When I was in 2nd grade, I got my first pair of glasses. They were red, and together with my nightly news anchor bob, I definitely looked like a pint sized, brunette Sally Jesse Raphael. For some reason I was insanely insecure/self important regarding my new spectacles, and I may or may not have had my mother write my teacher a note telling her that I was anxious about showcasing my new glasses in class and to be sensitive to my feelings. [Tangent: This random insecurity was completely unfounded. Despite being a total nerd in a wheelchair with terrible buck teeth and a grating voice, I had never been the target of bullying. Apparently I assumed the glasses would be the tipping point and suddenly I would become the sacrificial lamb of Lipscomb elementary school. This didn’t happen. ]
My dad mistakenly threw this fashion forward eyewear away, and for 2 years after that, I wore my sister’s hand-me-down glasses which were lavender and ginormous and made me look more awkward than I already was. After that I vacillated between frames that made me look like Harry Potter and/or Benjamin Franklin with braces. Then, one day, the gods smiled upon me and I got contacts. [Tangent: It was like that scene in She’s All That where my glasses got removed and suddenly I felt pretty.]
Somewhere in college, that started to change and today I love my glasses, and most days would wear them over contacts [Tangent: This is probably partially attributed to the fact that I am recklessly lazy and will leave the same disposable contacts in my eyes for weeks at a time until they pop out of my eyes trying to spare themselves…like people off the Titanic.]. They allow me to cover up the fact that I neglect to put on eye makeup most mornings and look like I tried. It’s the same reason I wear scarves most days. It pulls things together and makes it look like I give a damn.
Once I discovered that if I had my RX in hand, I could cheaply and easily order glasses off the ‘net , this love of glasses was really kicked up a notch. I have turned several of my friends onto these sites and am often asked which ones I like. Since I am pondering buying a fourth pair as a birthday gift to myself [Tangent: I’ll be 30 on Sunday and really want to fulfil my childhood dream to be Lisa Loeb.], I thought the time was nigh for me to blog about it and tell you which sites were the easiest, cheapest, had the cutest eyeglass cases included…etc.
A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Warby Parker, which now has an in-store display at Imogene+ Willie so says Facebook. [Tangent: I am poor and unhip so I don’t know firsthand]. All of their styles are based on vintage styles and are $95 including the RX. There are a lot of pros/cons to this site.
- The packaging is amazing. I realize this is shallow, but the gray/baby blue/white color scheme really does it for me
- They seem to fit well and be substantial, at least my frames did. I am rough on things and am not made to have nice things, so this is key.
- They will buy a pair for someone else in need for every pair purchased. They are the Toms of eye wear. You can feel like a good egg- which should be a plus, right?
- Although $95 is cheap compared to what you would pay at your Optometrist, once you visit other sites, it is comparatively pricey.
- They have free try-on where they will send you 5 frames of your choice to try on in person and send back when you have reached a decision. Although, I opted out of this because I was impatient, I have had several friends do this and they highly praised it.
My second pair was one that is frequented by a lot of my coworkers, Zenni Optical. The glasses complete with lenses start out at $6.95, which struck me as too good to be true, but I got out paying about $22 total and getting some pretty cute glasses. I’m sure I could have gotten out cheaper, but I insist on having the anti-glare coating so that I won’t look like a freak in flash photos.
- The pupilary distance is something you have to know for your RX. This is rarely on a prescription so you will have to google how to measure it and get a steady handed friend to help. It is super easy, so don’t find it daunting. Once you order a pair, they will include a pupilary distance ruler with your order to make it easier for your return visit.
- The frames are not ALL especially fashion forward. There are some duds, but there are certainly some diamonds in the rough.
- Although the frames are not exactly what I imagined they would look like- I really liked them and wear them semi-regularly even though my sister says they remind her of those lavender hand-me-downs we shared circa ’93.
- Because they are inexpensive, the bells and whistles are minimal. The case is kinda janky, but who cares? You also aren’t getting any big name designer glasses, but once again – That matters very little to me.
My most recent, and possibly my favorite frames came from Coastal Contacts. My friend Alex is obsessed with their frames, and the fever has caught me
- There first pair is FREE! Well, not completely- it’s free if your RX is very light. Mine is mediocre so I had to pay a little so I wouldn’t be gazing through coke bottle bottoms and pay a little extra to get glare-free, but I still paid under $20 for the transaction.
- If you follow them on Facebook, they are constantly giving offers for ways to get more free pairs. It is definitely worth the status updates.
- They carry several big named designers like Calvin Klein and Nicole Miller. My frames, which I fell in love with, are aptly named- Love.
- I was impressed with the quality of a free pair of glasses. The only issue I have is that, because they are not custom fitted- they slide down on my nose a lot.
- They are constantly running promotions for free shipping or getting 2 pairs for $89, etc.
So my question is- WHY ARE YOU BUYING GLASSES ANY OTHER WAY? After online buying, I will never go back to shelling out $300 for a pair that I am just luke warm about. I think the winner in my book is Coastal Contacts, but that’s because I am a cheapskate. There is no ill will towards any of these websites; I implore you to check them out and decide for yourself.