Thursday, May 30, 2013

Four Eyes and Fabulous: My Life in Spectacles

When I got my first pair of prescription glasses in the tenth grade, it felt like a fate worse than death. I hated wearing them and basically didn't, choosing instead to sit in the front row and squint through class rather than pull out my boring wire frames.  A few years later in university, things were no better. Refusing to wear my glasses when hitting the bars, my friends made a game out of sending me to say hi to the "cute" guy waving from a distance. I'd get up close and personal only to realize he wasn't quite my type. Not funny!

New Frames (L) vs. Old Frames (R)
Around my twentieth birthday, I finally got contact lenses and the ability to see clearly while preserving my vanity but the grass isn't always greener. If you wear contacts and have worn them for a long time, you know what I mean. There are dry eyes and irritations to deal with, not to mention always having to stay stocked with a fresh pair and solution, just in case. 

As I get a little older and wiser and stylish frames become a lot more affordable, I've started to realize that having to wear glasses is kind of fabulous! It's a legitimate excuse to wear a bold accessory every single day and it can be an awesome way to share your personal style when you work in an environment that might stifle your fashion sense otherwise.  If you don't believe me, please understand that there are people who purchase sunglasses without tint so they can be like us. We're trendsetters baby!

Of course, wearing the same accessory day in and day out can be a little boring unless you happen to find a pair that you absolutely adore. Unfortunately, when I find love at first sight it's usually priced waaaay up there. I don't mind forking over the cash but I'm just never sure that I'll love them the morning after. What if I spend all this money, get bored of them and revert back to my contacts? I don't want to end up with investment eyewear in my bureau gathering dust. 

Earlier this year I figured out that what I really want is my own little collection of fabulous frames that I can wear on rotation and with various looks. If you can relate, I'm happy to report I've finally found a solution for all of us. 

New *Prescription* Shades (L) vs. Old Shades (R)
I've been ordering contacts online from Clearly Contacts for years and knew they also sold frames but never paid much attention until they started carrying designer brands like Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Yves Saint Laurent, and offering a trendier selection including their very chic and affordable collaboration label with Derek Cardigan. Frames start at just $38 making it really easy to pick out a few pairs that you love without breaking the bank. 

I have to admit it. Even though the prices are awesome, I've always been worried that it would be too complicated to order glasses online. I'd visit the Clearly Contacts site when there was an awesome promo running (check Facebook where they often have a "First Pair Free" offer) and select my favourite styles but I didn't buy, worrying that I'd be disappointed when they got to my front door. Though I was graciously gifted my frames this time and there was no risk of buyers remorse, I have to say my fears about ordering glasses online really couldn't be further from the truth. As long as you have your full prescription and a ruler or measuring tape to figure out the dimensions that will fit your face, you're all set. They've also got tons of tutorials on every step of the fit and ordering process plus a "try on view" so you can upload your own photo and see how they might look. The best part is that even if you use all these tools and still happen to mess up, you can return them for a full refund

So what did I choose to start my personal eyewear collection, you ask? Well, I'm a lover of vintage and am so over the really safe frames I had from years past so I picked out 2 pairs of dramatic Derek Cardigan frames from the recently launched summer collection that both have a bit of a retro vibe. I chose oversized cat eye sunnies in jet black and a geeky chic pair in ice to go with everything for my everyday. The fit is great and they each arrived with protective cases and a handy little spray cleaner and cloth plus a tiny screwdriver. I stashed one in my car and the other in my purse. I thoroughly love my new frames and have gotten tons of compliments... of course, this also means I have already started creating a little wish list on Clearly Contacts to add a few more specs to my collection very soon. 

-- Tamika Auwai is our resident Style Editor, Shopping Enthusiast and Wardrobe Expert

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