The hottest fashion trend: Eyeglasses
How to rock it in frames
Hey, Four-Eyes! All those years of high school mockery might actually be paying off.
These days, eyeglass-wearers are the coolest kids in class. Those cumbersome specs many of us used to do anything to hide have become the ultimate accessory — and the bigger, the better.
"Pretty much the nerds rule the world," Emily Salsbury, an Edmonton style coach, says with a laugh. "We all strive to be like them in some way or another."
And so thick, black, square frames, often called "geek glasses," are now ubiquitous.
This year, trendsetters are taking it one step further, rocking eyewear that would make Steve Urkel proud. The plastic is a little bit thinner, but the rims have been stretched so that the lenses cover almost the whole face, says Salsbury, and the contraptions are showing up on some decidedly unnerdy celebrities.
Just last November, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z was spotted at a Knicks game sporting bold, black frames. More recently, Justin Timberlake generated all sorts of tabloid buzz roaming the Big Apple just because he had square frames perched on his nose.
"I would say it's celebrity-driven," says Salsbury, who has 20/20 vision, but wears prescription-free glasses when she wants to appear older.
"People like Johnny Depp have been wearing them for years. Maybe we’re finally just getting that."
The trend toward nerdy glasses has really blown up in the last year, says optician Sarah Michelin. The 24-year-old owns five pairs of glasses, which she switches up regularly as she would a handbag or high heels, choosing whichever fits her mood and her outfit that day.
Today, she's wearing a catchy pair of thick-rimmed, red Prada glasses, studded with silver bling along the sides.
"I only wear them for fashion," she explains. Because she is so near-sighted, Michelin likes wearing contacts so she can more easily put on her makeup in the mornings. But even though she can go eyeglass-free, she has no desire to ditch her frames.
Crazy as it sounds, Michelin is not the only one going out of her way to appear visually impaired. Prescription-free frames are readily available at fashion retailers American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, priced as low as $10 a pair.
"The people who are going for the nerdy look seem to need to have confidence to pull them off," says Michelin. Loud glasses, she continues, says a lot about the person wearing them.
"I look for ones that suit my face, but can also be deemed a little bit funky, and (in) colours that not a lot of other people would wear," she says. "People are sick of the same old, same old. They want something completely new."
Of course, what's old is new again.
Heavier, retro looks are all the rage right now, says Jeri-Ann Willis, owner of The Observatory in Edmonton.
"Now that there’s sort of a recession mentality and people are looking for new ideas, they're reflecting back on the past, taking those classic shapes and resizing them in size, colour and material," Willis says.
The classic "Clark Kent look" is consistently popular, says Willis, while the cat's-eye, aviator and double-bridge are all making comebacks.
"It's all about self-expression and it's a little bit about anti-fashion," she says. Younger customers especially, she says, are opting for more adventurous shapes and overwhelming sizes.
Both Willis and Occhiali staff say consumers now have many more options today than they had in the past. Eyewear designers are exploring new materials, colours and technology, they say, while designer names such as Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, and Christian Dior have brought the style.
Indeed, eyewear now plays a major role in haute couture: Last summer, Canadian designers DSquared dressed every single one of their Spring 2009 runway models in thick, black frames.
"Definitely, eyewear is considered much more of a fashion accessory than it ever has been," says Willis. "You can play with it just as you would play with any of your fashion and your hair."
And for those of us who have been saddled with a necessity — not to mention years of playground insults — why not have some fun with it?
"It's the trend," says Michelin. "Everyone is going to be nerdy."
Written by: Jennifer Fong, Canwest News Service
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
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