From 'on trend' to 'over' in the blink of an eye

Share
Related Topics

It might be the first sign of a midlife crisis. Or just boredom. But when I went to the opticians for a routine eye test last month, I decided I needed a pair of glasses that would give me a Dramatic New Look.

When I got my first pair two years ago, I was so horrified that my hitherto 20/20 vision had been compromised by the onset of my late thirties that I chose those gold-coloured metal frames that are so thin they're almost invisible. I only needed them for driving and working on computers, but if anything this made it worse. At least blanket short-sightedness would allow me to wear contact lenses.

Yet something has changed in the past two years, because when I went back in February – nine months before I turn 40 – I rather liked the black, heavy-rimmed Ronnie Barker-style frames that sat in rows on the wall. There were so many of them I assumed they must be "on trend". I nearly punched the air when the optician told me, gravely, that my eyesight had got slightly worse so I would need a new prescription, and ordered a pair of Eric Morecombes. They are, of course, also the glasses popularised by TV geeks such as choirmaster Gareth Malone and BBC political editor Nick Robinson. Nerds are in fashion aren't they? When Kate Winslet wore a similar pair to the opening night of The Book of Mormon earlier this month, I was convinced I'd struck eyewear gold.

But it was only when watching Michael Gove on Question Time that I remembered that the Secretary of State for Geeks has also recently acquired a pair (his are from Cutler and Gross, mine are slightly cheaper, from Demenego). Perhaps he too is encountering a midlife crisis. Or maybe I am considering a bid to lead the Conservative Party. But free schools ideologue was not the look I was going for.

Wearing heavy-rimmed specs must be like driving a Mini or a Volkswagen Beetle. You suddenly notice everyone else who is driving the same car. I can let it go about Mr Gove – he got there first. But these Ronnie Barkers keep cropping up everywhere. On Budget Day, there was Peter Mandelson in the Commons gallery peering down at George Osborne, wearing the same specs as me. Then last week the Health Minister Norman Lamb was sporting a pair on Newsnight, talking about emptying Jeremy Paxman's bedpan.

The tipping point came for me when the new head of MI5 was revealed on Thursday. You might think this gives my glasses a James Bondesque allure. But with the greatest of respect to Andrew Parker, who has a fantastic record on stopping terrorists, I hadn't quite imagined a spy chief would be visually challenged.

OK, so George Smiley wore a pair of heavy-rimmed spectacles, but his image was more in-the-shadows academic. Mr Parker's glasses make him look like a provincial solicitor. It turns out his favourite hobby is birdwatching. Perhaps this is part of the plan to outsmart al-Qa'ida: who would suspect the lens-polisher sitting in his hide? But perhaps I need a rethink, because my glasses have jumped the geek.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PMO Manager (Portfolio Management, ExCel, Cost Benefit Analysis)

£450 - £500 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: PMO Manager - 6 month co...

Senior Fund Administrator - Edinburgh - £22 p/hr

£20 - £22 per hour + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Fund Administrator, Top Four ...

Nursery Nurse

£7 per hour: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a better wo...

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Functional Consultant

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A Microsoft Dynamics CRM...

Day In a Page

 

Naturism criminalised: Why not being able to bare all is a bummer

Simon Usborne
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on