For Girls (… and Boys) Who Wear Glasses

EyewearHello, my name is Debra and I’m a glasses-a-holic. But even though I’m confessing, I don’t want you to think I’m ready to repent. Not by a long shot. So far, I’ve purchased three pairs of eyeglasses and one pair of prescription sunglasses this year and I am jonesing for at least two additional pair: One set of blue frames from Warby Parker and another set of birch-tinted lucite frames from Coastal.com.

Last year, I donated six pair of glasses to help people with vision problems in need. I felt pretty good until the lady at the counter remarked with surprise, “Wow, I don’t think we’ve ever had one person donate this many.” I wanted to tell her to shut it, but it was all for a good cause so I smiled and said, “glad to help.”

The truth is that my eyeglass cup was running over and I needed the space without the guilt. It’s true I own glasses in the double-digit range but I don’t consider it excessive. I have more bras than glasses and bras are not technically essential for my day-to-day life and well-being. And not that there’s a phenomenal democratization of eyewear purchasing, I can feed my addiction … I mean pastime, without a trip to the doctor or a limited selection. If I can imagine a pair of frames I can acquire them online.

But I was surprised that so many people weren’t aware or were distrustful of online eyeglass finds. Naturally, I had to write a column about it and do lots of research on websites offering glasses and, well, yes, this accounted for one of my purchases this year. But it was a $15.95 pair of frames that I’m insanely in love with from Coastal.com. The first pair is free so I only had to pay for shipping and handling. Even at regular price, the frames were only $78 and I’ll confess that the most expensive pair of frames I own were by Judith Leiber and cost nearly $1,000.

The expensive pair didn’t give me a fraction of the enjoyment that I get from the $16 pair.

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch column mug by photographer Attilio D’Agostino

Shopping online is easy and usually risk free. Most sites (at least the ones you want to experiment with) have great return policies and most will take them back for free even after you’ve had them a good long while.

It seems too good to be true, but it’s not.

The only caveat is learning the lingo and easy tips for figuring out the frame measurements that best suit your face in millimeters (this might take a little practice but pay attention to lens width and height and the length of the frame arms very carefully.

Double-click the print version of the article below to read or head over to my workplace blog and read Online eyewear, tips, tricks and tidbits on a single page.

You’ll notice that my column mug below shows me sans eyewear. I’ve corrected this grievous decision thanks to photographer and friend Attilio D’Agostino who shot my new column photo (at left, see how much happier I look in glasses) for 2014.

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