there are fashionable frames out there, and no, I didn’t have to look like the dorky unpopular kid from every high school movie ever.

Behold my current eyewear:


On the left are my Michael Kors prescription sunglasses, and on the right are my daily frames by Ralph Lauren. Neither were cheap, but they look good and it’s worth paying a little more for a set of frames that suit your face shape. The frames at the cheaper end of the price scale tend to be rather limited in their scope and seeing as you’re going to be wearing these things every day, it makes sense to spend a little more on something that flatters you, in both colour and shape.

Glasses are like eyebrows in that respect – if your eyebrow shape (or even colour – match your pencils properly, people) is wrong, it will not suit your face, and the same with glasses. There’s a glasses shape for everyone, but it’s different for everyone, and there are no set rules for face shapes. It’s a question of trying on a load of pairs and finding the pair that suits you. The sales assistants in opticians these days are very good at helping you find the correct glasses shape, and a good personal stylist will be able to advise as well. And sometimes, like with my Ralph Lauren glasses, you put them on and you just know. They look so good that you can’t imagine wearing another pair. It’s best to find two pairs you like, or get your new frames made up and then get your old pair reglazed with the new prescription, so you have a spare pair in case one gets broken or lost.

As for sunglasses, the same rules apply – it’s all about what shape and colour suit your face, rather than what’s on-trend. I look terrible in aviators, despite the fact that they’ve been on-trend for ages now. I’ve had these Michael Kors ones reglazed with a new prescription twice because the frame is just so perfect for me. I’ve not been able to find a pair of sunglasses I like as much as these, and I tried on a lot of pairs. There are similar ones out there, even in the same range, but these… I can’t explain it. It’s almost like they were made for my face. I’ve lost one of the decorative studs off them (it’s somewhere in Borough Market, long gone no doubt) but I don’t mind. They have polarised lenses, which can make looking at your phone screen rather interesting, and that’s what ramped the price up – the actual frame was only about £150, which is not too far off what you’d pay for non-prescription sunglasses from that brand.

In the past I’ve had glasses and sunglasses from Armani, Gucci and Prada. You can get designer frames in most opticians now, with prices ranging from about £99 to well over £300 if you’re looking at Bulgari, for instance. There’s a huge range of styles and colours and there is no reason now why anyone with bad eyesight should have to wear bad glasses.

And because of this, glasses-wearers who like fashion also don’t have to feel shamed into getting contact lenses, even if they don’t want them. I thought about getting them because I was desperate to wear fancy designer sunglasses, but it turned out that I’m allergic to whatever the lenses are made of (all types, even the most natural and sensitive ones) so I can’t have them anyway. So the vast array of nice glasses available now really made me quite happy. It can get a little annoying having to remember to switch between sunglasses and normal glasses when I enter a shop, rather than just pushing up my sunglasses, but I’ve done it for so long now it’s second nature. I just need a second to put on my ‘seeing eyes’, as I say to people.

Of course, when you get glasses, you have to think about changing your eye makeup. Your eyes are now hidden behind lenses and a frame, so you can get away with slightly more dramatic makeup, which is no bad thing. People will automatically look at your eyes if you’ve got glasses, so enhance that feature as best you can. Eyebrows on point, and eye makeup that wows – the two ‘rules’ of wearing glasses.

I will never get laser eye surgery, by the way – I guess some of you readers might have been wondering why I haven’t had it instead of wearing glasses. After having found out what they actually do to your eye when you have the surgery, I wigged myself out so much about it that I’ve put myself off it for life. It’s also horrifically expensive, and I’d rather spend that money on nice glasses, to be honest!

Plus wearing glasses hides the lump in my nose that I hate and am very vain about. It’s bone so I can’t do anything about it, and I’m sure it got worse after a horse threw me when I was about fifteen (yes I landed on my face, it hurt), but I never got it looked at. It’s the one thing I am rather self-conscious about, but wearing glasses hides it nicely.

Glasses should be considered as much of an accessory as a bracelet or necklace. Choose the right shape, and the right colour, and you will always look great, no matter how poor your eyesight is.


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