Glasses Are Having A Moment (And Carrie Bradshaw Approves)

Plus, the experts on how to find your perfect pair.

And Just Like That Carrie Bradshaw Glasses

by Laura Antonia Jordan |
Updated on

In the sixth season of Sex and the City, there is an episode where Samantha whips out a pair of specs to read the brunch menu only to be met with quizzical, slightly sniffy looks from Carrie and Miranda (one suspects they would have looked less surprised had she pulled out a dildo from her purse. In fact, when she did just that in LA - gifts from Garth the dildo model - there were less raised eyebrows). ‘Yes, I need glasses and I’m not ashamed,’ she retorts. ‘I have a sexy young man who loves to f**k me and I’m fabulous’. Indeed.

Samantha, as usual, has been proven right. Fast forward to now, and the opening scene of And Just Like That sees all three of our remaining foursome wearing glasses themselves. Carrie’s square wire 'Meryl' frames are by Berlin-based brand Mykita, Sex and the City'smost underrated style star, Miranda, is a Moscot ‘Miltzen’ girl (Big and Stanford also wear Moscot), Charlotte’s are believed to be from Warby Parker and breakout style star of the season, Nicole Ari Parker's Lisa Todd Wexley (a woman already so iconic she can go by her initials - LTW - alone) wears Linda Farrow's supersized Dunaway opticals.

In a show where every styling choice is so specifically considered, so lapped up – and accessories frequently merit their own storylines – this is no accident. Sure, they are an obvious shorthand for ageing (a topic explicitly addressed in early scenes) but in Bradshaw’s Manhattan practicality has never trumped fashion (or for that matter budget; these women could easily afford laser eye surgery; Miranda did – in season three). They are a deliberate, aspirational style choice.

Karen Pittman in And Just Like That
Karen Pittman in And Just Like That ©And Just Like That

While we would be ridiculous to declare glasses ‘in’ or ‘back’ (shout out to my fellow sexy, specsy Samanthas), many of us are thinking about them more than ever. All that screentime of the past couple of years has been bad news for our eyes. ‘[They] are not designed to be fixed on a single object for a long period of time. When we focus on our screens, our eyes become stressed and strained,’ says Specsavers’ clinical services director Giles Edmonds. (In a survey conducted by the retailer 60% of people admitted to spending more than five hours a day staring at their devices).

According to Tom Broughton, founder of Cubitts, there’s another reason for that renewed interest. ‘Lockdown has definitely impacted demand, but perhaps not in the way you'd expect. One of the biggest takeaways from the lockdowns is how accustomed we have become at staring at small thumbnails of our own faces - often for hours and hours on end. As such, we've become much more aware of the frames we wear, and the impact that has on our image’.

Now, as we continue to navigate the tricky world of hybrid working – with mixed results – forget the tired ‘trackpants vs tailoring’ debate. A far more pressing style conundrum (certainly for anyone struggling to read this right now) is: contacts or glasses?

To which I say: why miss the opportunity to accessorise? Necessity plus the stamp of approval from consummate cool girls like Ella Emhoff, means specs are having a moment. As Cassie Smart, head of womenswear at Matchesfashion, says: ‘Our customer is styling them in the same way they would style a necklace or hair accessory. We have had a fantastic response to the more unconventional shapes, with our customer gravitating towards oversized, bold acetate frames but keeping to classic colours of black and tortoiseshell. Highlights have been Loewe, Celine and Dior’.

Ella Emhoff wearing glasses
Ella Emhoff ©Getty

Trending now are unapologetic, supersized frames. ‘Since the turn of the new season, the popularity of ‘70s and ‘80s bold colours and statement oversized styles has grown massively,’ says Cutler and Gross design director Marie Wilkinson who puts it down, in part, to the House of Gucci effect (check out the brand’s the 1394 oversized aviators and the 1395 round opticals if these are your jam).

Zack Moscot, chief design officer of iconic American brand Moscot, and a fifth generation member of the family behind it, agrees. ‘As eyewear is possibly the most prominent accessory one could wear and say about their sense of style and taste (since a frame is on one’s face), we are noticing people’s willingness to wear very bold frames nowadays,’ he says. ‘As a heritage eyewear brand, we have always had timeless styles that remain relevant and popular, but as of late, I have seen an uptick in some of our bigger and chunkier frame styles in both round and square shapes’. Founded in 1915, Moscot has a prestigious lineage - worn by everyone from Jeff Goldblum to Jenna Lyons, Andy Warhol to Demi Moore - but it knows how to look forward: their blue light glasses are specifically designed to offer a more comfortable experience for anyone viewing a digital screen. Side note: I am yet to meet a man who doesn't look better in a pair of Moscot frames (see Oscar Isaac inScenes from a Marriage).

Demi Moore wearing glasses
Demi Moore ©Getty

How to find your perfect pair then? Broughton advises that fit is everything. ‘Choose a frame that fits well at your nose, ideally with a top brow which follows your eyebrows - whatever you do, don't get your eyebrows in the lenses. Similarly, the arms should bend just at the start of your ears. In terms of style, the old adage is to offset the geometry of your face. In other words, go for a frame that has the opposite characteristic (this could mean choosing a square frame for a round face). But I think that's less relevant right now - the bolder your choice, the more compliments you're going to get’. Unsurprisingly, Cubitts have seen an uptick in its Bespoke service, which allows wearers to have a glasses made to fit their exact measurements (check out Bespoke+ offering if you want something completely unique).

According to Wilkinson, who says you should never choose frames based purely on trends (wise advice: not only do you need to take into account what suits you, opticals are an investment), it's also important to think about your colouring. 'I would also take into consideration the hair colour, eye colour and skin undertone – choosing the right colour can give you similar results as colour correcting, and can help to reduce the appearance of redness, brighten dull skin, and enhance golden undertones for a year-round summer glow'.


SHOP: The Best Glasses

Moscot, Yontif, £2651 of 9

Moscot, Yontif, £265

Cubitts, Matilda, £1252 of 9

Cubitts, Matilda, £125

Cutler and Gross, 1386 Optical Square Glasses, £2953 of 9

Cutler and Gross, 1386 Optical Square Glasses, £295

Bottega Veneta, Cat-Eye Glasses, £2954 of 9

Bottega Veneta, Cat-Eye Glasses, £295

Prism, Dakota Dark Tortoiseshell, £1955 of 9

Prism, Dakota Dark Tortoiseshell, £195

Specsavers, Bessie, £996 of 9

Specsavers, Bessie, £99

Celine, Cat-Eye Acetate And Metal Glasses, £3107 of 9

Celine, Cat-Eye Acetate And Metal Glasses, £310

GLCO, El Rey in Black Glass, £2508 of 9

GLCO, El Rey in Black Glass, £250

Linda Farrow, Dunaway Oversized Optical Frame In Tortoiseshell, £3009 of 9

Linda Farrow, Dunaway Oversized Optical Frame In Tortoiseshell, £300

Another thing to consider? Multiple options. ‘Glasses are the first thing one puts on in the morning and the last thing one takes off at night and, therefore, could be the most critical accessory you choose in terms of fashion and function,’ says Moscot. ‘For this reason, it is important to have more than one pair so you can express your sense of style with different frames and different outfits on different days’. As Samantha would say: fabulous!

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