Australian creatives show us their go
WORDS BY MAGGIE ZHOU
They’re real and they’re spectacular!
During my first year of high school, the world was a soft blur – quite literally speaking. I was walking around with unchecked short-sightedness, my eyes in a perpetual squint. I’d snag seats in the front row of classrooms to try to get a better look at the whiteboard (and would eventually nudge whoever was sitting next to me and ask to see their notes).
Like Sydney-based creative Ali Whittle, I lied about my bad eyesight for a long time. I was adamant I didn’t want glasses. Even when my optometrist told me they had clients purposely screwing up their eye test in order to weasel their way into getting a pair of frames, I didn’t budge in my disdain for eyewear.
While people like Arielle Richards used to wish for bad eyesight so they could wear glasses, I only warmed up to glasses in the last few years. Now, surrounded by stylish bespectacled folk, I’ve come to appreciate the accessory – they help me see, it’s the least I could do. Here, I tapped Ali, Arielle and several other Australian creatives with poor eyesight and asked them to show me what glasses they like wearing.
I have always loved matching my glasses to my outfit so I own quite a variety of spectacles, from thick, black statement frames to completely clear aviators. Lately, I’ve loved differentiating my work pair and at-home pair, and it’s helped me switch off when I’m not working. I do that with my perfumes too.
My work or social glasses are from Oscar Wylee. They’re a modern take on classic vintage round metal frames, but with rose gold because my complexion has pink undertones. I think of glasses as an extension [of] my style and another form of expression. It can be difficult, and rather expensive, for spectacle wearers to keep up with trends when one needs a certain prescription in them in order to see clearly.
We can’t always just go to the shops and buy a new pair of sunglasses if we forget ours on a trip, or buy the latest trending style of chunky statement spectacles going viral on TikTok. That’s why, for me at least, it’s important to invest in timeless frames that supersede fashion trends and align with authentic personal style.
I bought these glasses secondhand from Mutual Muse and the brand is Local Supply. Funnily enough, these are actually blue light glasses and I need optical glasses [or] contact lenses to see every day, but the peculiar shape [of these frames] meant I couldn’t leave them behind.
Now I wear these as more of an accessory, and while bold, the pearly shade looks great with all my ‘fits. I regret not buying a Gucci-esque pair (from Jimmy Fairly) in London last year. So now basically, if they’re not giant, I don’t want them.
I have needed glasses for a long time, ever since my ex read a sign about seven metres away and I was like, ‘You can read that?’ And he was like, ‘You can’t?’. That was about three years ago. As a child, I used to wish for bad eyesight so I could wear glasses because I’ve always found them sexy. Now, hot girls on TikTok are wearing clear-lensed glasses for the aesthetic and I’m losing my goddamn mind. I didn’t need to wish for bad eyesight! Why did I do that!
Anyway, OPSM was having a sale last year and I was so excited to get a bitchy pair of Miu Miu glasses. But I tried on every cute pair – Prada, Versace, you name it – and none really hit. They were so mid for the price, honestly. These Oakleys looked the best. Mum, who accompanied me, was smug because not only were they one of the cheapest in the store ($300), they were half off.
I was sad because I was ready to drop big coin on luxury glasses but they were all lacklustre. Thank fucking god these were cute because the prices on the glasses are only HALF of it. You’ve gotta pay for the lenses too, bitch! I wish someone would’ve told me. So, $300 for the frames, $300 for the glasses, half off = $300. I like them because they are minimal, chic and ultra-nerdy.
Three months after I got these, my prescription expired and they kind of hurt my eyes. I’m short-sighted so I only wear them when I’m driving, going to the movies, seeing a gig, when I want to give the impression there’s a single thought in my beautiful mind or when I feel the outfit demands glasses. Most of the time I don’t really need to see everything, you know? Like, walking around, something only becomes a threat when it’s within my field of vision. I don’t need to see any further. It’s not my business.
I got my specs from Bailey Nelson earlier this year; I typically go for lighter frames because darker ones always wash out my face and hide my features, but I knew I was shaving my head and I’d need something to frame my face more. These darker frames were perfect for me as they weren’t too thick, I just had to pay extra to get some nose pads installed since I don’t have a very high nose bridge to hold them up.
My glasses are from the brand Akila via Soda Shades [which is one of its] Australian stockists. I usually get the urge to change up my specs every eight to 10 months and usually struggle really hard decid[ing]. I’m always looking for something that’s stylish and grown-up, which I feel is really hard to come by as I find… mainstream ‘different’ optical brands can be a little too quirky or childish.
I found Akila’s shapes and colours to be very cool but in a subtle kind of way. Soda Shades [is] amazing because they can make any of their specs or sunglasses prescription and stock really cool brands to do so.
I’ve worn glasses since I was 13. I needed them way earlier than that but lied to my mum until I couldn’t get away with it any longer. Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of glasses. I shop all over; Specsavers, Bailey Nelson, Oscar Wylee, One Point Seven Four, OPSM – you name it, I’ve had an eye test there and bought glasses!
Currently, my favourites are a Celine pair I got in Los Angeles in January. I’ve created this tradition that every time I travel overseas, I buy a pair. What I love about Celine (and these frames) is the quality and the bold thick frame they make so well. I love the orangey-tortoiseshell colouring of these. I think when picking glasses I always want to look like I’m a very wealthy art gallery owner. That’s the vibe. They are a really fun (and very necessary) accessory that I love to play with and not take too seriously.
As someone who could only see up to 30cm in front of me since year 8, with my prescription changing every one-to-two years, you could say I’ve worn more than a few pairs of specs in my time. Since my glasses become essentially permanent fixtures on my face, I always aim to find a pair that compliments my style and can morph from casual to corporate.
My current pair is the Aerin frame from Oscar Wylee, a gold metal rectangular frame. I could say I love my glasses because I love gold but the true reason I felt drawn to them is because my dad has almost identical reading glasses. Secret style icon or what!
I’ve always had to wear glasses for reading [and] in the past, I’ve weathered migraines because I never felt that a pair of frames really suited me or my vibe. I finally gave up last year after two pregnancies changed my eyes for the worse (hello, long list of annoying post-pregnancy body changes that stay with you for life!) and headed into one of the biggest and most comprehensive eyewear stores in Melbourne: Hendersons Optical in The Strand.
Among their literal thousands of frames, I finally found a pair that I felt really suited my style: these black Tom Ford babies. They’re just a great statement frame, whilst also not being too crazy for this tee-and-jeans fanatic. They were poisonously expensive, but I felt they were a good investment for something I wear every day.
My current pair of glasses are from Specsavers‘ ‘home brand’ collection. I love the oversized, ’70s feel of these pilot-esque glasses. They’re a subtle shade of rose gold and have a little tortoiseshell detail on the end of their arms. The last few pairs of frames I’ve owned have all been this type of wire metal frame; I gravitate to them because they feel ‘softer’ on my face. These feel very ‘me’ – a real feat when it comes to choosing everyday glasses.
To find out more about glasses’ shapes, try this.
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