WEARING (EYE)GLASSES

by - November 15, 2020


Referring to glasses as eye glasses/frames across this article. 

I had my first eye test at the age of 8, the doctor only spoke German and Italian, of which I spoke neither at that time. I remember my father telling me I needed to start wearing glasses, because my eyesight were. All I knew was, that not only was I going to be the first nerd (or geek?) in the family, but also at school. I remember the first nickname I got…Steve Urkle. Even though I did somewhat look like a young & female version of Steve Urkle, it was hurtful. To be compared to a fictional character that was clumsy, idiotic and geeky, I already stood out as a person of colour who was a foreigner, I didn’t need that in addition. 

I have gone through four glasses between the age of 8 and 16, even had a whole year where I refused to wear glasses all together. I chose squinting over having 00 vision, just to avoid more unwanted name callings. I eventually learned to accept that I can’t spend my life having a blurry vision, just because a couple of insecure teenage losers decided to name call me! Steve Urkle, freak, four eyes, geek, you name it, I took it all in one ear and out the other.


I am not sure if poor eyesight is considered a disability, but I can tell you it’s not fun. I don’t understand when people wear eyeglasses for ‘fashion’? What’s so fashionable about having poor eyesight? Don’t these people understand the frustration that comes with needing visual aid in order to see the world surrounding you? The weight of frames on your nose bridge (yes even aluminium frames)? The anxiety one gets when having to remove the glasses in public spaces? The nightmares of running from something, whilst everything is blurry; yes, like that scene from the Mummy, where the guy with the glasses gets snatched, because he lost his glasses and couldn’t see anything but blur! Yes surly, getting laser eye surgery could be a solution, but it’s not for everyone. I for one, am horrified of the thought alone, not to mention potential failure of procedure and even the cost of it. 

The only positive association with glasses I know off, is being considered smart. At some stage, I used to compare wearing eyeglasses for fashion, to walking with bedazzled crotches for fashion. Just wrong. How ridiculous and outdate it is to associate eyeglasses with nerds, geeks and even ultra-smart people; to use these terminologies to bully others. Let’s not forget that wearing eyeglasses was not considered attractive, of course the ugly duckling in films and TV shows wears glasses and her transformation to beauty only happens when she removes the glasses. Have association with glasses changed? Yes, characters may be smart or pretty, but now they’re also uptight. Give me a break.  


But thank goodness for those fashion fools, for putting people with poor eyesight on the fashion radar. Also, for those who wore their eyeglasses with conviction, pride and style! Now, more than ever, are frames more stylish, sleek and unique than before. So many brands cater to those who need visual aid, if you can call it that? Frames come in all type of colours, shapes, sizes, branded and non-branded. Individuals can express their style identity with their eyeglasses that suits their overall style. Even before trendy eyeglasses reached the masses, there are unique public figures in the past and present with iconic eyewear; Malcom X, Iris Apple, John Lennon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Andy Warhol (do you notice how they’re mainly men?)


I outgrew the first pair, broke the second pair, lost the third pair, and decided that my fourth pair should be sleek, expensive and make me look not only intelligent but also stylish. Now remembering, they were neither! I don’t even remember the brand, it was some unfamous Italian one. Anyhow, when we moved to London, I ended up losing them, so I just got a cheap pair from the optician. I no longer cared, I just needed to see. I managed to have those run over by a bus…I don’t have any pictures with glasses from the age of 11-18! 

Dolce & Gabbana

Because at the age of 18, I thought wearing D&G was so cool (forgive me, but I was unaware of their racism). Black & square frames on the outside, purple on the inside. They looked as hideous as they sound. I wore them throughout A-levels and university, looking like an uptight secretary or just a very unstylish girl with the headscarf. But I was young, so happy to own my first design frames and feeling like that it reflected me as an individual. I still had those frames, even after changing to my Ray Ban’s. 

Ray Ban

Around 2013, I got the Ray-ban, because I was fond of Malcom X’s frames! If I was going to be called after a famous black man, might as well be Malcom X, revolutionary and as real as it gets! Damn I felt cool, relaxed and carefree. I liked wearing them on daily bases, and almost would not bother with contact lenses, unless I had events and such to attend. Let’s be honest, even I didn’t find myself attractive or pretty with glasses. I had them for good 7 years until they’ve aged and broke from wear and tear this year March. 


Chanel 

Despite going through seven pair of glasses in 24 years (which is not a lot, considering half of them broke!), I find it really, like really difficult to find a pair that fits my face and that I genuinely love. Hence why I wouldn’t change frames, unless they broke, lost or aged. I continued wearing my broken Ray Ban’s for another three months, just because I couldn’t find a pair that I loved. I went around Hong Kong looking across many opticians and brands to find a pair I loved. To be honest, I wanted them to be specifically round, large and thin gold frames. Minimalistic and elegant, the frames currently trending across Hong Kong and Korea. Prada did them, Ray Ban, Giorgio Armani and many other brands, but they had to be Chanel, of course they had to be Chanel. I went high and low to find those pair, had to get them ordered because fashion in Hong Kong (Asia in general) is a step ahead of Europe. They go through sessions so fast, that spring collections look ancient during autumn the same year. 


Chanel Europe was selling the pair I wanted (they still do), while in Hong Kong they were out of stock after AW19/20 was over. I had them shipped from Singapore. Now I wear them religiously, I mean I have to, to see, but I don’t even bother with contact lenses anymore. For once since the past 24 years, do I feel like myself in glasses. Elegant, intelligent with expensive taste. 

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