Saturday, February 19, 2005

Glasses are the new hat

We've all heard variations on the theme of "[blank] is the New Black." Eventually every shade in the spectrum will be called into play because fashion types can't make up their minds: "Brown is the new ... " no, wait ... make that "Pink is the new ..." no wait .... And because all things come to those who stand and wait, eventually, our ears are gladdened by the inevitable ever-so-clever self-referential "Black is the new Black."

Well, whoop de do, fashion types. I have news for you. Glasses are the new black. Or at least, glasses are the new hat.

You see, in old movies--I'm talking movies of the 30s, 40s, and 50s--you know, old--hats were huge. Ladies' hats, that is. Why, in Another Thin Man the witty dialogue was derived from a single source: the repetition of the line "Gee, that's a screwy hat." This peerless jest was delivered by a variety of characters, always in reference to the same hat. It resembled a wide-brimmed off-center unicorn's horn. Yes, it was screwy, but damn, that hat had some serious fun. In a single evening it went to a prize fight and into the jockey's locker room at the local track, and which of us could say the same?

Well, nobody wears hats anymore. Not even Myrna Loy. Oh, maybe we do when it's cold, or when we're pretending to be English, i.e., going to a garden party or an afternoon wedding, or when we want to lie out in the sun with a trashy novel. But basically, hats are not happening.

But remember the hat-centric time when the unhappy housewife would be advised to run out and buy herself a new hat? It seems there was a time, pre-Paxil, when a new hat worked as well or better than a couple of dry martinis as regards preserving the harried housewife's supply of seratonin.

And what does the average housewife got to be depressed about these days? The usual stuff that always bothered us, and one of those things is the ageing process. Which, you will remember, comes accompanied with changes in one's vision. Presbyopia, to be exact.

Well, call me Pollyanna, but why not look at the bright side of going blind? Why not take advantage of this God-given reason to buy yourself some mega-kewl glasses? Skip Lasik, shelve the contact lenses, and have some fun with the fact that you can't read the phone book any more. Take me, for example. I've been having some serious fun with presbyopia ever since I discovered that I couldn't read newspaper headlines, let alone the small print.

My latest pair of glasses, which inspired me to write this in the first place, is purple. And cat's-eyed. On top of that, they're only purple on the outside; the inside of the frames is teal green. Yes, they sound weird, but trust me. They are FABULOUS. The shape flatters my face, the color flatters my complexion, and basically, they're as good as a face lift, except not nearly as expensive and way less painful.

Plus, since along with my new frames I also got a new prescription, I have this dazzling new clarity of vision. It's practically surreal. If you ever sat through the opening sequence of David Lynch's Blue Velvet, you know what life is looking like to me these days.

So back to the subject of hats. Until such time as they come back, glasses are the nearest substitute for something you wear near your face that can give you a whole new look. If you wear glasses and they're over two years' old, they are too old. Go out and buy yourself a new pair right now. Get a pair in a cool shape. Get an emphatic color, too. Gold or silver wire rims are for grannies, baby.

Trust me on this. You take a no-longer-particularly-youthful face and park a pair of cutting edge fashion-forward glasses on its nose, and all of a sudden, things start to happen. Your look now says "I am so not a middle-aged American housewife. I am a European woman of a certain age, cheri." Parking garage attendents and UPS guys will start flirting with you big time.

OK, this might strike some as shallow. But presbyopia is nature's way of letting us know that we're old and wise enough to enjoy a few frivolous pleasures.


  1. Wait. This is news? As someone who has* 4 pair of eyeglasses and 5 Rx sunglasses, I hereby welcome you to the club. The dues are low and we have punch and cookies at our meetings.


    *Actually, "had" as my fave pair went awol between one walking out of one office building and walking three blocks to another office building. Now you know why we drive everydamnedwhere.

  2. Sorry, Joke, this is not about owning multiple pairs of glasses. It's about buying fashion-forward glasses. I'm afraid your glasses don't make enough of a style statement to qualify as such.

    Be of good cheer, though. This post was addressing peculiar circumstances. And because you're not a housewife, you don't need a face lift, you don't need cheering up, and nobody (if you had been around in the 1940s to advise) would have advised you to go out and buy yourself a new hat.

    Because you aren't a woman of a certain age.

    So it's OK that you have lots of boring glasses.


  3. Preach, sister! LASIK and contacts are not options for me, so glasses it is, forever and ever. My insurance pays for one pair per year, and lucky me, my ever-changing prescription necessitates the purchase of such. And now that I can't drive *or* read without them, I have all sorts of kewl reading glasses to chose from, too, which are readily available and cheap!

    Please advise as to whether it's fashionable to have one of those bejeweled leash/chain thingies for reading glasses, though. Because I am just not sure whether that crosses the line into old-ladyism in a bad way or in a funky/ironic way. When one is borderline old oneself, I mean.

    And Jeebus, could I be more verbose? Is there a word limit on these things? I am sober and everything!

  4. Bad-J, your verbosity pales in comparison to mine. So don't sweat it.

    As for the question of glasses chains--old lady? or kewl and ironic?--I think the answer depends on whether you're wearing a sweatshirt with your grandchildren's names written in puffy paint. Or are attending a Red Hat convention.

    In these cases, glasses chains would be ultra kewl and ironic. Particularly if they are bedight with beads and crappe.

    On the other hand, only me and Joke would really understand how kewl you were being.

    So personally, I would say that glasses chains are best avoided. Instead, get a few pairs of those teensy folding reading glasses; you know, the ones that come in little metal containers. And stick a pair in every bag. You'll be prepared without having to wear the glasses around your neck.


  5. Poppiest,

    You are (and it's plain to anyone of the meanest intelligence) clearly blocking out teh eyeglasses which Numbah One Son calls the "bowling glasses" the sort of neo/retro jobbies that I wore to the duck thing that time when my shoe went unhinged. (Which caused many elderly people whose names suffer from vowel deficits to miss out on a what a properly cut rug entails, but I digress.)

    Part of the problem is that what is currently fashion-forward is woefully unflattering to me and, as a consequence, anathema. You may seem like a raving hottie in your Catwoman Meets Prince frames, but the sorts of things available to sentient men make me look like an utter imbecile.

    However, if you do find a pair that you'd consider worthy of my consideration, feel free to URL me.



Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.