Ol’ Four Eyes

Mia Farrow was in the news recently.  Seems in the November issue of Vanity Fair magazine she discloses that her son Ronan (once called Satchel) MAY be the child of Frank Sinatra and not Woody Allen as long presumed.  Huh?  Have you seen a picture of this guy?  He is the spit n’ image of Ol’ Blue Eyes and apparently he’s got a voice to go with.  There have been all kinds of denials and refutations from Allen and others.  But just take a look at him.  On the other hand, he’s a Yale grad and a Rhodes Scholar, so go figure.

Anyway, Ol’ Blues got me thinking about Ol’ Four Eyes which would be me, and practically everyone in my family.  (I know it’s a stretch of a segue but just go with me here.)  My father was an ophthalmologist and I often wondered if we were a reality advertisement for eye correction.  I might add that I was in high school before I was allowed to use pointed scissors. When I was initiated with my first prescription, shortly after my Bat Mitzvah, I was horrified to think I would have to wear glasses. GLASSES??  ON MY FACE??  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  At the time, the wire-rimmed aviators were popular so I had a pair of those.  Then I switched to contact lenses.  But as I got older I decided to embrace my myopia and now eyewear is a part of my whole look.

Now anyone who has had to buy a frame and fill it can tell you that glasses are not cheap.  At least, unless they’re cheap they’re not cheap.  But considering they sit on your nose I think it’s a worthwhile investment to get something great.  It’s funny but people who will spend hundreds on a hairdo or garment or other fashion item, get stingy when it comes to something they’ll be wearing every single day.  I’ve heard people say “I don’t want them to show.”  What?  Is there a way for them not to show?  Underwear doesn’t show. Glasses are in the front row seat, so why not make the most of them.

Here’s the thing, not all opticians are the same, and like any other retail business, they don’t all carry the same merchandise.   I look for a store that has a hip selection in the window and has someone who knows how to suggest the right shapes for my face.  A good eyewear place shouldn’t just let you pull stuff off the wall and try them on, hit or miss.  Don’t get me wrong, they should show you any frame you’re interested in. But they should have the expertise to guide you to the shapes and colors and sizes that will flatter your face. It’s like what dress buying use to be fifty years ago. A knowledgeable optician will save you time and frustration, and hopefully, looking like a weirdo.

One of my favorite brands is Anne et Valentin. They’re made in France and although somewhat pricey, their whole line is fabulously cool looking and really holds up to wear and tear.  When I was in Paris on my honeymoon all I wanted to do was see the Anne et Valentin flagship store, for me, the holy grail of eyewear. Interestingly, when I inquired about one particular frame, the lovely salesman, Phillipe, said, “Those are too big for you.”  Actually, it was “Zohs ahr too beeg fo yu.”  He was right. I bought another pair that he suggested instead.  I know there are many online eyeglass vendors out there, but buyer beware.  Poor quality plastic and weak hinges can mean broken glasses just when you need them the most (getting in the car to drive home from the airport?).   I also like to have someone local make the lenses. Did you know that you can purchase frames anywhere and take them to your local optician and they’ll fill the prescription, i.e. make the lenses for you. I did this with my Paris purchase.  And many places will regrind the lenses one time for free if you put on your new specs and it feels like you just got off a merry-go-round.

A reputable optician will also make sure your glasses fit properly, which is why I never let anyone try mine on. They’re made for my head.  To me it’s like asking someone to try on her wig.  But that’s just me. And if you take good care of them, glasses should last easily until your next prescription. You ARE getting your eyes examined every two years, right?  You only have one set of eyes.

And no running with those scissors!





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2 responses to “Ol’ Four Eyes

  1. I so agree. Eye glasses are my most important fashion statement. I’d love to own five or six pairs for every “look” but my bank account says, “Whoa. Not so fast.” I always notice people with particularly hip or unique glasses and compliment them. My criteria is a pair of glasses that cover up dark circles under my eyes. I look way better in glasses than without. Hey, who’s that cute gal in the picture?


  2. Beth Wintroub

    Hi Helena,

    Your comments about glasses are timely in my life. I have worn contacts since my teen years, but this summer found myself at the eye doctor’s office about every 10 days. I had swollen eyes, several infections and just couldn’t tolerate my contacts or the other two brands I was given to try. So it was time to get glasses, something that was my last claim to vanity! My other vanity issue was gray hair which I gave up last summer when I stopped using wash in color shampoo. Guess I have nothing left to worry about! I now have two new pairs of glasses and you are right, they aren’t cheap.


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