Who knew that my quest to find some classy glasses would touch such a nerve for all of us trying not to morph into our grandmothers? Last month I mentioned in my blog ‘Who are You Calling a Little Old Lady?’ about my challenge in finding some interesting and stylish specs after a dispriting visit to a couple of the High Street chains of opticians. In Vision Express, the only pair which I could imagine wanting to wear had a ‘designer’ label and the frames alone cost £450, which I felt was truly exorbitant for a bit of grey plastic.
And is it any wonder that we are offered such dull and boring frames when Specsavers produces ads like the one below which was in my newspaper this weekend?
I’m sure many of you, like me will have found the ‘Should Have Gone to Specsavers’ ads really clever and amusing, so why the different approach when it comes to older spectacle wearers? Just look at how the older female model has been styled for this ad. A shapeless beige jacket over a plain white T shirt, no jewellery of any kind, no makeup except for a touch of very pale pink lipstick and a sexless hairstyle in case we hadn’t already got the message! Presumably you and I are the target of this depressing advertisement but, as I said in my LOL blog,this advertisement and those specs scream ‘Myopic Old Mare’ rather than ‘Stylish Older Sophisticate’ - the effect I was hoping to achieve with my new specs.
Happily many of you came to my rescue with suggestions that I should avoid the chains and seek out an independent optician.
So I asked around and booked an eye test with Ollie Quinn in St. John’s Road, Clapham Junction. Initial impressions weren’t great when I walked in to be confronted by a man who looked a bit like a young Rudolph Nureyev wearing a black polo necked sweater and a black cap. I thought he was another customer but he kept smiling at me (a rare occurrence these days from an attractive younger man), so I risked telling him that I had an appointment. Maybe this was Ollie Quinn himself! Whilst waiting, I decided to try some frames and ‘Ollie’ was really helpful and encouraging and with his guidance we quickly settled on a couple of contenders for after the test. You can see the result in the photographs - hope you approve!
Choosing Glasses - My Top Tips
It goes without saying that glasses should be more about seeing better than about style statements, but if you wear them all the time then your specs can become an important part of your look, so think colour, shape and signature style.
Colour. I am cool toned which means that the undertone of my skin is blue rather than a warm toned yellow. So best frames to suit my colouring will be silver, grey, white, blue, pink, purple and (possibly) black. Now that my hair is properly grey I liked the paler pinky-toned frames, but I also loved the definition provided by the dark purple ones. If you are warm toned then go for frames in gold, bronze, tortoiseshell, brown or cream. This is true even if you have white or grey hair, remember to match your frames to your skin tone rather than your hair colour. As my new specs were a quarter of the price of the designer frames I’d seen in Vision Express, I decided to treat myself to both the pale pinky-beige and the purple pair so that I could ring the changes according to my outfit.
Shape and Size. There are five basic face shapes and each suits a slightly different shape of specs. It should be fairly obvious when you are trying on the frames which will work best, especially if you have an ‘Ollie’ to help you, but a rule of thumb is to add curves to an angular face and angles to a round face. By which I mean that round faces look better with rectangular frames and square faces with a strong jawline or heart shaped faces with a wide forehead and pointed chin can be softened with rounded frames. Oval faces can wear pretty much any shape of glasses as you are not trying to balance any predominant feature. If you have a small face then it’s fairly obvious that your glasses will also need to be neat rather than overpowering. Having said that, Iris Apfel shows that rules are made to be broken when you have the personality to carry off such bold specs.
Signature Style. This is where I think we can all have some fun. Yes, they are utilitarian objects, but just like jewellery we can see glasses as adding rather than detracting from our overall look. I love the way that Prue Leith, along with her bold necklaces, has made her specs part of a bright and colourful statement without ever looking a bit batty. And talking of slightly batty I like the way that comedian Jenny Eclair uses her funky specs almost as a comedy prop. However, maybe that’s the great fear for a lot of older women, that funky glasses will just make them look ridiculous. Maybe this explains that dreary Specsavers Ad. No-one could accuse the woman in that of being funky or colourful! However I’d encourage you to see your specs as ‘face jewellery’ adding colour once you have applied your makeup.
Makeup and Glasses
The more I have talked to and advised the customers who come to our Wimbledon and Guilford stores, the more I have realised that glasses themselves can be a substitute for eye makeup. We have a video showing how to create a lovely light eye makeup for glasses-wearers, but if your poor eyesight means you cannot see well enough for the intricacies of eye makeup, then I’d suggest that you concentrate on the rest of your face and allow the frames to create colour and definition for your eyes. Here’s how:
Apply your Continuous Cover Foundation or Light Look Beauty Balmto unify your skin tone. As this needs bold sweeping movements maybe you can do this and then pop your glasses on for the final blend, which I always complete in a magnifying mirror.
Use Cover to Cover Concealin the corners of your eyes and underneath to camouflage any under-eye discolouration which will be magnified by the lens of your glasses. I can do this with my glasses on.
Add a touch of Instant Bright Highlighterto the tops of your cheekbones and to your brow bones - again it’s possible to do this whilst wearing specs. This will add shaping and luminescence around your glasses.
Most frames are lower than your brows, so give colour and definition to the brows with Bring Back Brow Shape.
Finish with a sweep of Real Radiance Blush and a bright Lipstick in a shade which works well with the colour of your frames and any earrings you are wearing.
If possible just add a couple of coats of Lithe Lash Mascarato curled lashes and then put your glasses on to complete the look.
From my eye test it would appear that I have the start of cataracts which explains some of the problems I’ve been experiencing with fuzzy vision and intolerance of bright light. As the optician explained this is a common condition as we age and, happily there is now a quick and easy remedy which I will seek when necessary, just as my classy new glasses are helping to correct my short-sightedness. Now I need to get my hearing loss sorted - anyone know where I can get an elegant ear-trumpet?
A Birthday Treat for Yourself or Your Friend.
If you have a birthday coming up or would like to give an unusual and fabulous birthday treat to a friend, we can make it even more special! Just book a makeover at either our Wimbledon or Guildford shop and then email us firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us the date and time of the booking and that this is a birthday treat for either yourself or a friend. On the day we will ensure that there’s a birthday card, a glass of Prosecco and a free LFF gift waiting for you or your friend. And of course if you’d like to come together you will both get the treats!