Our celebrity-centric culture waits eagerly every year for the Oscar-Grammy-Golden Globe-Emmy spectaculars. And it is not just to see who wins, but also to catch a glimpse of what the stars are wearing as they preen on the red carpet for all the world to see.
We are accustomed to searching the best- and worst-dressed lists that come out the mornings after these showy affairs; with hundreds of people to cover, the star-by-star analysis tests both the critics’ vocabularies and their diplomatic skills. After all, how many ways are there to describe beautiful or elegant, and how many euphemisms can one create that express “What were they thinking?”
This year, however, one sharp-eyed editor of S thought he spotted a men’s fashion trend that had gone unnoticed by the TV commentators: Men were “stylin’” with eyeglasses. And sure enough, photographs from those nights revealed that more and more actors were donning glasses instead of tinted contact lenses or the old Hollywood favorite, aviator sunglasses.
GQ magazine, a longtime arbiter of men’s style, said this year’s Golden Globes gala was a “spectacle of handsome glasses.” That trend is visible on the East Coast, as well. Maria Fernanda Ruiz, manager of Oliver Peoples’ new eyewear store on Greenwich Avenue, says men coming to her store consider eyewear “jewelry for the face.”
“Men are embracing eyeglasses and sunglasses as a fashion accessory,” Ruiz says. “I think men at times feel more limited as to what and how many accessories they can wear, so the idea of eyewear as a way of expressing their fashion sense” is increasingly popular.
More male shoppers are leaving Oliver Peoples with multiple frames, according to Ruiz. “Men like efficiency, so when they stop by the store, they want to cross off both eyeglasses and sunglasses,” she says. Also, a few men have bought glass frames with clear, nonprescription lenses, meaning it is also fashion, not ophthalmology.
Oliver Peoples does not chase fashion trends, but focuses on quality and classic styles, she says. “The dapper gentleman is likely to go for our O’Malley or Gregory Peck eyeglasses.” These are classic tortoise shell acetate frames with a roundish shape. The trendy hipster is more likely to sport the Finley Esq. style, a clear acetate frame, while the financial class seems to prefer the Bernardo or OPLL style frames, whose architecturally driven design gives off a more modern vibe, Ruiz says.
Contact lenses have been used to enhance eye color or even change it completely. With brightly colored eye frames, men can add a dash of color to their face, as well.
Ready to expand your eyeglass collection to reflect a more confident fashion sense? You might consider heading to the website of Warby Parker, an American eyewear brand started in 2010. By answering four to five questions about your head size and shape, the shape and color glasses you prefer, you are shown a handful of frames that meet your criteria. The company will send you five frames to try free. If you work in Manhattan, Warby Parker has brick-and-mortar stores in SoHo, Grand Central, the Upper East Side and the Meatpacking District.
If you want to change your eyewear look, but want to make sure you get a pair that fits your head as well, it is best to become familiar with the size information included on frames, usually along the inside of a temple arm or inside the nose bridge. The most important consideration is the eye size, expressed as a two-digit number from 40 to 62; next comes the bridge size, a two-digit number from 14-24; third is the temple size, expressed as a number from 120-150. Other markings may be model numbers or manufacturer’s information, which can be ignored. Eye size, according to experts, is the most important of the three dimensions, and you can safely go up or down on a number and still get a good fit.
So now you have an additional accessory to add to your power wardrobe and a whole new series of questions to ask your friends: Do these glasses go with this suit? How about the tie, does it clash with the frames? Or, do these glasses make my face look fat? The worrying never ends.