‘I would have done significantly better in my GCSEs had I been able to read the exam papers’: Lottie Moore’s touching piece on why wearing glasses simply wasn’t cool, yet are now a style statement.
Having grown up wearing glasses, all of my childhood memories were seen through finger-smudged, yoghurt splattered lenses. I was only allowed the NHS ones because I would break them so often in protest. They were always substantial, wiry and round, with the occasional diamante butterfly embellishing the sides. As I fumbled through my adolescence, I stopped wearing glasses completely. Along with rolling up my puritanical school skirt and smearing my forbidden pink Vaseline all over my cheeks, I would whip off my glasses as part of my walk to school transformation.
My mother used to bribe me with the myth that wearing glasses supposedly makes one look more intelligent. I never used to find this stereotype especially comforting; because when I was fifteen less scholarly pursuits were prioritized over looking clever. I would have done significantly better in my GCSEs had I been able to read the exam papers.
For reasons unknown to myself, there is still no such thing as glasses etiquette. Many a non-glasses wearer have violently plucked my glasses from my eyes and thrust them on (with dirty fingerprints) whilst exclaiming, ‘Christ! You are blind aren’t you?!’ and ‘Gosh you would look SO much better without them!’
I’m sitting watching first dates in my prescription sunglasses because I can’t see the screen without my glasses lool
— mads (@_madeleineanna) September 26, 2017
As part of the generation who grew up with Harry Potter, it’s only fair to pay homage to the small, wiry, round specs made famous by the boy wizard. While many would argue that Harry was a bit of nerd at the beginning, he certainly began to bring glasses into the mainstream. Celebrities such as Alexa Chung and Kendall Jenner have since managed to pull off the look.
And so my relationship with glasses has been fickle but ongoing. Yet over the past few years, our society has changed the way it looks at glasses. People actually now want to wear them. ‘Geek chic’ has firmly established itself as a style with glasses as its most principal accessory. Topshop sell racks of clear frames and Jennifer Anniston regularly flaunts hers on the red carpet. Critically acclaimed designer Nicole Fahri has just launched a range with Specsavers. Trendy online start-ups like Cubbits allow you to try four pairs for free before deciding which ones you want to keep. Reasonably priced, stylish spectacles have never been so accessible.
My glasses now say more about my style than anything else I wear. I can vividly remember the first pair I chose which didn’t attempt to hide the fact that I was wearing them. I am naked without them (and also nearly blind.) This is partly due to the fact that every time I put them on I feel like I have triumphed the stereotype I felt trapped by as a teenager. Now the boundaries are limitless when it comes to what you can stick on your face, go wild – glasses could be the biggest style statement you make.
Send the Style team your latest snaps that feature you wearing your glasses to be in with the chance of being in our ‘what are you wearing and why’ section on both Instagram and in print!