Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column
I am a 40+ woman who can't wear contact lenses and doesn't want to get Lasik surgery. I wear smaller earrings than I'd like, never wear a hair ornament that's visible from the front, and generally just never feel really dressed up when I still have to wear my glasses. (Which I've worn since age 7.)
It looks like the celebs who have to wear glasses are not concealing them, just wearing the boldest, thickest frames out there. But I'd also bet that they don't wear them all evening long, just when they have to read something. Please advise. Thanks very much. FS, Los Angeles
You’re right. You won’t catch many celebrities sporting non-tinted eyewear on the red carpet. For one, clear eyeglass lenses catch the glare of all the paparazzi bulbs flashing in their face and two, what’s the point of wearing eyewear that shows your eyes? It’s like celebrity rule No. 1 to hide behind giant sunglasses!
They may slip them on to read a Teleprompter or while scoping out the crowd to see who’s seated next to whom, but for the most part, eyeglasses are almost nonexistent at red carpet events. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
As long as you’re not going to be facing a million little flashing bulbs when you step out to go somewhere fancy, wearing eyeglasses with a more dressed up look is totally possible. Take a look at how Diane Lane did it at the Artists for Peace & Justice event. She wore a simple, nude sheath dress and a pair of barely there, clear frame eyeglasses that kept in line with her minimal look. She looked chic, modern and understated and seemed to wear her specs on and off the red carpet.
If you’re wearing a simple outfit with clean lines, in earth tones like Lane, this minimal look in eyewear is best. Prada makes a pair of glasses that are almost frameless, except for a thin gold top and simple black arms ($315). Tiffany & Co’s beige frames have a skin tone quality that will blend in to the rest of you and not compete with your other accessories ($220)
Keeping your specs really understated so they hopefully go unnoticed is one way to work this. But as you mentioned, you can also go for bold and really make a statement with your eyewear.
A lot of celebrities such as Justine Timberlake, Jay Z and Katy Perry have worn their thick, black eyeglass frames onto the red carpet or out for a formal event. Perry went for a very retro cat eye shape, with rhinestones speckled at each corner. While the pop star looked the part of a very glamorous '50s housewife, wearing such a dated shape can look costume-y when trying to pair them with something more formal, as well as overshadow the rest of your outfit and other accessories. Choose something bold, but a bit less intense. This pair from Dolce & Gabbana ($375), has a statement-making shape and color, plus a smattering of rhinestones on the temples. These look much more "Mad Men" than Dame Edna and I’m guessing you would agree with me, that that’s a good thing.
Color is obviously a great way to make a statement with your eyewear, but it can also be limiting to how you can wear them. If you’re wearing a gown, I’d stay away from funky frames in a bright color, but if you’re wearing a chic gray or black suit, heels and a few pieces of great jewelry, colorful frames can really set off the whole look. L.A. Eyeworks makes some really fun pairs like the “Bent” in white, “Bing” in Big Pink and “Drago” in Red Rose Split. They’re slightly eccentric, but memorable and definitely stylish.
Just because you wear eyeglasses doesn’t mean you must forgo jewelry or settle with feeling un-dressed up. Glasses, like any other accessory, can work to shape your overall look -- be that formal or casual. Just pick the right pair that goes with your face shape and taste and maybe invest in a dressy pair to wear to nice events or just whenever you feel the need to look a little more glamorous.
Send your style queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Photos: Top, Diane Lane at the Artists for Peace and Justice event/Charley Gallay, Getty; right, Prada, $260, at Lenscrafters/Prada; left, Dolce & Gabbana, $375, at Lenscrafters/Dolce & Gabbana; right, Tiffany & Co., $220, at Lenscfraters/Tiffany & Co.; left, L.A Eyeworks "Drago" in red rose split at L.A Eyeworks/L.A.Eyeworks