So, I’ve been a glasses wearer since my teens and my eye sight is pretty bad, so a glasses girl I shall be!
I tried contacts for a bit when I was a teen, but I’ve always felt that glasses were fun to wear and that I felt more ‘me’ with them. I confess so much so that sometimes I need to take self-portraits without them on to see myself bare, unmasked as I want to feel ‘me’ with our without them!
The other day I got an email from a lovely friend asking for advice around buying glasses and she emailed back ‘You HAVE to write a blog post about this’ and I definitely think this one is overdue as people ask about my glasses online almost daily! So like the recent gear post, I want to have a place to send you with all the info!
The vintage pair I mention below.
Oh my. Being a glasses wearer used to be mighty expensive. You’d easily have to pay $500-$700+ for glasses and lenses. Then of course, I’d make that pair of glasses last for as long as possible until they broke and there was no choice but to buy new ones. I’m glad those days are over.
When my old blue pair of glasses broke right in the nose bridge as I was cleaning them (I would have needed to tape them together geek-style to repair them) I started searching out new options for getting glasses. I think the online optical stores were appearing but I wasn’t yet ready to try them. Plus, after a couple decades of wearing pretty simple glasses, I was craving something bold.
I had been looking for a good vintage pair of glasses for a long time, granny style, and finally found a pair at the Vancouver Flea Market. The best part was that the prescription was almost the same as mine! Usually when I’d try on vintage glasses the prescription was so different that I couldn’t even see myself in the mirror through them to see if they worked. This pair was so close that I actually wore them for a few days to see if I wanted to make them into my own prescription.
To get them made into my prescription I went to an in person optical store. I learned that putting lenses into vintage glasses is kind of risky as they might break so glasses needed to be in good condition as they need to heat the plastic of the frame to insert the lens. They said these ones were pretty good but there was a chance they would be okay, so I went for it and luckily they came through. I won’t tell you what store it was as it was the worst customer service, but most places will put in lenses for you so try somewhere local to you!
Some of the best places I’ve found to seek out vintage glasses are:
- Any regular old thrift store or flea market. You never know where you are going to find a good pair of vintage glasses.
- Etsy! There are endless amazing vintage glasses on Etsy. Here are some vintage cat-eye ones. As I mentioned, not all glasses will work so I definitely recommend checking out their condition in the photos (you don’t want cracks or breaking anywhere).
- Hollywood Vintage in Portland Oregon. The best in-person collection of vintage glasses I’ve ever seen is at this store in Portland, just in case you live there or are visiting and in search of new (old) glasses!
- Ebay is also a great place to find old vintage glasses online and you are likely to be able to find them at pretty cheap prices too!
Glasses: Derek Cardigan 7006
My Favourite Online Glasses Options
Buying glasses is revolutionizing things for us glasses wearers! Not having it be a brick and mortar store allows the companies to offer glasses a lot more affordably.
In order to place an online order you’ll still have to visit an optician in person of course to get your prescription. Once you’ve got that you are almost ready to order online. Usually you’ll get all the information you need except your PD (Pupilary Distance) but its super easy to figure that out. Here’s a tutorial on how!
Then you’re ready to order! So I though I’d share a few of my favourite places to get glasses online with you.
Clearly Contacts (called Coastal in the U.S.)
This is the main place I’ve gotten glasses is from Clearly Contacts. They are a Vancouver based company but are available throughout the world. Initially looking at their glasses it felt like they were way nicer and funkier than the average in person or online option. As it happens, they have lines specifically designed for them and they feel really on trend. While so many of their glasses are amazing, I’m a big fan of the brands Derek Cardigan and Love, both made specifically for them. Clearly Contacts actually just opened a brick and mortar store in Vancouver, so if you are local you can actually go try on a lot of their glasses there.
Clearly Contacts (or Coastal) have a first pair free offer. Amazing, right? If your prescription is intense (like mine) you will have to pay for lens upgrades, so it may not be totally free, but still a great price.
If you like their frames, I totally recommend following them on Facebook (here for Coastal) as they regularly have sales on frames. These sales happen so frequently that I recommend deciding on the frame you like and then waiting a week or two as there will be sale of some sort very soon (there always is)!
The price range for Zenni Optical is even cheaper than Clearly Contacts. They too make their own frames and prices range from $6-$40 (wow, right). I feel like they might not be as good quality as CC but are drastically cheaper, so why not!
So far I have only gotten a pair of sunglasses from there which I’m totally happy with. They are also the place that seem to have glasses most similar to my present favourite cat eye ones, so if you’re hoping to find cat-eye glasses be sure to check them out!
Other Online options:
I haven’t personally purchased from any of these companies, only because they don’t ship to Canada (they should change that, eh) but I hear good things about all of these. Plus, they all have really funky glasses. Now that glasses don’t cost an arm and a leg, it is fun to join in on trends for glasses whereas before I would have totally just chosen a more classic pair to try to make them last. There are other companies online, but these are the ones I hear the best reviews of. Plus, I confess I judge a company by whether or not they have ‘Cat-Eye’ as a shape you can search for in their line of glasses!
How to Figure out What Glasses Work for You!
Figuring out what shape of glasses really works for you is definitely the hard part of finding glasses. My biggest recommendation, especially if you are planning on ordering online, is to go into a glasses store and try on some frames and figure out what shape works for you.
If you already have glasses that you like the width of across your face or the height of, I definitely found it useful to make note of those lengths and use them when finding glasses online (every pair of glasses will have that info listed)!
On many of the online eyeglasses company have the option of uploading your own photo and you can see the glasses on your photo. It is actually kind of fun to do, but I wouldn’t judge the glasses only by that if you really like them as they will look different on you than in the photo. My favourite pair didn’t really work in the photo but I love them the most in person. So especially with companies like Clearly Contacts (where you can return them) it is worth it to try them on in person!
Left: Derek Cardigan 7005 Middle: Love L747 Right: Kam Dhillon 3027
So I hope that was helpful for my dear fellow glasses wearers!