The day wearing glasses suddenly became cool – words Amy Turnbull

Four eyes. Square. Geek. Just a few of the names that once upon a time someone with bad eyesight would have been called. Wearing glasses was always something only dweebs, your grandparents, and science teachers wore, not trendy people constantly on the cutting edge of fashion. That is, until it became widely accepted that you could wear glasses and be cool. Who would have thought?

 

This new-found specs appeal essentially started to flourish when the likes of Topshop, Primark, and H&M got their hands on them, specifically, the selling of glasses with non-prescription, clear lenses. Though it might have been puzzling to real spectacle wearers to discover that people with perfect eyesight were strutting around with glasses, this undoubtedly led to a swift change in how this item was perceived. Plus any good optician can give tips for wearing glasses for the first time. No longer something annoying to wear on your face, glasses became an absolute must-have fashion accessory.

James Minor, the 34-year-old founder of ToyShades, believes it’s all down to accessibility and price. “You wouldn’t walk into an optician and think, ‘Today I’m going to try a pair of clear lens glasses even though I have perfect vision.’ But in Topshop it’s a no-brainer: you put them on, you look good, and they’re £20,” Minor says.

Plus, let’s not ignore the huge celebrity influence. When Emma Watson, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston, and Anne Hathaway all look undeniably gorgeous and cool wearing glasses, who’s to say otherwise? Plus now women have learnt how to do eye makeup with glasses. And if these pics of spectacled celebrity hunks doesn’t get hearts racing, then nothing will. Give us JT and Gosling in a pair of frames any day of the week. Oh, and good news for anyone too afraid to walk out in public with Napoleon Dynamite-esque glasses, then you’re in luck, as aviator frames are apparently officially cool now.

Mass market appeal and celebrity endorsement notwithstanding, it doesn’t hurt that prescription glasses are actually being designed to look good. When major brands like Burberry, D&G, and Prada are getting on board with designer glasses, you know things are getting serious. Tom Ford himself described the beauty of a well-crafted pair of glasses: “In eyewear, it is the small detailing that expresses the luxury. Custom crafted hinges, unusual colour mélanges, or simply the look of empty space around the lenses – these are what make accessories into precious objects,” he said.

Of course, no ride to the top comes without a bit of turbulence. Glasses-wearing, in general, suffered a setback when Google Glass was introduced to stunned silence in 2013. Not only did they look incredibly stupid, but they nearly made glasses return to a place they tried so hard to get out of: the realm of the nerd. Luckily, Google Glass was practically over before it began, and spectacle wearers could breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

However, the idea of wearable tech is far from over, as Apple is heavily rumoured to be working on augmented reality glasses. If Apple’s other beautifully-designed products are anything to go by, it’s a safe bet these would look uber cool. Also, Snapchat recently released their Spectacles sunglasses, but there’s still no word on whether they’ll release a non-tinted version.

Swords, magic, and dragons are hip thanks to The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, comic books are on-trend due to Thor, Iron Man, and Batman movies, and Zooey Deschanel turned ‘dork’ into ‘adorkable’ courtesy of New Girl. Wearing glasses can unquestionably be entered into the Hall of Cool now, so what’s next? Stamp collecting? Perhaps not just yet.

The day wearing glasses suddenly became cool – words Amy Turnbull

 

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