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Frame game: Four glasses boutiques worth making a spectacle of


By Niamh ODonoghue
22nd Aug 2018
Frame game: Four glasses boutiques worth making a spectacle of

Four eyes ARE better than two (even if you don’t actually need them), and here are the frames to prove it…


I adore my glasses – they have become part of who I am. Now, I would not have said that until very recently because you see, I was an eye-patch-wearing, blind-as-a-bat kid. At one stage, I had lost both front teeth mid-patch-wearing and, combined together, I looked like a pirate battling the depths of scurvy – and there is photographic evidence of this. Empty mouth aside, it was the hideous glasses that now make me shiver at the thought of the photograph reemerging (which makes an annual appearance at birthdays etc).

I discovered, once I started earning a wage, that my eyewear didn’t need to compromise form for function. I bought my first pair of ‘fancy’ glasses on my J1 to America in a stunning little boutique called Warby Parker (more info below, keep scrolling). They transformed me entirely: I was no longer wearing ‘just glasses’ but facial furniture that made me sit straighter, walk taller and wear carefully coordinated and complimentary blazers and shoes.

It was far from boutique glasses I came from, but what surprised me most was the accessible price point and excessive range available. I wasn’t stuck to choosing a mundane frame from the discount corner of the shop, but instead, I had a whole floor to choose from – all within my budget and suited to my personality. My glasses are my armour and I feel naked without them.

Glasses suggestion intellect and attitude: a glance over tortoiseshell glasses and a quick eyebrow arch have the power to turn the temperature from mild to sizzling hot, and not to mention it’s the new Gucci girl-gang look… And don’t forget that once you’ve found desirable eye armour, kit them out with the perfect pair of glasses chains (it’s true; the trend is having a full-on revival and it’s far from drab).

Gucci AW18 catwalk. Photograph, Jason Lloyd Evans

Gucci AW18 catwalk. Photograph, Jason Lloyd Evans

ICYMI: Should I buy these sunglasses chains?

With a delightful selection of independent eyewear boutiques right on our doorstep,  you don’t need to travel too far to find glasses with charm and charisma. It’s easy to be seduced by the spectacle of this selection…

Ace & Tate

Max metal temple, €98 at aceandtate.com

Max metal temple, €98 at aceandtate.com (prescription included)

Dutch eyewear label Ace & Tate just yesterday opened its first ever Irish store on Exchequer St in Dublin. Ace & Tate has made quite a name for themselves by taking the standard glasses-selling model (i.e. expensive) and flipping it. At Ace & Tate, “you pay for design and high quality, nothing else” is written on their contemporary website that’s perfectly in tune with the selection of glasses on offer. The brands “Be whoever you want to be” mantra is an easy win with both millennials and older folk, and an inviting starting price of €98 (including prescription), is an even bigger incentive. In gentle lavender, these Max metal temple frames, above, are perfect for petite features. But they’re far from ‘cute’ and the sleek metal earpieces give these frames a new-found, tougher attitude.

Optica

The'Dita' frame, available at opticadublin.com

The ‘Dita’ frame, available at opticadublin.com

Stepping into the eclectic and uniquely designed boutique at number 6 Dawson Street feels like it should be set in a swanky neighbourhood in the upper-east side of Manhattan. Independent vision experts Optica have been serving high-quality, high-design face furniture to Irish and international clientele for more than 25 years – making them one of Dublin’s longest-established opticians. You can’t shop their collection on their website (though you will find inspiration and a history lesson), but that’s part of the charm.

Visiting the gorgeous space is part of the overall experience you get when choosing frames with Optica. And when it comes to making your decision, you can be guaranteed to find something standout-ish. These frames are not for wallflowers and fans of the brand include bold personalities like Britain’s Got Talent judge Michelle Visage, jewellery designer Chupi and writer and baker Susan Jane White. Being an independent optician, Optica also stock a number of Irish designers, including Wolfhound Eyewear.

Dixon Hempenstall 

Gucci GG02130, €600 at dublinopticians.ie

Gucci GG02130, €600 at dublinopticians.ie

For the vanity-conscious glasses-wearer, drop by Dixon Hempenstall on Suffolk Street in Dublin. The family-owned opticians, established in 1908, stock a sizable choice of top-shelf designer frames including Armani, Gucci, Prada, YSL and Tom Ford. Hempenstalls selection falls on the higher end of the price scale, but what the wearer gets is absolute luxury and assurance that A) you can see correctly and B) look absolutely swanky in the process. Clients of the small independent boutique include Tom Hanks and Ed Sheeran,

Warby Parker

Hadley glasses, €125 at warbyparker.com (prescription included)

Hadley glasses, €125 at warbyparker.com (prescription included)

Warby Parker is an American-based boutique with a similar ethos to Ace & Tate, but with a slightly different, rebellious rhythm to them. They too offer designer, fashion-forward frames at a realistic price (frame and prescription come in at €100). A clever feature of the Warby Parker model is there pick-and-try online method: choose up to five of your favourite frames online and try them on at home for free before committing. They also work with sight charity VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. Buying glasses should be a fun experience, and Warby Parker makes it that way.