A lookers guide to spicing up your specs life
Given a choice, most stylish people choose to wear glasses, so make sure your frames make a statement
Putting fashion back into vision: Anne Hathaway. Photograph: John Sciulli/Getty Images
Putting the fashion back into vision: Grace Woodward. Photograph: Mike Marsland/WireImage
Putting fashion back into vision: Jenna Lyon. Photograph: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage
Putting fashion back into vision: J Leona Lewis. Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images
I got my first pair of glasses – two for the price of one, of course, at Specsavers in the Square, Tallaght – at the age of 13. It wasn’t all that surprising, given that both of my parents are short-sighted spectacle-wearers, and I was quite pleased with the whole thing. There was something satisfying about having my complaints about fuzzy blackboards and faraway faces justified, although in hindsight, as a 13-year-old with gold train tracks and a short brown afro, I should have been more concerned.
In my latter years, however, glasses-wearing has become a bit more complicated. Unable to wear contacts due to dry eyes, I am often forced to choose between style and function. At the cinema, specs are a sure thing, but what of weddings? Should I sacrifice having a good look at the dress in favour of not ruining the look of my own?
Lorna Weightman, fashion commentator, has been wearing glasses since she was six years old. “I’m almost 31 now, so that’s quite a while,” she says.
“My first glasses were light blue and oval shaped – horrendous looking. Towards teenage years I got really paranoid about them and I felt quite unstylish but as I got older, I realised how versatile they could be.”
Now, though Weightman doesn’t need to wear glasses 24/7 – “I’m long-sighted, so I wear mine for reading and at the computer” – she finds herself opting to wear them, even going so far as to buy clear lenses. “I wear them as an accessory.”
Sonya Lennon, TV stylist and designer, is new to the specs party, and has not gone quite so far as Weightman in her incorporation of her spectacles into her style. “I started wearing glasses a year ago, and actually I wasn’t best pleased about it,” says Lennon. “It gave me quite the reality check – that I wasn’t invicible, and that I’m ageing.”
Though Lennon says that glasses can, and do, look fabulous on some people – “look at Iris Apfel, who made them such a great addition to her look” – she admits that she can’t quite get on board with her own.
“I love my glasses [by designer Thierry Lasry] and I love the look of glasses in general, but I prefer my face without them.”
But Lennon is, as she says, relatively new to glasses-wearing, and at some stage, they become as much a part of one’s “look” as a hairstyle or signature flick of eyeliner. Now, I see photographs of myself without them and I feel like a swimmer in a strapless dress: there’s too much skin, too much face on show.
It does, however, speak volumes that it’s rare to find a celebrity wearing glasses on the red carpet. Meryl Streep wears hers at awards ceremonies – and was memorably left cursing her blindness when she left them on the table at 2012’s Golden Globes and was unable to read her speech – and Victoria’s Secret models wear theirs to play sexy secretary, but it would seem that, in the world of high glamour, glasses just don’t quite fit in.
“Glasses can make a statement though,” says Lennon. “Whether you like it or not, your frames, and choosing to wear them, gives a message, as much as what you wear anywhere else on your body.”