As someone who has made a career as a “creative professional,” I’ve seen my share of cool glasses. From thick black art director frames to custom Chrome Hearts numbers to outsized aviators, wearing good glasses is an excellent form of self-expression, but it also connotes intelligence, cred, and a bit of quirk if that’s your vibe. Take Iris Apfel, who has her collection and noted that glasses became not just a fashion thing but a necessity after her eyesight got worse.
“Many years later, when I was much older and truly needed them, I thought, Well, if I’m going to have to wear glasses, I might as well have GLASSES. So I took out the biggest pair I had, and I had lenses put into them.”
And with my beloved Gen X hitting their 50s and then some, I think the uptick of fabulous readers that don’t look like those awful drugstore specs is mainly due to many of us aging, needing glasses, but wanting to be stylish vs fuddy-duddy.
Take hot new brand Caddis whose tagline is “readers don’t have to suck” and call themselves the “anti-anti-aging brand.” Though I am not a millennial and don’t necessarily require all the brands I consume to align with my values, I dig this big time. And further, I very much dig their glasses and love the blue-tinted lens vibe, a big trend for eyeglasses this season.
And though I don’t need readers yet, I do need glasses. I have double astigmatism and am incredibly near-sighted. So I ran into Caddis in the West Village, found these babies, bought them without a prescription, and had my local optical shop make lenses. They are super YSL in vibes, and my taste in frames is more masculine than feminine, and I adore these. I love the way influencer Grece Ghanem rocks this style, and she’s a great source of visual inspiration. These are amazing too, ps, as are these from my beloved Moscot (more on them in a minute).
So what are some of my other favorites?
I have had my dark olive pair of Celine glasses for years, and they are still my absolute favorite (pictured here). I’m not one for petite frames, even though I have a narrow face, and I think big glasses are so much chicer. Even though those tiny Matrix-inspired sunglasses had a moment recently, they are not for me.
This pair of Celines is super fabulous if you’re on the market. Classic chic.
Now about Moscot, the New York family “glassier” names all their glasses with mostly Yiddish phrases. Anderson Cooper sports these specs, but I’ve always been a fan of their Vilda frames, which I own in sunglass form in tortoise. They are so iconic and classic, and their lenses are top quality, which I will pay extra to have. Incidentally, “vilda” means wild in Yiddish, so I’ll take that.
Unfortunately, Warby Parker, who makes lovely frames at an even lovelier price, is not for me. I have several pairs from them, and the lenses either fog up, scratch, or don’t feel substantial enough. It turns out you get what you pay for and, with my prescription, that cost is steep. If you love them, I would suggest purchasing their frames and getting your lenses elsewhere if that’s a sticking point for you. You can also do that with vintage frames from the flea market.
There is nothing more classic than an aviator
I also think there is nothing more classic than an aviator. Just ask Joe Biden or any number of people who rock this standout style. I love this updated take which offers blue light protection from all of our time screen staring, and if you want something with an aviator vibe that feels super fresh, this pair from Barton Perreira is just gorgeous. Incidentally, Grand Central Optical in Grand Central Station is one of my favorite spots to buy glasses in the city. There is a guy there that is my brother from another mother and knows exactly what looks good on my face and what I like. My last pair of gold wireframes from Chanel are still some of my favs of all time, and I love the look of a wireframe for dressier occasions.
On that note, that is the only time I don’t love wearing glasses. When I have to get dolled up for an event or a wedding, glasses can be a challenge. I love the idea of something clear and not too bold to not distract from the rest of my look. I love these for something neutral or these Pradas for something a bit more feminine.
A great pair of glasses is a fabulous accessory
Regardless of your style and prescription, a great pair of glasses is a fabulous accessory. And as someone who is fashion-obsessed, I have many pairs to switch in and out depending on my mood and occasion. A friend who swears by Warby Parker and a red lip once told me not to get Lasik because perhaps I would not look as interesting without glasses. Point taken. And I still think about Lasik every day but have not yet gotten around to it. But here’s the deal. You can buy cheap glasses, or you can spend a mint. The point is, there are tons of options, but here is my list of “must-haves” if you are building a wardrobe of frames:
- A pair of classic aviator sunglasses
- A pair of tortoise or black plastic sunglasses (Wayfarer-like)
- A pair of vintage-looking 70s plastic frames
- A pair for dress up
- A pair for just because (pick your poison and have fun with it)
So channel your inner James Dean or Marilyn Monroe or whoever makes you happy. Glasses are truly a wonderful way to see the world a little more clearly and, of course, with style.