Hollywood places eyewear into two camps. The simple act of removing a pair of glasses can turn an ugly duckling into the dazzling prom queen, or a mild-mannered reporter into a superhero. Conversely, sunglasses are for the cool crowd; they’re favoured accessories of bad boys and slick power players. But fashion-conscious consumers don’t prescribe to those tired cinematic tropes. Glasses, regardless of their tint, are as valuable to the sartorially inclined as a great shoe or handbag.
Eyewear purveyors throughout the city have shopped the world for the biggest trends in optical frames and sunglasses in order to help Edmontonians update their looks and protect against the elements, as we prepare to soak in the rays that accompany our longer daytime hours. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then why not find them a perfect frame? Photography by Curtis Comeau
Top: Alain Mikli, $450 from Baker Optical; Left: Etnia, $290 from Vision by Design; Right: Dita, $749 from The Observatory; Bottom: Tom Brown, $649 from The Observatory
The Right Shape
When shopping for the perfect pair of glasses, start by looking in the mirror. “You always want to contrast your face shape,” says Dr. Sarah Keep of Vision by Design Optometry. Keep, who has eight years of experience fitting clients for new frames at her practice in Callingwood, follows a few basic rules when it comes to helping customers find a look that will flatter and enhance their appearances. “If you have a more rounded face, you want to add some geometry by having more angular frames. If you have more of a square shape, you want to soften those lines by doing something more rounded.”
Shape isn’t the only thing that Keep focuses on when working with her clients; size does matter when it comes to picking out a new pair of glasses. “You always want your frames to be proportional to your face,” says Keep, “so if you have a really narrow face, make sure that you have really petite narrow frames. If you have a longer face, make sure the frames are deep enough where it doesn’t make your face look extra long.”
You, Only Better
Glasses have the obvious function of correcting one’s vision but, by selecting the right frame, the wearer can alter the appearance of his or her face without going under the knife. “You can use the frames to highlight certain areas of the face,” says Keep, “so if you want to add more weight to the forehead or the jawline, you can do a bolder look along the eyebrow, or a deeper frame along the bottom, and it just balances out the face shape.”
Longer days and bright prairie sunshine make sunglasses required accessories during Edmonton’s warmer months. “Sunglasses are the big thing that we see in the spring,” says Keep. “One thing that’s kind of new is the updated retro look. This is the first summer that the double-bar sunglasses are going to be back in, so that’s really big.” These summer styles have stayed true to the trends dominating prescription lenses, with an emphasis on softer silhouettes. “Round is still really big in the sunglasses,” says Keep, “and people are going away from the big rectangular look.” Top to Bottom: Barton Perreira $649 from The Observatory; ic! Berlin, $450 from Baker Optical; Etnia, $260 from Vision by Design; Sospiri, $1000 from Baker Optical; Dita, $649 from The Observatory
Back to the Future
Vintage elements, such as gold accents and aviator styles, are everywhere for the spring and summer, but the look is more sophisticated retro than thrift-store chic. “The influence is vintage kicked up and taken to a new level,” says Jeri-Ann Willis, owner and licensed optician at The Observatory Opticians. “It has taken some of the most beautiful elements of vintage eyewear, but it has kicked it up to 2015 and modernized it.”
The other trend making a comeback for the season is mirrored lenses of all shapes and colours. Looks that feature reflective lenses in a multitude of shades were huge on the runways this season, and fashionistas and style bloggers alike have clamoured for these coveted styles. “Mirrored and coloured lenses are huge for the summer as well,” says Keep, “so you will see a lot of sunglasses that have blue, purple and yellow tints.”
Trends / Women
The emphasis is on fun and flirty for women’s frames this spring and summer.
“Really bright vibrant colours are really popular,” says Keep. “We have been buying lots of different patterns and colour blocking, and the floral patterns have been really popular.” Clockwise from top: Etnia, $290 from Vision by Design; Etnia, $290 from Vision by Design; Frost, $450 from Baker Optical; Sospiri, $900 from Baker Optical; Alain Mikli, $540 from Baker Optical
Glasses can be major investments for some, but those looking to find frames that will last them several seasons don’t need to stick to the classics. “We always say, ‘Don’t be afraid of colour,'” urges Keep. “A lot of patients think that if they want a staple frame that goes with every single outfit, and they want to wear it season to season, that they have to stick to something brown or black or really conservative. There are a lot of colours that you can go for, as long as they are a neutral colour that will go with everything.”
What’s old is new again
Vintage-inspired shapes are one of the more prevalent trends this season. “There is always a momentum every year, and this year the momentum is round, or a play on round,” says Willis. “There is a round for everybody, but proportion is really important. One round on one person might not work on another person, so it is very specific.” Cat’s-eye frames have also made a comeback this season, and the classic shape acts as a perfect backdrop to play with embellishments, like rhinestones and studs.
Trends / Men
Clockwise from top: Etnia, $290 from Vision by Design; Etnia, $290 from Vision by Design; Frost, $450 from Baker Optical; Sospiri, $900 from Baker Optical; Alain Mikli, $540 from Baker Optical
Trends in eyewear follow the same cycles as the ones seen in clothing and other accessories. With an increased focus on bold colours in men’s apparel, it is no surprise that designers are turning out unconventional frames. “We are seeing men step out a little bit and try colour,” says Willis. “For years, men were black and tortoise, black and tortoise. Now we are seeing some men going into blues, reds and other colours.”
The other major push in eyeglasses this season is in mixing materials. Designers have combined everything from metal to plastic and acetate in order to create modern styles that will give the wearer some variety to his looks. “Metal details with plastic were really big this year,” says Willis. She points out that, by introducing several materials into one pair of glasses, customers can play with more than one trend at a time. “We are also seeing a lot of bi-colours, where you have several colours involved. Lots of colour, lots of plastic.”
From the expert:
For men looking for a way to introduce a bold shade without making too big a leap, Willis suggests finding a frame that features a pop colour on the inside of the frame. “Often what they will do to introduce people into colour is do a black frame with flashes of colour.”