Fresh style insights, tips and commentary by Michelle Tea, Michael Braithwaite, Leo Plass, Page McBee and Carrie Leilam Love.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

4 Eyes 4-Ever

About two years ago, I began what has felt like a never-ending quest for the perfect pair of glasses. I think it all started when in Bolinas, CA, a couple summers ago I met this cute little surfer girl at a party who was donning a killer pair of tortoise shell vintage frames that she had “found at Good Will.” She made it sound so easy…

Hers were kind of like this:

They were big but not “geeky” per se. Very unique in a 70s Mom kind of way – so cute! I too wanted to be The Girl with the Cute Glasses! And thus my never-ending quest began.

I think that ideally I would like to be someone with an obscenely large & diverse collection of glasses that I switch out constantly. I would keep them in an enormous walk-in closet filled with velvet-lined glass cases, and I would go through them as frivolously as one would pieces of gum or nail polish colors or $4 earrings from H&M. I could have a different pair to go with each of my awesomely creative outfits. Kind of like Thora Birch as Enid in Ghost World:

Searching Bay Area thrift stores for a used pair did not prove fruitful – everything is always so picked over; it would take days and weeks of adamant searching to stumble upon anything good, and I have a job, people! Shopping for them online was just too risky ­– we all know that what looks like a cute pair of glasses online so often takes on the effect of “Bug-Eye Goggles” or “50s Halloween costume” when actually placed on a human face.

So then I went to LA, and entered the wonderful eyewear fashion porthole that is LA Eyeworks, where I saw these:

Very cute in theory, but alas, on my face – I looked like I was “going 50s.”

Then these:

A classic, streamlined plastic frame in a color deliciously named Apple Drop. Yum. Okay, certainly material for the Extravagant Walk-in Glasses Closet, where I prance around like a near-sighted Carrie Bradshaw, trying on pair after pair and flinging them haphazardly into piles.

LA Eyeworks’ “Drive In” frame almost had me sold. A thick frame in metal? Such an ingenious combination. I can’t find them in gold/pink (the color combo I LOVED) but here they are in also-cute black:

And perhaps awesomest of all:

“They’re aviators, but sexy because they’re for girls,” the saleswoman told me. Uh huh. Also, they come in "Forest Green." Like, you know, the forest? Visceral color names really get me.

Rims & Goggles in Marin & San Francisco also have some really great, fun, unusual frames. These kinda blow my mind:

They remind me of the vintage pair that my friend lovingly calls her “Joan Didion glasses.” And they only come in about a bajillion different colors. Unlike Joan Didion, though, I could not pull this style off. I looked like I was wearing… bug goggles.

Dita also makes some pretty knock-your-socks-off frames. Like these:

Put on these glasses, and it’s like… yeah, you’re super hip & put-together, but you’re also just gonna go sip some milkshakes at the roller rink before heading over to the sock hop in your fav poodle skirt – no big! They are pretty near perfect.

Kind of like these, from Zenni Optical, an online store that sells glasses for as low as $8, prescription lenses included!

Oh, beloved material possessions. With cheap online glasses boutiques like this at my disposal, the Walk-In Glasses Closet may be more than just a dream after all…

Ultimately, it’s simply too hard for me to decide on just one pair. Someday, when I win the lottery and stuff, I just might have every one of these gorgeous frames in my Extravagant Walk-In Glasses Closet. Until then, I’ll have to settle for the vicarious thrill of the perfect-glasses chase to keep me going.


  1. GLASSES!!! I so wish I needed glasses. I squint, I read in dim light, I do anything I can, but I still don't get to wear my favorite accessory. I love those round tortoise shell ones!

  2. $8 glasses! Thank you for the public service announcement.

  3. If you are in the market for a brand new pair of glasses, I would VERY highly recommend They offer pretty, fashion and quality glasses at cheaper prices. They offer inexpensive prices because they manufacture their own frames and deliver to their direct customers with low or no advertising cost at all.