Girls Who Wear Glasses: How One Fashion Writer Found Her Specs Appeal

It is often said that first stage of accepting a significant change in one’s life is denial. Well, I can certainly vouch for the sentiment after being told that I, at the grand old age of 28, “absolutely must” wear glasses “at all times,” after many hazy months of sore eyes, semi-permanent squinting, and attempting to decipher friends from total strangers at fifty paces on the busy streets of East London.

For the record, it’s not that I don’t admire a good pair of specs. In fact, I think they look infinitely stylish on the Iris Apfels and Jenna Lyonses of this world, I’m just aware that they have a tendency to become the defining feature and/or focal point of one’s entire look, no matter how sensational or Instagram-worthy it might otherwise be. Plus, my dilemma wasn’t exactly greeted with resounding confidence by my closest friend, Gabrielle who—after what seemed like ten minutes of pondering and stirring her ginger martini—concluded that I would simply have to, “remove the glasses when I wanted to look hot.”

Charlotte Rampling Angela Davis
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Charlotte Rampling (left); Angela Davis (right)

Photo: (from left) Getty Images; Corbis

And so, determined to prove her wrong. I approached the “finding specs” task with the same vigor I would when writing a cover story: with extreme preparation and lofty ambitions. I began by combing through my extensive backlog of Vogues in hope of finding a girl I could affectionately coin my glasses muse; someone who possessed an understated sensuality and a sense of ease. Miu Miu spring 2013! Is it all about supermodel Bette Franke in radical, retro frames? Or, maybe I could do my best Carolyn Murphy impression in a pair of supersize Tom Ford specs circa spring 2010? But somehow, nothing felt quite right. The square, overtly masculine styles that have dominated seasons past seemed too severe, the cat-eye shapes possessed a vaguely uncomfortable sexy secretary vibe and anything in a bold color or fanciful silhouette (though infinitely striking on Jessica Stam) screamed, “Look at me!”

Teresa Tang Isabella Adajani
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Teresa Teng (left); Isabelle Isabelle Adjani (right)

Photo: (from left) Corbis; Getty Images

It wasn’t until leafing through runway images of the Gucci resort 2015 show that I found my answer, in the bohemian, seventies-inspired mood that has recently been enjoying a fashion renaissance. This, in turn, led me to consider the era’s most influential—and dare I say— bespectacled style icons: actresses Diane Keaton, Charlotte Rampling, and Ali MacGraw. Whether they wore them with a diaphanous peasant dress or tomboy tailoring, each favored an elegantly oversize, slightly rounded style of frame. In every picture they appeared quietly confident and undoubtedly chic.

With visions of Rampling clad in a loose silk shirt, dark denim flares, and softly rounded specs in mind, I finally settled on a delicate, oval-shaped pair of handmade Andy Wolf frames in a surprisingly flattering shade of hazelnut. Rather than imposing on my wardrobe, they integrate seamlessly, clearly. A 20/20 vision.

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