By Megan McDonald January 13, 2012

Here’s permission: Go ahead. Make a spectacle out of yourself. 

Listen to me, friend, there’s no better time to upgrade those specs and leave the contacts on the shelf--because, if you haven’t noticed, it’s cool to be a nerd. Especially if you hit the retro styles for a modern vintage vibe.

For years the ophthalmologically challenged have steered clear of anything that may earn them the dreaded “four eyes” label. But, this is your chance, embrace your inner geek, get out there and get out of your same ol’. The trick is to test unisex frames smaller and/or larger than you normally would. Trust me, you’ll be surprised how cool you look!  And I want you to be cool.

Believe it or not, glasses can actually take an outfit from your blue jeans and white tee to an evening out.  Frankly, they make more than your outfit–they can define your look.  Case in point, take these memorable characters:

If you think you can’t add additional accessories while wearing eyewear….

Fashion Icon :: Iris Apfel

Architect :: I.M. Pei

Academy Award-Winning Costume Designer :: Edith Head

Still not with me?

OK, lets look at some of Hollywood’s hottest.

Check out the gorgeous Anne Hathaway donning a pair of specs with her cocktail dress and stilettos, at a premiere no less.

Ryan Gosling


Scarlett Johansson

All right, you get the point.

So where do you go from here? 

I popped into a couple local shops in Sarasota to give you a head start. 

Paul Smith Round Black / Classic with a Twist Frames $325 at IOPTICS. These are SO Edith Head – a frame with lots of personality

Love this take on a Johnny Depp-esque frame.  Navy blue, wood textured by Menizzi, $245 at Soto Optical Boutique

Stylish, affordable and globally conscious eyewear by  Warby Parker donates eyeglasses to someone in need for every pair sold. Price $95 – and that includes the lenses.  Nope, not kidding.

And, that’s not all.  They will send you five pairs for five days for an in-home try on. No charge (just a credit card hold for good measure). Free shipping, both ways.   Still not kidding.

Want to go truly vintage? Then, drop into Drs. Sinclair and Camp’s offices on Orange Avenue – they have a collection of vintage lenses that an actually be upgraded with your prescription.  I see these on a chic woman of the 70’s heading into Studio 54 with a Halston dress on…


I’m really diggin’ these from Drs. Sinclair and Camp’s, too.

These are a fab pair of modern aviators for today’s Gloria Steinem by Bevel Spectacles, $245. And, good luck finding this pair anywhere other than Soto. (I couldn’t even find an image on the Internet – Thanks to Dave Gonzalez at Bevel for coming through last minute).

But think of these as eyewear, not sunnies – I shake my head at how cool they are.

Completely retro ::  This is such a hip, updated version of a Buddy Holly frame by Theo, $510.  They call it the “Retro European, Belgium Style.”  LOVE!  Find them at IOPTICS.

So, go on.  See for yourself how it will up your cool factor.  Even though going nerd is counter-intuitive, all eyes will be on you.

For even more fashion news and notes, follow Heather Dunhill on Twitter @heatherDUNHILL.

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