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.