Having the vision: Eyewear turned fashion accessory

Geek chic on the catwalks. Hipsters donning retro glasses. It’s all contributed to making eyewear a notable fashion accessory du jour.

And now the celebs are at it too. Everyone from Benedict Cumberbatch to Jennifer Anniston is embracing the trend, whether we’re talking photo shoots, tripping down the red carpet or just popping to the shops. Some, like Drew Carey, are even putting frames on despite surgery to correct their vision, which says it all.

But now the high street’s involved, it seems the former trickle has turned into a flood and the trend has transformed into a phenomenon. So just why has eyewear caught on with quite so much vigour?

Research from The College of Optometrists reveals that a huge 43 per cent of people believe glasses make them look smarter. For another 36 per cent, it’s about appearing more professional and businesslike.

So it’ll come as no surprise that a massive two out of five would wear frames, whether required to or not, to get ahead at work and look fashionable at the same time.

Interestingly though, wearing glasses these days isn’t just about being taken seriously in the office. A study of 2,000 UK adults by leading high street opticians Vision Express certainly confirms that three out of five would wear their glasses for an important business meeting, while just over half would don their frames for a job interview too.

But a significant 49 per cent would also be happy to slip their glasses on for a romantic break or while out on a date (39 per cent). Oh, how times have changed.

But according to celebrity stylist Gemma Sheppard, one of the key reasons why eyewear has become the “biggest fashion accessory of all time” is that “having lots of choice has made it fun again”.

As a result, she’s seeing more and more Brits adopt the Italian habit of matching their frames to their outfits. “It’s no longer about just having one pair and wearing them for all occasions. It’s about matching your glasses with the colour of your shirt and having a different pair for each look,” Gemma explains.

They’re the ultimate collection, but are so light and comfortable too that you almost forget you’ve put them on

Because glasses these days are no less than “an accessory you wear on your face, glasses are sexy now so you can change them like you do your shoes or your earrings”, she adds.

The point is that, when your frames are right, you look good and you feel good. And that equals confidence. So what’s the secret to success? It’s mostly in the face shape, but skin tone matters too, says Gemma.

Here are some hot tips:

  • For oval faces: “You can carry off bold styles, but always ensure your glasses are wider than the broadest part of your face.”
  • For square faces: “Rounder frames will soften your features.”
  • For round faces: “Angular, narrow frames will help lengthen your face.”

But there’s more too. If you’re standing in front of the mirror, don’t feel like you have to rush into anything. Take a picture on your phone, see what it looks like and get your family and friends’ views.

“As with anything, whether it’s buying a new suit or a new car, people tend to stick with what they know and like,” Gemma says. “But don’t be afraid to try something different; go away, come back. Be a chameleon. It’s when fashion gets exciting and interesting, so embrace it with glasses. Be loud and proud.”

And with Vision Express’ new Exclusive Brands range you can do just that. Celebrity style at a reasonable rate, it pays homage to timeless designer classics and offers something for everyone, no matter what their style, age or gender.

Gemma, who as style consultant for Vision Express has been involved with the range, says it’s all about offering a designer look at affordable prices. “They’re the ultimate collection, but are so light and comfortable too that you almost forget you’ve put them on,” she says.