Specs appeal: the best designer glasses

Glasses are no longer seen as dowdy or dull, with designer options increasingly putting style in the frame

Rebecca Gonsalves
Thursday 03 December 2015 12:15
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When Dorothy Parker quipped that “men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses”, she was referring to the idea that wearing spectacles must mean that you are smart. Or shy. Or socially stilted.

Happily, that notion, as well as the old-fashioned thinking that intelligence in a woman is undesirable, is by and large extinct. Glasses, it has to be said, have come a long way since 1937 when that poem of Parker’s was published. That is in large part thanks to ever-improving technology that has made frames lighter and more flexible, and lenses thinner.

But for all the modernisation, there is a pleasingly retro feel to much of the eyewear on the market today. That makes sense, because a pair of prescription glasses is usually an investment that will last years rather than seasons, so styles tend to evolve slowly.

Today, most luxury ready-to-wear brands have an extensive optical range, often nodding to details from the main collections. But few designers have been so keen to put their models in the frame as Alessandro Michele of Gucci, a man who – every season – finishes a significant number of looks with a pair of spectacles. And for a designer with more than just a hint of geek chic about their work, Michele doesn’t just use them to emphasise the more bookish pieces in his collections; even party dresses and sexily sheer shirts are matched with a pair.

When it comes to style, bigger is often better. But finding the right style can be an arduous experience because you systematically try on and discount every option available in the opticians. Twice.

Thankfully, the internet has given rise to a slightly less painful way of picking the perfect pair – as a host of mail-order services offers a try-before-you-buy option, or can virtually fit your frames via a webcam. Such options can often be cheaper, too, thanks to lower overheads.

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