08 January 2010

Eyeglasses: Window-Frames to the Soul

My first glasses were heart-shaped sunglasses. They had little rainbows on the sides. I would love to find them again someday. - Glasses which say "cool" and "love" at the same time. There is nothing better.

My parents had glasses. My grandparents had glasses. So getting glasses just seemed like a milestone of growing up, a special fashion accessory for only the initiated. And my very bad prescription was just a badge of honor. I was initiated in the second grade. They were big. They were blue. They were plastic. New giant windows onto the the aquarium of life.

My friend Ed gave a great anthropological analysis of why we wear and like glasses in a response to "The History of Fashion and Ideas," so I thought I'd just pay a little homage here to the fashion accessory of the nerd: eyeglasses.

I've gone through several phases: wire frames, colors, neutrals, large, small. One of my favorites was the Dmitri Shostakovitch-T.S. Eliot eyeglass: dark, plastic and round. These glasses happened to be the fashion during my favorite era in classical music: early 20th-century Eastern European (Dmitri Shostakovitch, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok) and one of my favorite periods in literature: the Between the Wars or Lost Generation period (T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway).

Jazz, the cocktail, t-straps, and the drop-waist were all becoming popular at this time. Women had the vote! And Robert H. Goddard launched the first ever liquid-fueled rocket.

I've decided after several years of trying both, that I prefer plastic to wire frames. I've been blessed with a sufficiently large nose that I can keep most any frame on my face. I also feel that the wire frame tries too much to be discreet, whereas the plastic frame says "glasses-face" proudly, enthusiastically.

My new favorite is the clear plastic frame, though, which manages to be visible without committing to a color, such that you could truly wear them with anything.


  1. I object--in principle--to any wireframe glasses that look like they're trying to be inconspicuous. Glasses are an awesome accessory of which no one should be ashamed!

  2. Well said, Andrew! You have a very manly glasses-face!