Rose coloured glasses

purple cat eye glasses

Remember back in January, when I whined a bit about how much I hate wearing glasses, and how no one other than my immediate family has ever seen me in them?

Well, today I’m changing that. By wearing my glasses in front of, well, all of you, basically. GULP.

See, a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Specsavers, who said they’d read my post about the glasses-hating, and wanted to see if they could change my mind, by helping me find a set of frames I DIDN’T hate.

Honestly, I was a little bit reluctant. “I’d have to, like, wear these glasses ON THE INTERNET?” I asked, incredulously. “And you reckon nothing bad will happen because of that?”

They were re-assuring, though. I didn’t have to parade the glasses in front of the internets if I didn’t want to, they said. And if I REALLY couldn’t find a pair I didn’t hate (“I will never be able to find a pair I don’t hate,” I predicted confidently. Ever the optimist!), well, that would be OK, too.

So I thought about it. And, you know, I REALLY hate my current glasses, so on Sunday afternoon, I found myself sitting in the Specsavers waiting room, all a-tremble as I prepared to have my eyes tested.

“All a-tremble?” I hear you say. “Is this woman some kind of idiot, or something?” Um, well, yeah, pretty much. But what I also am, unfortunately  is a massive hypochondriac. I say “unfortunately”. It’s not much fun actually BEING a hypochondriac, but it’s even LESS fun telling people about it, because it’s one of those “comic” syndromes, isn’t it? I mean, most people think I’m joking when I tell them I can’t walk into a hospital (or, indeed, any medical situation) without breaking into a cold sweat, but the truth is, I can’t even walk PAST a hospital without breaking into a cold sweat. I’m shaking just thinking about it. I’m not even joking.

retro eyeglasses

To say I’m terrified of medical tests, then, would be an understatement. Eye tests, for me, fall into the category of “medical tests”. Because I wear contact lenses, I have to have them a couple of times per year, and although nothing bad has ever happened to me during an eye test (Other than that one time when they did that “Blowing air into your eyeball” thing, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not prevent myself from SHRIEKING every time it happened…) I still go into each one feeling absolutely certain that the optician will look into my eyes and then announce that I’m either going blind, or that I have a brain tumour. Or possibly both. Happily, however, the staff at Specsavers said no such thing. They were also very kind and reassuring, which was good, because you know the “peripheral vision” test? Where they give you a little “trigger”, and you’ve to look at a dot on a screen, and press the trigger every time a light comes on around it?

I failed that test.

Yup, I failed an eye test. I didn’t even know you COULD fail an eye test, but, of course, leave it to me to find a way. I think – actually, I’m SURE – it was simply nerves that got the best of me. My reactions aren’t great at the best of times, and faced with the instruction to “focus on the dot”, my eyes instantly started roving around, looking at everything BUT the dot, and my finger joined in the fun by pushing that trigger more or less at random. At one point someone coughed outside and I reacted by pressing the trigger. GOD.

So I failed the test. The optician was kind enough to wait until after I’d gone through all of the other tests before she told me this, and when she did, she prefaced it with a great deal of “Now, it’s nothing to worry about at all, lots of people fail it,” but of course, what I heard was, “You are probably going to die soon.” GODGODGOD.

Having failed the first test, then, I had to do a resit, with a second, more thorough one. “This will just take a few minutes,” said the nice lady, handing me an eye patch. Yes, an EYE PATCH. I was going to die while dressed like a pirate! And I was too scared to even make a series of pirate jokes, which really disappoints me, looking back, because if you can’t make a good pirate joke while wearing an eye patch, when can you?

I passed the second test. Hallelujah! I handed over my eye-patch, and went to re-join Terry, (who had been having his own annual eye-test at the same time, and who had naturally passed with flying colours) for the fun part: the choosing of the frames.

Now, as I said above, I was sceptical about this. The fact is, I just don’t like most glasses. And they don’t like me either. My personal style, as you’ve probably noticed, leans heavily towards retro-inspired (or “old-fashioned”, as Terry would have it) looks, and what I’ve found is that most opticians don’t really cater to that market: in fact, last year, when I was buying my current frames, I looked at what felt like thousands of pairs of glasses, and the main thing I noticed was that they all looked more or less the same – either thick black hipster frames, thick black rectangular frames, or thin gold frames with those annoying little plastic nose-rest things, which always leave marks on my nose: awesome!

I did finally manage to track down a pair of (thick, black) cat’s eye frames, but as I said in my last post on this subject, I instantly hated them, and had decided that next time I bought glasses I would just go for the most obnoxiously “retro” style I could find. And here they are!

retro glasses

These are by Red or Dead, and I was actually quite surprised to find them in a “regular” optician’s, because so far I’ve found that if you want the retro look from your glasses, most of the time you’re going to have to either go to a specialist, or buy frames elsewhere and then have your prescription fitted. I had been considering doing that, but these were exactly the kind of thing I was looking for: a cat’s eye shape, a non-black frame, a “60s secretary” kind of feel about them… The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the hint of purple in the tortoishell pattern, but having had them for a few days now, I find the purple much less obvious when I’m actually wearing them than it looks in the photo above, so they don’t clash with my clothes – or at least, I don’t think they do…

These were one of a few “retro inspired” frames I found at Specasavers (“Everyone’s looking for that now,” the saleswoman told me, which gives me hope that we might start to see more of them…), but they were the most unique, which is why I chose them. If I had to wear glasses all the time, I might have gone for a slightly “safer” option, but I’m lucky in that I only really need them as a back-up to my contact lenses, so I figured I may as well go for the “60s secretary” pair while I had the chance. (I was also lucky in that Specsavers had these made up for me in less than an hour, which really impressed me: any time I’ve bought glasses in the past, I’ve had to wait at least a week to get my hands on them, so I’d expected to have to go back next week to collect them. This would’ve been hard for me, because this branch of Specsavers nestles between Topshop and Schuh, and I’m supposed to be on a spending ban…)

All of that said, I liked these enough to agree to take some photos in them  (I had to take these myself, and as you can probably tell, I found it pretty awkward, so I adopted a “one pose fits all,” kind of approach. Seriously, you should see the out-takes from this set…), so who knows, maybe I WILL be able to bring myself to wear glasses in public, now that I’ve taken this ground-breaking (for me) first step?

purpleframed retro cat eye glasses

[Disclosure: my glasses were provided free of charge by Specsavers. All opinions are my own.]

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43 Comments

  • Cookie says:

    Oh my goodness! These glasses really do scream Amber to me! I think you look so cute :)

    • Amber says:

      Oh, thank you – I definitely thought they were the most “me” pair of the selection!

      • Kelly Smith says:

        Hi Amber!
        HEEEELLLLP!! I must find these glasses for myself! I have been searching all over the web looking for somewhere to buy them. Any suggestions?

        • Amber says:

          Hi Kelly,

          AS I mentioned in the post, the glasses are by Red or Dead and I got them from Specsavers about a year and half ago. I’m afraid I don’t have any more information than that about them, but perhaps Red or Dead themselves would be able to tell you if they’re still made/sold anywhere?

  • Yes the blowing air into the eye thing is evil! My first ever eye test a few years ago they attempted it four, maybe five times and each time I shut my eyes so they huffed and gave up. They got a partial reading from one eye and nothing from the other but seriously what did they expect when blowing a puff of air at someones eyeball???

    The glasses are quite lovely, really in keeping with your style I think. I quite like a few pairs of the Gok glasses, just need to find the time (and courage) to pop in for another eye test and try on some frames :)

    • Amber says:

      That’s EXACTLY what I did! I’m a blinker, anyway – when Terry takes photos when I’m not wearing sunglasses (and sometimes when I AM…) he’s constantly yelling at me to “KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!” but I just found it IMPOSSIBLE not to blink every single time they puffed air at them. The poor woman was so patient, but I just couldn’t seem to do it!

      My second choice was actually a pair from the Gok Wan range: I was quite impressed with it – it’s nice to see glasses that aren’t just the usual “rectangle around the eye” shape. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course: it’s just good to have a bit more of a choice!)

  • The glasses suits you so well.

  • Liz Tea Bee says:

    Ooh, these are so fun. I’m actually quite the opposite. I don’t need glasses but I rather wish I did. I love the shape and color of these. They really emphasize your eye color which is fabulous.

  • Erika says:

    I know exactly how you feel about not wanting to wear glasses in public. These glasses look so good on you, hopefully this experience really will make you feel more comfortable in them. My son’s piano teacher has a pair of retro styled ones, and when I first saw them I thought, because they were so unique, I liked them so much. But of course, they probably wouldn’t look good on me. I think some people can pull this style off and you are surely one of them. ;-)

  • Fran says:

    Count on you to pull off those glasses! They really compliment your face and the purple is great with your hair. :)

    Back in October the glasses I had worn for FIVE YEARS broke and I only wanted others that looked just like them, because all I could think was IF I CHANGE FRAMES NO ONE WILL LOVE ME ANYMORE, so think about overreacting. :P So I holed myself up in vision express with a friend for an entire morning, and finally after hours we had it down to two pairs…and I took half an hour talking myself into one, just for my boyfriend to finally sashay in the shop, take a look at me, shake his head, take the frames off me and go…’the other pair. Seriously.’

    See I was right no one will love me anymore with the wrong frames. ;)

    • Amber says:

      I was just the same: every pair I loved, Terry instantly tried to veto (including these, which he thought were “too old fashioned”, although he has now come around to them and SAYS he likes them…) – meanwhile he kept bringing over bright red pairs, or hipster glasses, or other styles I took one look at and loathed!

      I actually don’t think it’s an over-reaction, though, because if you wear glasses regularly, they’re such a HUGE part of your appearance – it’s basically an “accessory” that you have to wear EVERY day with every single outfit, so it’s a big decision. I mean, imagine going to buy a scarf of something, knowing that you would never get to take it off!

      • Fran says:

        I know, it’s why I went with thin bronze frames that blend with my hair colour, so they never clash with what I am wearing (unless it’s orange, because orange is orange).

        I am lucky in that I have a strong-featured face, so glasses don’t change it that much…I can imagine someone with a small and delicately-featured face such as yours could find most glasses a bit daunting. But as I said, these are lovely!

  • Kim K says:

    You have such great senses of style and fun…your selection looks great on you, and you’re lucky to look good both with and without! I’m one whose bone structure is politely called plain, so I actually look better with frames–they’re like corrective jewelry for my face and take some of the emphasis off the problems. Due to that, it’s especially important for me to find ones that create balance, so you have my sympathy over hating most frames…I do, too, for differing reasons!

    • Amber says:

      That’s really interesting… I actually feel much the same way about sunglasses: I have to wear them because my eyes are really sensitive to light, but I do think they improve my face (although mostly by hiding it, it has to be said…): I love your “corrective jewellery for the face” analogy! For some reason it always surprises me that I don’t get the same effect from regular glasses – I feel like they should do the same thing, but they just make feel really self-conscious!

  • Sandy says:

    They look great on you! I love cats eye glasses but I fear they just don’t seem to suit me.

  • Aaron says:

    Stunning!

  • Call me M says:

    These glasses are so YOU! And you look gorgeous with them on! Really good choice!

  • Rachel says:

    Growing up, my big sister had glasses and I always thought it was the coolest thing ever. I wanted them so badly…. Except that I have perfect vision.

  • Katie says:

    They look fantastic on you! I need a new pair of glasses myself, so I’m hoping my optometrist has some similar retro options, too. If I have to wear these things all the time, I want to be able to enjoy it!

  • Stephen says:

    Love ‘em! Good choice, Red.

  • Katie says:

    You look lovely! Good ol’ Specsavers; saving you from un-Amber-like glasses hell :)

  • Trea says:

    These are just so you, they would be hideous on me but u can pull them off so well Amber!

  • Pooja says:

    You look so beautiful!

  • Mana says:

    I adore these on you. They’re absolutely amazing. I wanted that style but everyone veto’d it. Next time I’m just gonna say bop it an do it anyway(bop is so not the word I was thinking there but it’s politer)

  • Rakhshanda says:

    These glasses suit you so well Amber <3

  • Nina says:

    La-la-lovely! The first photo cracks me up, that mouth you’re making! :)) Looks lovely on you, really!

  • Daisy says:

    They’re gorgeous, well done! I got a new pair of glasses a couple of months ago, and it took me literally two hours to decide. I too felt that the entire shop was filled with those ridiculous hipster glasses. My mum gave up after a while and left me alone in the shop until I had brought the options down to two. And while I love yours, I couldn’t imagine myself wearing them every day. So I opted for a “safe” pair instead.

  • Lindsey says:

    Thanks Amber, you have inspired me to wear my glasses to work today! My contacts are having their first day off in years. I really like my glasses and feel ok about wearing them round the house, but coming into work this morning I felt a bit LOOK EVERYONE, I AM WEARING GLASSES! After about a minute it felt normal though so it was really no big deal :-D
    Your glasses are gorgeous by the way.

    • Amber says:

      This is EXACTLY how I feel! And actually, now I come to think of it, having said I’ve never worn them in public, your comment just reminded me of a time in my last job when I ran out of contact lenses and had no choice but to wear my glasses at work (By which I mean I wore them to drive there and to work on the computer, but removed them for everything else…). I felt like rather than glasses, I had a giant sign attached to my face saying LOOKIT THE GLASSES, and like everyone would surely stop in their tracks to point and laugh, but of course nothing of the sort happened… The people I worked with did notice them, purely because they’d never seen me in glasses before, but there was no pointing and sniggering (that I saw, anyway!): it was a good reminder that other people really don’t notice the things I always feel are OMGSOOBVIOUS!

      • Lindsey says:

        Yes, it’s definitely a good reminder of that! For me it’s also about getting myself to actually wear and enjoy the things I own. I have lots of lovely skirts and dresses but I always go straight for my uniform of jeans, boots and cardigan – it feels way safer. I feel like wearing a dress is a big deal but it isn’t at all!!

        • Amber says:

          I think the problem with dresses etc is that, depending on where you live, people DO tend to make a big deal about how “dressed up” you are, or whatever, and to act like you’re somehow letting the team down by not wearing jeans or sweats. At least with glasses, people think of them as a “normal” thing to wear, to it’s not so bad! (Sunglasses, on the other hand, are NEVER OK for many people – not even when it’s sunny!)

  • Jessica says:

    I LOVE these on you amber!!!! You look beautiful :). I wear glasses all the time, and when I shop for new ones it’s very hard to tell what they are going to look like on. I have to take off my prescription ones to try new ones, and then I can’t see, lol!! I never really know how I look until my new ones are ready.

  • Tanya says:

    I hated wearing glasses so much that I had laser surgery. And don’t get me started on eye-tests (had a “cat scratch fever disease” three years ago-ish, almost lost sight in one eye, had to do that eye-patch-and-click test a bunch of times, oh horror!) But now and then I grab a pair in a shop and just try it on. For fun I guess, which is a bit strange.
    I love your glasses and they are perfect for you, and your close-ups are perfect too. And the purple is nice too. Everyone has brown tortoise frames, but yours are definitely unique.

    Off topic – if you have a second, could you maybe tell me how to post the weather screenshot on Instagram? I tried to write a comment under your “3 degrees in Edinburgh” post but the dog kept tugging me and I almost lost it… Sorry…

  • aunt fiona says:

    i think they look amazing on you. blair has his eyes “laserd” is that a word lol? anyway you should look into that he says its the best thing he has ever done. on side note. we have a snow storm the school is empty, but, one brave girl walked past me with 6inch heels. now thats a fashion statement. xxx

    • Amber says:

      Oh, I didn’t know Blair had had it done! I would love to have mine lasered, but just can’t afford it unfortunately, especially if we’re going to buy a new house – maybe one day, though: it would be able to just be able to see without having to think about contacts or glasses!

  • Corinne says:

    I wish I wore glasses! When I was 8 I tried to fake an eye test because this girl at school just got glasses and I was really jealous. But unfortunately for me, I have perfect vision. You now probably want to stab me in the face for saying that!

    Anyway, the glasses look great on you, and I am glad that you did not die during your ‘medical’ exam =)

    Corinne x
    http://www.skinnedcartree.com

  • Louise says:

    I have to say, I do love glasses. I’ve been wearing them since I was 7, and treat them as something of a fashion accessory. My current specs are ‘retro’ and I had to hunt high and low for them, but I’m getting new glasses next month and have already spied my chosen vintage inspired pair.

    I hate that red dot test too, but I actually just laughed out loud at your description of events. X

  • Eva says:

    And you said glasses didn’t suit you. You look absolutely gorgeous! And I’ve noticed you’ve started using a photo with glasses as your profile picture on several sites :)

  • Moni says:

    I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about when it comes to choosing frames… *deep sigh*
    I kept the glasses I had before my current ones until they literally started falling apart, because there were NONE that even remotely suited me.
    The current trend of frames being very slim but wide with massive temples is just wrong for my face shape, and somehow it doesn’t seem to go away. I don’t know why there are several trends per year when it comes to clothes, but with glasses the fashion stays the same for a decade… Seriously, people’s faces are even less alike than their bodies, and they actually expect us all to wear all the same one shape of frames?!
    So I was SO HAPPY to finally find my current glasses when I visited my parents in Potsdam. They were rather expensive, but it was definitely worth it, because I’ve been having them for more than a year now and still love them.

    By the way: I handle it just the other way round. I normally wear glasses (because I think I look better with them than without), and have contact lenses for those cases when glasses just don’t fit the outfit or the occasion.

    Your glasses are really pretty and suit you great! I hope you find the courage to wear them outside! :)

  • Lowri says:

    You look amazing in those glasses! Definitely wear them out in public because you look beautiful wearing them! I wanted these glasses myself, but my local Specsavers didn’t have them :( So I opted for retro style Karen Miller glasses! x

  • Kit says:

    I LOVE THESE!!

    What is the model number/name are they? I tried the Red or Dead website with no luck :( I’m trying to find them in Australia but I can’t find them :(

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