The Case of Glasses for Fashion: Cool or Cruel?

I was surprised recently to discover that one of my bespectacled friends had become upset at a sudden rise of people she knew who wear glasses with clear fashion lenses, even though they don’t need glasses to see. She had taken this as an insult, as though her friends were taunting her and her eyesight (or lack of), instead of merely thinking glasses were cool enough to wear as a fashion accessory.


The trend for wearing glasses with clear lenses started in the 1960s and 1970s, when big fashion houses began producing designer frames and glasses became more of an accessory than they had been in the past. Through the 80s and 90s the trend continued, not least because of a new interest in one-style-fits-all Ray Ban Wayfarer glasses. With the amount of both affordable and designer frames available, we don’t have to worry that we’ll be handed a pair of huge thick goggles like we’ve seen our parents and grandparents wear.

Glass Frames Without Lenses

I wondered if my friend’s passionate rejection of the idea of fashion glasses was really warranted. Thinking back to my teenage years, I was reminded that when I wore braces I was both embarrassed and annoyed to have such a large amount of metal in my mouth and on show, especially when I smiled. Would I have been less embarrassed if people with straight teeth were wearing braces for fashion and choosing them as an accessory even though they didn’t need them? I probably would have – I wouldn’t have stood out as a black sheep with metal in my mouth, and I would’ve felt better about my appearance if I already had something that other people were getting just for fun.

That’s where the argument against glasses with blank fashion lenses falls short. While wearing glasses is traditionally thought of as a sign of intelligence, when even celebrities with good eyesight are donning for fashion campaigns, specs are now sexy whether we like it or not.


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The thought of needing to wear glasses does seem to worry some people but, after questioning other spectacle wearers, it seems to be the inconvenience that concerns them rather than the way they look. Even if that is an issue, most people can wear contact lenses which may be an annoyance but are undetectable to other people.

Being embarrassed about eyesight itself is needless as glasses go a long way to correcting the issue and they show that the wearer is doing something to help their problematic eyes. What’s more embarrassing is needing glasses and not doing anything about it, leaving your eyesight to get worse and your eyes to strain while even friends with perfect vision are looking cool in their non-prescription specs.

What do you think?

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1 Comment

  • Jim says:

    This is one of those types of questions that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer. I totally can understand the way a young lady that has worn glasses her whole life because without the world she sees is really very blurry. In many cases she has probably cusses her glasses more than once each morning when she does her makeup and then must put her glasses on blocking her hard work with her makeup. To her, her glasses are a curse she doesn’t want to have and her glasses are a necessity not something she even considers a fashion accessory. So i’m sure when she sees even a friend that was gifted with perfect eyesight and she is wearing glasses just for fashion sake she might be very upset with her. Like many have said wearing that you don’t really need is much like using crutches you don’t need. But I honestly think that because so many people now are wearing glasses as a result of staring at so many small screens glasses have just become a necessary vision aide. And with, especially so many very attractive glasses frames available, glasses have become almost as common for a woman to wear as ear rings or a necklace. For many years the only way you could get fake glasses was to buy them from your local optical shop and they were as expensive as glasses with prescription lenses. But now fake glasses are sold at many stores and boutiques for hardly anything. That has really made it affordable for many teen girls that actually like how glasses look. Sadly I know of several young ladies that were made fun of for wearing fake glasses and they finally were forced to order glasses on line with weak prescription lenses so their glasses would be real.

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