Every glasses-wearer has heard the nickname “four eyes” at some point in their lives, among other negative stereotypes associated with their frames. According to Psychology Today, the fact that glasses-wearers appear “socially awkward” and less attractive only adds to these associations. Pop culture doesn’t shy away from using these stereotypes in movies and television either. Countless romantic comedies feature the “girl-next-store” receiving a makeover that wins her the leading man or makes her worthy of royalty (hello, The Princess Diaries)—a process that almost *always* involves removing her glasses.
When I got my first pair of glasses, I was six years old and in the middle of first grade. I remember these stereotypes being in full effect. The nickname “four eyes” quickly became something I heard on a daily basis throughout elementary school. Later, when I got braces in middle school, I stopped wearing my glasses until the day I got my braces off. It was a long three and half years of looking at blurry chalkboards, but to my middle school self, avoiding being labelled a “nerd” and “ugly”, was worth it.
Of course, there are also positive stereotypes associated with wearing glasses—they are reported to make wearers appear more professional, honest, and intelligent. Luckily, many of the negative stereotypes that led to me despising my glasses are beginning to break down. Now, glasses are going beyond functionality and are becoming a trademark of personal style. So when I saw BonLook—a Canadian eyewear brand known for its fashion-forward frames—was opening a new location in my local mall, I decided to embark on my own journey to find a new pair of glasses that I actually *enjoyed* wearing. After some searching, I found a pair of glasses that resemble a more stylized version of Harry Potter’s famous frames. After years of associating my glasses with negative qualities, I now look forward to wearing my glasses and view them as an integral part of my personal style.
Though we can agree that our glasses style has evolved over time (thankfully), one thing has remained consistent for glasses-wearers: glasses make you see more than just your physical world differently—they make you see yourself differently.
Here are six women on their current frames and what they say about their identity.
“My current glasses are a basic brown tortoise shell print—my clothing style is pretty minimalist, so I feel like these glasses reflect that but add a little something something. I am fairly outgoing and outspoken, and in terms of the print and size, my glasses are ‘loud’ like I am!
My first ever pair of glasses were wire framed, pink, and Barbie brand. I was four. They expressed my ‘inner diva’ and came with a pink case that looked like a purse—I carried it everywhere. As a child, I was really into wearing colours and sparkles, so the pink, fascial, and turquoise glasses of my past reflected this. As a child, I got a new pair of glasses in line with the start of every school year, and every new pair of glasses matched my increase in maturity (or my self-assumed maturity). ‘Growing up’ for me was the day I got Ray Bans and contact lenses.
My glasses style has changed massively over the years—I try to pick something a little trendier and more edgy now. I don’t rock them every day, so the way I approach choosing glasses now is a little different. I go for ones that make a statement, but still maintain a sense of professionalism so if I need to wear them in a work or academic setting, they are appropriate.
My relationship with glasses has not always been a positive one—as a child, I thought they made me look too different from my peers. Now, I actually like my glasses. They are a fun accessory and they make me look like I have my shit together even though I really don’t. Being a big contact lens user, my glasses are something I use when I feel like adding something to an outfit—so the idea of not needing them but wanting to wear them is definitely a change.”
Stay in the loop for all things Common by joining our newsletter!