I Can See Clearly Now

I Can See Clearly Now

Thanks to sunblock and exercise, our forties are not our grandmothers’ forties. But there is one part of the body that has continued to age as it did, unswayed by lifestyle choices: the eyeballs.
In Q3 2015 I went from being a person who wore reading glasses for ease to being a person who is literally unable to read without glasses. The photographer assures me that this is not unusual, but I feel both anxiety (Where does this end?) and resentment (Why me?) over this change.
For all that, I do like trying on glasses at optical shops and I decided to acquire some new ones. I am sharing my glasses with you with some misgivings; while everyone else looks great (or at least normal) in glasses, I think I look slightly deranged in them because (a) the prescription (magnification) makes my eyes look huge and (b) the frames often sit crookedly on my slightly (just a bit) asymmetrical skull.
But let it never be said that The Directrice shies away from the difficult topics!

These are my sensible, normal glasses: thin black “Pal” plastic frames by L.A. Eyeworks. I bought these almost twenty years ago. This shape — rectangular, neither over- or under-sized — is always chic.
Nana Mouskouri
Nana Mouskouri

Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly
In 2014 I decided to embrace the revival of the big glasses and bought these over-sized black Wayfarer shaped glasses, “Pop” by L.A. Eyeworks Fiction. Larger lenses are so much easier to see through.

Unfortunately the Buddy Holly glasses are heavy. So last month — when I realized that I would need to wear reading glasses every day, for longer portions of the day — I went to Insight Opticians in downtown D.C. to look for lighter frames. I found two pairs of glasses that suit me very well.
The first is a pair of dark brown tortoiseshell frames, “Arty” by Anne et Valentin.
Harry Potter
Harold Lloyd
Harry Potter looks off into the middle distance
Harold Lloyd looks off into the middle distance, which actually is blurry through reading glasses

At the risk of sounding like I am reading directly from the Restatement of the Obvious (1st ed.), tortoiseshell frames are an excellent choice for just about everyone. You just need to find a tortoise with the right undertones for your coloring. I tend to think that tortoiseshell works best when it provides some contrast with hair color: for me, that means a dark tortoise with my auburn hair.
Tortoise-shell cat
Tortoiseshell cat, contrast

Wise Owl
Wise Owl
I like bright, colored frames. So European. I love red frames, but something about this blue pair spoke to me. I think they will look beautiful with black, charcoal grey, and white clothes. These Monoqool frames were 3-D printed (novelty!) in Denmark (Europe!) and are as light as a feather.

Do these glasses make me look smart?
Do these glasses make me look smart?
Yes, you look like a genius; you're the Directrice!
You look like a genius; you’re the Directrice!

For those who are wondering about what colors look best with various hair and skin colors, I found this guide, which seemed credible to me. I know nothing, however, about the vendor. I can provide a full-throated endorsement for Insight Opticians. They maintain a terrific selection of frames, are terrifically patient while you try on every pair, and offer excellent advice about the most flattering looks on the customer.

Have a fantastic weekend!

14 thoughts on “I Can See Clearly Now”

  1. I loved the color guide. When I first needed reading glasses, at about forty, I looked forward to it because glasses are an accessory and I love accessories. The selection of readers is wonderful today. I have never gotten any in an optical shop. Most of mine have come from Nordstrom, and most are Kate Spade. I like them to coordinate with my outfit, but not be too matchy. I agree with you, there’s a tortoise for everyone. I had dark hair similar to yours that is now salt and pepper and I have a pair of dark tortoise glasses that are lined in Aqua that I love.

    • Hi Julia — Kate Spade makes terrific glasses. I friend of mine was just showing me hers, which are a lively navy blue (plastic); the inside is striped. You are also correct in pointing out that a number of manufacturers are producing ready-made reading glasses. Most department stores have a selection and Garnet Hill (www.garnethill.com) carries a line called Eyebobs.

  2. Dear Directrice,

    I’ve successfully lurked and enjoyed every adventurous posting until I came up on today’s. It has caused the Amusing Girlfriend to set down her demitasse, clutch her pearls with anxiety and dash off a note to beg the Directrice to reconsider her eyewear choice if it is not too late. You have such a love of color, geometry and are in possession of gamine beauty. The blue is lovely but I believe you could benefit from a bolder choice! Why not try another vibrant designer (which btw is a sister company to Anne et Valentin) THEO. Kindly view this suggestion: http://www.theo.be/en/collections/eye-witness-va-ve/#/-. What is that objection I hear? Yours is a serious profession and playful eyewear is not allowed? Amusing Girlfriend is similarly situated and, in addition to herself, a devotee of amusing specs, often encounters CEO’s and others of gravitas sporting funky glasses. Friendly, colorful and artsy eyewear makes one approachable and engaging. I believe you are such a person given your gift for highly artistic and personalized fashion. Love your blog and look forward to the next installment! AG

    • Hello Amusing Girlfriend! So glad you’ve come out of the shadows . . . I love the Eye-witness glasses you linked (THEO) and also the Games collection. SO fun. I predict that there will be many more pairs of glasses in my life before I close the law reporters for good. My next pair shall be more adventurous! I’m so glad you’ve been lurking and hope that you will chime in in the future.

  3. I too wear glasses with blue frames, and can attest they go well with a wide range of clothing colors. My own preference is a minimal frame, with no color showing along the lower edge of the lens. I wear them all day long, so a light weight frame is essential.

    • Hi Bee — The partial frame is very appealing and I also like frameless glasses. The optical shop had some Japanese models with the most minimal of framing components (a bridge and arms) which you could select from a wide range of colors. They almost weren’t there at all, but they were very expensive!

      • The most important thing, to me, about reading glasses is that one have them at hand.
        It’s very bad to be someplace and not be able to read a menu, sign or whatever. The squinting, holding things far away, bothering your spouse to read things to you, and/or complaining about how type has gotten so small marks you as OLD.

    • Bonjour Bernard, Je l’ai été l’alimentation de vos commentaires via Google traduire et tiens à vous remercier pour votre généreuse éloges. Je suis profondément curieux de savoir comment vous avez trouvé mon site – je suppose via un autre site – mais peut-être vous me direz la prochaine fois que vous postez un commentaire? Meilleurs voeux et merci pour la lecture! la Directrice P.S. I put my response through Google translate, too. I hope it works.

  4. Hi, Directrice, I have those Kate Spade navy glasses with the stripes inside! I love them. I am familiar with eye bobs. There’s a nice specialty store on Bellevue AV. in Newport, RI, Michael Hayes, that carries them.

  5. Love the eyewear post! I’ve worn glasses since I was 7 years old… That’s a long time. I own a wide collection due to my penchant for change and enjoy many shapes and colors. To me, glasses are the ultimate accessory… since aren’t the eyes the windows to the soul?

  6. Until a few years ago, I had no idea that my face was also slightly asymmetrical, and hence affects the fit of glasses and sunglasses. I mostly find now that the best fit is provided by those that have little rests on the nose, rather than sitting directly on my face.

    Choice of glasses though is not only a personal thing, but also varies so much on the where and when of usage, and so I have come to understand that a small wardrobe of glasses is a useful thing. Now to build one…

    I must admit that I prefer the Nana M glasses, though likely because that is my preference for shape – however I thank Amusing Girlfriend for her suggestion as I think they would look smashing on you.

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