Glasses: Necessity or Accesory?

This will probably shock approximately no one, but I wear glasses. I don’t need them once in a while to drive or watch TV; I need them to live. They’re the first thing I put on when I wake up and the last thing I take off when I go to bed. That said, I only have one pair. Most bespectacled folk I know have at least two pairs; I know one woman who has dozens. Over the course of my life, I’ve had a not-entirely affectionate view of my glasses, and have generally come to see them as an extension of my face rather than an accessory in their own right.

Considering that I got glasses (which I only wore part-time at first) when I was seven, it’s understandable that I’ve just sort of taken them for granted. My first pair (it was the ’80s after all) had circular bright pink frames. I kept them in a little case with smiley faces on it and a Velcro closure. Once I reached age 10, I switched to a brown wire-rimmed pair that would be the standard well into my college years. Oh! And at one point during middle school, I had bifocals. They weren’t entirely necessary, but as I recall my eye doctor thought they would force me to hold a book further away from my face when I read.

In college, once my friends got past the “polite stage” with me, they staged a bit of an intervention concerning my fashion sense, and my glasses were included in the condemning evidence. (It should be mentioned that I also pretty much wore the same sweatshirt and corduroys every day.) One of my roommates, who wore a cool plastic-framed pair, offered to take me glasses shopping. While the thick black frames she had were too big for my mousy little face, a thinner burgundy pair was just what the doctor ordered. Since then, I’ve tried a few new colors and shapes, but I’ve stuck with the same general look.

One perk of wearing glasses your whole life is that you’re much more aware of the shape of your own face than the perfect-sighted are. I’ve watched people try on pair after pair of sunglasses, not understanding why so many pairs “look weird” on them. I can tell just from looking at glasses (sunglasses or otherwise!) on the rack whether or not they’re going to make me look like a bug, or like they’re drooping down the sides of my face.

Still, there haven’t always been a lot of role models for us nerdy folk. Glasses-wearing women had to coast on Lisa Loeb for about a decade. I suppose that now there are now a fewChloe Sevingy wearing glasses more prominent women who make their glasses a regular part of their look. Tina Fey comes to mind, of course, but how about Chloe Sevigny’s hipster frames? Cate Blanchett ditches them for the red carpet, but she can often be seen out and about or at events with glasses on. Not to mention that Sarah Palin’s lovely frameless pair is the one thing she and I can agree on.  And remember how adorable Liv Tyler looked when she put on her specs to read the Teleprompter at the 2004 Oscars?

Many women (and men) have fun with their glasses, and have pairs to match different outfits and occasions. While that sounds fun, it also sounds exhausting for this fashion-challenged lady. Still, maybe there’s a happy medium. I guess it just feels like the stakes are higher with glasses than with other accessories when they really feel like they’re part of your face (I can’t be the only bespectacled gal whose friends think she looks strange without them on). Still, I’m considering buying a second pair that’s drastically different than my current one just so I can mix it up once in a while (but maybe I’ll wait until after my tax refund!).

Photos: Getty and Fashionista

27 replies on “Glasses: Necessity or Accesory?”

I’ve worn glasses since 1st grade, so I fall into the “I need them to live!” category. I usually wear contacts, but I do love my glasses – I wish I could afford more pairs to shake things up. I love my eye doctor, but I’m intrigued by ($95 glasses and they donate a pair of glasses for every pair sold). A friend just bought contacts from and he got a free pair of glasses that are really sharp – I guess you have to buy $150 worth of contacts and the glasses are free.

I just recently had to start wearing reading glasses. I’ve been having problems with my eyes for a couple of years, but it became unbearable last month, and I finally went and got some when my mom let me borrow a pair of hers. I feel like I’m getting old, but at least I know now I won’t go into old age refusing to get adaptive equipment when I need it.
Plus mine are some cute slim pair with blue rims. It’s so me.
I’m also not bothered by wearing glasses, because as a girl I *always* wanted to wear them. I always thought they’d make me look so much smarter, hehe.

I wore glasses from 3rd grade until I was 23 years old. In 6th grade, I got bifocals. In college, I got progressive lenses (basically trifocals without the line).

A little over a year ago, I got Lasik. I was one who couldn’t survive without glasses, and progressive lenses are ridiculously expensive (at the time, I didn’t know about zennioptical and the like… but you can’t really switch between pairs, because the lenses take sooooo much getting used to! For a week after I got a new pair, I’d trip over everything.)

I always wanted to get Lasik eventually, and then I found out that if my autoimmune problems ever got worse, I would not be able to have any elective surgery. So I went and made sure to get it done ASAP.

I mostly wear contacts. I like my glasses, but I can’t wear them while I exercise (some people manage to do so, but I am not among them) and I take ballet or run pretty much daily. I think my frames are cute and flattering, but my friends are so used to seeing me in contacts that my glasses signal “sick day” to them, so I guess they indicate “lazy and sloppy” more than “cute and polished.” But whatever. I feel good in them, and I even recently got over my aversion to “going out” in them–I went salsa dancing while wearing them instead of my contacts and people still asked me to dance and I still felt cute and I learned a valuable lesson about how glasses don’t mean you’re not sexy and glamorous.
/cheesy self acceptance message

I’ve had to wear glasses full-time since I was 14 and also had the same style since then. I tried contacts but just kept on losing them, the whole thing got too expensive (on one occasion ‘losing’ one lens meant accidentally putting it in the same container without noticing it, panicking and ordering a replacement).

Whenever I want to get a second pair my prescription changes and my new pair becomes my main one. Since I’d wear it all the time I’m never brave enough to choose a different style so I ended up with a series of black or dark navy rimless or thin-rimmed frames. Actually buying two new pairs is too expensive for me and once you add the cost of thinner lenses buying frames online is no longer cheaper than in store in the UK.

When I first started wearing glasses at 12 I was deeply self-consious about them. To make matters worse, I was in math class one day and this girl who liked to give me a hard time leaned over and whispered “nice spectacles,” in a sarcastic voice then started giggling with her friends. I know, right?

So I started wearing contacts shortly after. When I got on birth control as a young adult, however, I couldn’t wear contacts anymore. They just dried the hell out of my eyes. I have worn glasses since, and I love them. I almost feel like they are a part of me, and I would be less of a person without them. I could have the surgery, but I don’t want to. Is that crazy?

People who think glasses aren’t attractive can shove it. I don’t need a makeover. I am nerdy and fabulous, thank you very much.

I have glasses. I don’t necessarily need them to live I guess. I do need them to drive and I need them to see things that are far away, but in my every day life – when I’m not driving – I am able to see things before they become a problem. No biggie.

And yet I wear them for other reasons – they go with the outfit, they distract from the eczema breakout on my cheek. Oh, and they’re fucking awesome. I love my glasses and glasses are now about more than just being able to see, it seems. And you know what? I’m glad.

I’ve been wearing glasses since age seven too. Weird. I have to wear them pretty much 24/7. I flirted with contacts for a bit in college, since everyone kept saying how great they were. I’m terrible with things in my eyes, and I have severe allergies, so I happily gave up on contacts. I’ve only owned one pair of glasses at a time in the past, but now that I’ve found out how much cheaper they are online (try, I might not play it so safe style-wise with my next pair.

I’m supposed to wear my glasses most of the time, but I don’t very often. I have such a hard time finding ones that fit my giant head. Most men’s glasses are too narrow and the ones that do fit are pretty awful. I also have a fresnel lens thingy on my right lens due to strabismus, so I can’t order from Zenni. My vision isn’t too bad, so I do pretty well without them. I think I have worn my new pair for a grand total of 20 minutes in 3 months.

The last time I had to go the the optometrist for a new prescription, I told them I didn’t have time to shop for frames that afternoon, but could they please write out my prescription for me?

…Then I went and ordered my frames online for a quarter of the cost. *evil grin*

I suppose you could be honest with them, too, but I took the sneaky approach.

They are required to give you your prescription if you ask for it. You definitely want to ask your optometrist, and not your optician, because only the optometrist can give you the RX, as opticians aren’t doctors. Optical RXs are actually the same as medical RXs in a lot of ways — they expire, they have to be written by a doctor, they are protected by HIPPA, etc.

But no, it shouldn’t be awkward to ask for your prescription. In fact, if they don’t offer it to you at the end of the exam, that’s a reason to be concerned!

I have had glasses since I was 6 but only started wearing them constantly in college when the boards in lecture halls were to far away for squinting to work. Now if I go an hour without ’em I get a headache. My first pair was also pink plastic but it had crazy early 90s doodle swirls in blue and yellow(not gonna lie I might wear those now if they fit). I only have one pair mostly due to insurance reasons(no eye care coverage). I go for the skinny rectangle-slightly cat-eye type. My last pair died when I was in a dressing room. I pulled my shirt over my head and my glasses flew off onto the CARPETED floor and split in half right on the nose bridge. And yes I did have to tape them in the middle like some 50s cliché until I could afford a new pair. That is until I tried some nail glue, it will hold together plastic frame glasses for a long time & much less noticeable than tape.Also how many of you fall alseep wiht your glasses on? Are you as paranoid about bending them as I am? Its the one thing I hate about wearing ’em is not being able to fall alseep watching a movie.

I need to get a new pair of frames soon because one of the screws always comes loose on my current pair. I’ll take off my shirt, it’ll catch on my frames and pop! out goes a lens that I have to screw back in.
This has been happening for a year now, but I’m just a miser because otherwise they work fine. Every time that I’ve gone back to DC for break my mother and I have discussed getting a new pair, but it just never happens.
Also because I’ve had them since fourth grade they’re just part of my face, I find thick frames too conspicuous so I just stick with sensible thin black rectangular wired ones.

I’m casting my vote for Zenni too! I’m not in the need category as far as my glasses go, but they do make my life easier and more comfortable. I’ve currently got four pair I switch out depending on occasion: my every day pair with the transitions lenses, my every night pair, a pair of rimless frames for occasional date nights, and my fancy pair with sparkles on the arms for holiday parties and the like.

I haven’t worn my glasses that long, ~6 years, but I already feel like my face looks strange without them. I even bought a special pair three years ago to go with my wedding dress. Everyone was telling me I should get contacts, but I’m glad I didn’t listen. I look like me in my wedding pictures; my face looks “complete.”

Like Hattie, I have been wearing glasses since I was about seven years old. My first pair were big, red, round metal things. My prescription is strong, but certainly not the strongest — it’s -4.0-ish, for those of you who know prescription speak.

However, I think of my glasses as absolutely essential to my fashion tastes. I LOVE picking out new glasses, and even spent a year at a major optical chain (rhymes with MensDrafters) learning about both optics AND glasses fashion. Now I notice everyone’s glasses, not just my own. In fact, I regularly surprise people like post office clerks and casual work colleagues when I notice their new frames.

Until I started working for a company that gave me a big discount on my glasses, I only had one pair at a time. Now I have two pairs in my current prescription, plus two pairs of sunglasses. I’ve got to say, if you wear glasses all the time and have never worn prescription sunglasses, you HAVE to try it! It’s an expense, but it has been the most amazing thing. Not only am I protecting my eyes from UV rays, but I also don’t have to constantly squint and shield my eyes.

I get new glasses every two years, and I try to alternate between funky plastic frames and then something more subtle in metal, but with rhinestones. When I was in high school, I even went so far to get totally ridiculous orange lenses.

I guess I’m writing this whole novel here to say that yes! I agree! Glasses are tons of fun! And if you have them, you should totally embrace them. They are one of the only fashion items I’m willing to spend a lot of money on.

Now if only I can get Mr.Elij to give up his ten-year-old metal frames. . .

Prescription lenses seem SO expensive to me, but I finally just broke down and got a pair of Fit Overs with mirrored frames. They’re under the same principle as old lady cataracts sunglasses, in that they fit entirely over your frames. They’re a little big, but way nicer than any of the assorted clip-ons that I’ve tried in my life.

I too acquired round, pink glasses at the age of seven! I was supposed to only wear them to see the chalkboard but I accidentally left them on during recess one afternoon and basically just never took them off.

I have two pairs of frames now. These: and a more Liz Lemon-like pair of brown frames. My reasoning was that I should take advantage of being on my dad’s insurance while I still could and that way I’d have a backup pair in case anything happened to one of them (because I am extremely clumsy) because I wouldn’t be able to do anything without them. But I do sometimes like to match them to my clothes. :)

Oooh, oooh! Christina Hendricks also wears glasses, btw. ||

I, too, have been wearing glasses since I was around 7 years old. I can’t really do anything without them except occasionally stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but that’s only because I know the layout of my own house without needing to see where I’m going. It’s not just that I can’t read the big E, the eye chart on the wall across the room just looks like a soft gray smudge. I long ago stopped thinking of glasses as accessories and see them mostly as an extension of my face. I, too, went through the pink plastic frame and the wire frame stage, and I now wear a kind of chunky, squarish plastic frame. I’ve had different colors and slightly larger or smaller ones over the past few years, but mostly the same kind of shape. And I also only have one pair. I keep my most recent prescription in the glove compartment, god forbid anything happen to my glasses while I’m driving. But they’re too damn expensive to have multiple pairs! My insurance covers one eye exam and one pair of lenses/frames every two years (not counting the compression they have to do to my lenses). It was bad enough having to pay for this pair out of pocket when my last ones got irreparably scratched up! Sheesh. I don’t know how those other women do it.

So… um, in short, word to pretty much everything you said. I knew there was a reason you were awesome, Hattie!

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