October 03, 2013

Style in Plain Sight

Wearing Norman Childs glasses in 2009

When I was in middle school, I decided that I wanted contact lenses. My parents obliged since my dad was a long time contact wearer. He taught me how to pinch my fingers together carefully to remove them and I learned through trial and error to also keep my then-tweenager nails short.

 In a now-retired pair of Vogue glasses back in 2006

Contact lenses were liberating, if not a bit jarring. I went from wearing glasses everyday to having nothing on my face. Sure, I felt a little naked but I wore them religiously until I was probably 19. By then, "emo" music (and its slightly edgier albeit no less embarrassing musical cousin, "screamo") was rising in popularity and glasses became part of the "uniform." I was also into punk and riot grrl which offered interesting political commentary about "society" and the "status quo," perfect for a semi-angsty post-adolescent like myself. My critical thinking skills were sharpening thanks to my liberal arts education and these subcultural affiliations. Increasingly I became critical of prevailing notions about conventional beauty. I rejected Dorothy Parker's old adage that "boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses." And I returned to my previous spectacled ways.

 In my first part of designer eyeglasses (Prada) at the NMAH in 2009

I began wearing plastic frames that were slightly squared off. For me they signaled visually my most introspective and collegiate self. But I came to realize that I was operating under a false binary. Sometimes I liked wearing contacts! Sometimes I also wanted to be able to wear regular sunglasses! And by then my post-adolescent self-righteousness was beginning to mellow.

 Wearing Coach sunglasses with my sister at her high school graduation party (2008)

Eventually I just made the daily glasses or no glasses decision based on my mood or the occasion. And that's the logic I use now. I tend to favor a pair of stylish eyeglasses when I work and contacts whenever I want to be "fancy" with a smoky eye and mascara (or when I just want to wear non-prescription designer sunglasses). I do love my eyeglasses and think that they are very much a part of who I am. I got my newest pair of rx glasses last November and am currently hunting for some cool prescription sunglasses. They will be my first ones as an adult! I have to decide whether I want to go big or go medium in terms of size. Most of my (non-rx) sunglasses are pretty big. But I want these to last a while so I might go for something more moderate. Once I find a pair I like it will be great to enjoy every configuration of options.

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