I Can See Clearly Now

Make a statement with your eyewear.

I’ve been wearing glasses since grade school when, seemingly overnight, the math questions on the chalkboard began fading into a blurry mess. Sporting specs at that age brought on merciless ridicule. “Four eyes” was a stinging epithet made worse by the knowledge that your nerdy-looking frames were undoubtedly chosen from the cheap rack at the town’s only optician.

Over the years, I’ve attempted to distance myself from those early bad eyewear experiences by trying out different frames as per the trends of the day: sporty, wire, oval and rectangular – I even dallied with contacts lenses but couldn’t get comfortable sticking plastic bits into my eyes.

However, I never did get to the point where I viewed glasses as a fashion accessory. To me, they were always just an annoying tool I needed to see better. So every two years when my prescription needed updating, I’d go to the nearest optician, hurriedly choose a new pair, plunk them on every morning and wear them for all occasions: at home, on the job or out to a dinner party.

That is until I had a conversation with Beverly Suliteanu, creative director of Montreal-based Wescan Optical. She suggests that times have changed, and men’s eyewear choices have evolved. Apparently, many of today’s leading stars like Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt are now using glasses to make a statement (“I’m more than just a pretty face”).

I also learn it’s becoming more common for men to own two sets of specs – one for everyday purposes and another, perhaps a more daring pair, for social occasions. The eyewear industry is responding to this trend, offering stylish new frames: plastic rims instead wire, a dash of colour instead of the usual black, grey or gold and a variety shapes instead of the ubiquitous thin rectangular frames. It’s all in the name of matching your glasses to your personality and lifestyle.

“We don’t wear the same pair of shoes for every occasion,” says Suliteanu. “So why not have a second pair of frames that can be worn at different outings?”

While it’s unlikely I’ll ever give glasses the same attention I do to, say, my shoes, her point is well taken. It was time I looked at my specs with a more fashionable eye: so I chose a pair of Evatiks in classic black with thick arms and larger frames.

Now I hope nobody calls me “four eyes.”