Taking requests: Where to find glasses

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My friend Peggy writes: “I keep contemplating the current fashion for wire rims and thinking that once one is a certain age they risk making you look granny-ish but also that perhaps my very thick plastic frames are totally out of style, but I don’t really know, and I wonder if there are types or styles of frames that are timeless that we can wear at our age without looking granny-ish.” I really heard this request: I’ve been in a thick plastic frames rut for ages. This pair, from Warby Parker, at least lightens things up a bit.

Caddis sells prescription frames and readers too, and the company has a pro-aging message I can really get behind. These square-ish wire frames are cool in a really subtle way.

EyeBuyDirect traffics in knockoffs of classic frames, like these, which bear an uncanny resemblance to the Ray Ban Clubmaster.

Look Optic offers readers and prescription frames too, and has slightly trendier items up for grabs, like this very 70s-ish pair.

Ray Ban is a fantastic source for timeless frames, like these aviators.

Zenni Optical offers very well-priced frames, like this round-ish pair that rings in at just under $25.

Glasses USA sells—among other things—discounted designer frames, like this Bottega Veneta cat eye pair, as well as a trove of Celine.

Peepers is another wallet-friendly option; I’m partial to this pair, in a weird but somehow appealing green.

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38 Thoughts on Taking requests: Where to find glasses
    Morgan
    11 May 2022
    1:03pm

    Selima Optique in NYC is my go to. Great frames and a great experience if you happen to have Selima herself help you. You can bring your prescription or get examined at the Soho location

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    Kelly
    11 May 2022
    8:23am

    I have always bought glasses online, with pretty much good results across the board. Mostly I have shopped at eyebuydirect.com (waiting for a pair from them right now). They were SO CHEAP – about $32 for high-index lenses and frames. EBD always has good sale codes, so check it out. And about the dupes – my current everyday frame is an exact dupe for the Warby Parkers posted above. I think the frames were $32.

    Other than that, I have gotten glasses from Zenni, Look Optic, Hip Optical, and Glasses USA, where I purchased some Ray-Ban New Wayfarers with custom lenses. I love them, but they are so heavy on my face. Even when I got thinner lenses, they just put so much pressure on my nose and behind my ears.

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    Lori
    13 May 2022
    6:10pm

    No glasses discussion would be complete without a mention of super-budget-friendly https://www.payneglasses.com/! (-:

    Found out in October, after relying on contacts for nearly 40 years (for severe myopia), that I couldn’t wear contact lenses anymore, and was devastated; glasses make for an entirely different life, and my long, big-nosed face is very hard to fit.

    Searched high and low at every price point, and finally found a lovely, fairly pricey pair of rose-gold aviators at Garrett Leight Optical (applying insurance and a gift card for much of it) — but found on first wearing that they’re fragile; and as the pair is the last of its kind, I began googling around for inexpensive glasses frames. Stumbled across Payne on IG, and began diversifying my glasses wardrobe with great success!

    Payne’s prices are incredible, the quality surprisingly excellent, and if you know the measurements that fit your face, the frames are great-looking! I find that I wear my $5.95 Sosa Aviators a thousand times more often than the fancy Garrett Leights.

    Incidentally, not only is trying to function wearing glasses difficult compared to contact lenses — no vision up or down, no peripheral vision, no depth perception, can’t shower in them, how would one even begin to ocean swim??, etc. — but it seriously threw me for a loop trying to figure out how to get dressed wearing glasses. They change a look so much! So I began searching phrases like, “stylish middle-aged women wearing glasses,” and so on, and discovered that Jenna Lyons and Carla Rockmore, both on IG, are stylish glasses-wearers. Their posts have been inspiring and helpful!

    On that note, if Kim sees this comment — it would be absolutely amazing if Jenna or Carla might be able to join your podcast … (-:

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    CeeJay
    10 May 2022
    9:55am

    Anyone have recomendations for good low bridge fit brands? Places like Warby Parker and Ray Ban have low bridge fit glasses but they don’t really fit me very well (glasses slide down and sit on top of my cheeks, super annoying). There are some more specialized frame companies (mostly based in Asia) I have seen online and wondering if those might be better …

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      LisaH
      10 May 2022
      12:37pm

      I came here to comment that I bought a low bridge style of sunglasses from Warby Parker and was very happy with them – I like oversized frames and they always seem to sit on my cheeks.

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      Jeanne
      10 May 2022
      6:28pm

      CeeJay: I know you can buy post market add-ons for low bridges. If you have access to a local Zoomer Lenses, they will install some on your existing lenses (possibly mail in too).

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    cw
    10 May 2022
    9:38am

    Since eye sight doesn’t get better with age, glasses are something we all have to deal with so best to get frames you love than to settle. A friend of mine has several pairs of glasses with the same prescription and when I commented on the expense she said, “Well, you don’t have just one pair of shoes or just one hand bag. And your glasses are the first thing people see when they look at your face.” So, so true. I’m thinking that grey Zenni pair would look good with grey/white hair––black just looks too harsh on me these days and my current frames are vintage black ones that I picked up at Brooklyn Flea years ago when it was really a flea market and not a more upscale venue. One more thing for my attempting-to-leave-the-house-and-go-back-into-society-post-pandemic list. (even though we may never REALLY be post pandemic)

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      Susanna
      10 May 2022
      11:37am

      Agreed about glasses—I love to have multiple pairs to switch things up. But that’s gotten much, much harder now that I wear progressives and they cost so much. At least at Zenni they’re under 200 bucks.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        10 May 2022
        11:38pm

        And the worst is when you spend $360 on progressive glasses, stupidly thinking that you have vision insurance because you did the previous year only to discover that the only benefit of your current plan is to lower your eye exam cost from $45 to $25 after you’ve already purchased said glasses that don’t work for you. Angry? What do you mean?

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    Doyenne
    10 May 2022
    12:19pm

    This GoaCA is still straddling the “just before bifocals” (or whatever they’re called these days) line which means I still use single-vision glasses and then have to pop those thangs up on top of my head for various reading activities throughout the day. (For some reason my Doc says this is normal and it’s preferable to have my kind of nearsightedness, to which I reply with a very pointed side-eye—I find it totally odd to hold my phone so close to my face.) Ergo, I have learned the hard way that all my wire-rimmed specs with those little plastic nose things will undoubtedly get completely tangled in my hair, so now it’s only the plastic/smooth nose bridge frames for me. Really sad about all my cute wire frames from when I used to binge-buy at SEE, have to see if I can find new homes for them.

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      LisaH
      10 May 2022
      12:39pm

      Yup – I am a chronic wearing-my-sunglasses-on-top-of-my-head person, and learned that smooth plastic frames sans nose pieces are much better as hair accessories.

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    LeighTX
    10 May 2022
    10:27am

    My husband and I have bought our glasses at Smith’s Opticians in Houston for almost 20 years now, and we both get compliments all the time on our frames–my current favorites are my French vintage aviator sunglasses. They have recently opened an online store and offer a good selection of both vintage and current frames, and their prices are reasonable: https://smithsopticians.com/

    It’s a fun spot to visit in Houston; it’s been open since the 60s and is owned by the original owner’s son. It’s always a treat to need new glasses–I call it “buying my new face.”

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      grldchz
      10 May 2022
      1:43pm

      I am really really digging their Copacabana frames in purple, but they don’t appear to offer returns on frames only. Might be worth a call to find out for sure.

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    Elisabeth
    10 May 2022
    11:13am

    Great post! I only need readers at the moment, as my distance vision magically improved. (Randomness of aging! Fun!) When I wore glasses all day, Warby Parker was my go to, and I can vouch for their quality and customer service. Very sturdy frames.

    Now that I’m readers only, my go to’s are Peepers and Foster Grant. Both are sturdy and inexpensive, and FG makes multi focus readers meant for computer work that are perfect for cooking, at least for me. I have these clunky guys, but they come in a few styles:

    https://www.fostergrant.com/conan-config

    Speaking of computers, if you look at screens a lot, and who doesn’t, get blue light blocking glasses! I thought allergies were making my eyes puffy and red, but it was eye strain, and the blue light blocking lenses cleared that right up.

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    Elyse
    10 May 2022
    11:23am

    Not low budget but FANTASTIC. Go see Kenneth at Ahlem on 228 Elizabeth St. NYC. He changed my look and possibly my life. Not kidding: https://www.ahlemeyewear.com/

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      Cola
      11 May 2022
      9:10am

      Whoa! Those are some amazing (and amazingly expensive) glasses! But I might have just found my perfect pair…

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    Rose
    10 May 2022
    11:37am

    Thank you for this post. 🙂 I had a good experience ordering glasses and Rx sunglasses from Zenni back in 2019. They had a 20% off sale and I paid $40 for each pair. Three years later and both pairs are still going strong, though I will probably order some new ones this year for fun and because they’re super affordable.

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    Ann
    10 May 2022
    11:37am

    I’m a Warby fan! I love their virtual try so when I go to the store I’m not overwhelmed by the choices. They make it so easy! And in some of their frames they have smaller sizes!

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    Joannawnyc
    10 May 2022
    11:42am

    I would just mention that I’ve had good experiences just going to a frame place and trying stuff on to see what looks good on me (I am very blind so taking selfies w/o my glasses is a challenge but I did it) then look for similar items online. I have a wide face with a narrow high nose bridge and high cheekbones so I always need to try on to make sure the frames don’t slide down my nose or bump up when I smile. I also have a heavy prescription so the frames have to be strong enough to hold the lenses! Warby Parker in NYC was good for this but I’ve also tried it locally.

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    e
    10 May 2022
    11:52am

    It does get hard as you age, with progressives, the fit has to be just right to be able to see. I found that I need a good optiocian to measure correctly , and there are some better than others…when I was young it did not matter so much.

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      dkl
      11 May 2022
      12:24pm

      This. I bought prescription sunnies online a few years ago, and the measurements must be slightly off, because they never felt right–like my eyes were stretching or something. Now I’m afraid to try it again, but I think my last pair were $800 at my doctor’s office, so it might be worth another try.

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    Tara
    10 May 2022
    12:13pm

    One tip–when you get your eyes checked, ask that your optometrist or ophthalmologist not only check for prescription updates, ask that they measure your pupillary distance and include that with your prescription. That way if you get frames elsewhere (I have been a Warby Parker customer for years) you have the pupillary distance in hand, measured by a professional.

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    Lesley W
    10 May 2022
    12:39pm

    @Kim thank you so much for posting this – from a GOACA who has been on glasses since age 14. ❤️❤️❤️

    @Tara – thanks for the PSA! I have been ordering online from EyeBobs for years! Super user friendly website and lightning quick shipping. They’ll do prescription sunnies, too.

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      Lesley W
      10 May 2022
      12:42pm

      *in* glasses – though clearly they don’t save you from the dreaded autocorrect!

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    Kim
    10 May 2022
    12:47pm

    I’ve been looking for a pair of clear readers for a while, and am thinking of getting these:

    https://occichiarieyewear.com/products/occi-chiari-reading-glasses-for-women-oversized-reader-1-0-2-75?variant=40586660872303

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      Ashley
      11 May 2022
      8:05am

      I had clear frame glasses for a while but they drove me nuts because I could never SEE them if they were on a table. But they looked great on, ha!

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    Nina M.
    10 May 2022
    1:21pm

    If possible, can you do a spring Jean jacket roundup? I’m flummoxed and want some different style from my classic one! THANK YOu! You’re picks are AMAZING

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    grldchz
    10 May 2022
    1:40pm

    Seriously considering those Look Optic frames as my new (Rx) sunglasses. Sure wish my vision insurance allowed for online purchases.

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    Betsy P
    10 May 2022
    1:53pm

    Krewe sunglasses has an optical line now that is as amazing as their sunnies. That’s my splurge for the Summer.

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    Peggy O.
    10 May 2022
    2:44pm

    THANK YOU, KIM! And all of you!! I have worn glasses since age 9, but wore contacts from 8th grade until I got to the point where I needed readers. I hated putting readers on OVER my contacts! And now progressives, prisms, etc it’s a whole thing. But I shall go forward in confidence with your advice! XO

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    mlinky
    10 May 2022
    4:17pm

    I have had a really good experience with Costco. I am very very nearsighted and farsighted, and need thin progressive lenses. I bought high index progressive lenses in Gucci frames for just over $300 from Costco. Great fit and vision.

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      C.D.
      11 May 2022
      8:48am

      The other great thing about Costco, my husband found when he tried progressive lenses and realized he hated them, is Costco remade them as bifocals for free.

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      Jeanne
      10 May 2022
      6:37pm

      I have Costco progressive/high index lenses in Tom Ford and Furla frames and prescription sunglasses in Kate Spade (who knew you can get designer frames at Costco!) I’ve been very happy with them. Their prices are great and the non scratch coating & polarization are included. I have had three pairs of Warby Parkers over the years and the lens coating tended to wear away terribly on mine so on a whim I tried Costco and have been happier.

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    Lara
    10 May 2022
    4:28pm

    I am now at the stage where I have glasses for long distance vision, ones for computer distance vision and no glasses for reading – ugh. I have been very happy with eyebuydirect’s Canadian site. I appreciate the reviewers that post selfies of themselves wearing the glasses. A pic of someone whose face shape is similar to mine has been a much better predictor of suitability than the computer-generated “try on” or the model pics, for me.

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    MeezStephanie
    10 May 2022
    4:52pm

    I am tempted by Dresden, which is trying to ‘democratize the eyewear business. They boiled it down to just ONE frame, but many colours to choose from, and very low prices. they’re Australian but they’re in Canada and looks like they ship abroad: https://dresden.vision/
    Jenn will appreciate their options for A POP OF COLOUR (see, we are listening to EIF, haha)!

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    Dana
    10 May 2022
    7:49pm

    Krewe from New Orleans is my new favorite for prescription and sunglasses.

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    Eliza
    10 May 2022
    9:56pm

    I finally decided to try purchasing spectacles online and wish I’d done it sooner! I’ve now purchased four pairs from Zenni and that’s still less than half of what I usually had to pay for one in a brick and mortar optical shop. I purchased two each of mid-range and far progressives (for computer work and driving respectively). Now I have backups for each type of use. Serious to fun styles, great prices, and quality lenses. Lots of different fits. The universal fit works well for me as they don’t sit on my cheeks and my lashes don’t brush the lenses. Highly recommend.

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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