Analyzing Glasses and Modern Culture: Magazines and Newspapers

While people may have considered eyeglasses a handicap in the past, today glasses are an essential part of self-expression. For instance, glasses are increasingly becoming an indispensable aspect of the fashion industry. Top-tier magazines and newspapers are publishing articles on the how-to of glasses; from how to pick the perfect frame to how eyeglass demographics are changing.

It’s obvious that a topic like the evolution of eyewear is interesting to readers if such popular magazines, like GQ Magazine, write articles about how to pick the perfect frame. On GQ’s website there is a featured articled called, “Get Framed! A GQ Guide to Glasses.” The guide includes advice like:

“As Always, Fit Is Everything

1. Your glasses should be about the same width as your face—no wider, no narrower. And the top of your frames should hit at your eyebrows.

2. If your favorite pair of glasses isn’t fitting at the nose bridge, top-shelf eyewear stores can, in some cases, add plastic or silicone pads.

3. Get your glasses serviced once a year. The shop will tighten the screws, buff scratches from the plastic, and refit them to your face.

4. Shell out for good lenses. Thin, antireflective lenses are pricey, but they’re lighter, more comfortable, and worth it.”

It is interesting that people are looking to fashion magazines for advice on spectacles, instead of deciding based on personal preferences or based on advice from their optometrist. The feature also presents interviews with fashion designers, eyewear customers, and numerous celebrities. When designer Robert Geller was asked why he decided to include glasses in his clothing line, he said, “They say a lot about a man’s character, and I thought they helped complete the look of the collection” (Get Framed! A GQ Guide to Glasses). More and more designers are including eyewear as part of their accessories collection because people are demanding eyewear options.

According to an L.A. Times article—“Eyeglasses a new fashion essential?”—glasses have gone from a “nerd necessity” to “chic accessory” (Tschorn). The same article related eyewear to a beautiful jewelry piece in a clothing collection; they have become an essential aspect of any wardrobe. Designers, the article says, also find it easier to promote an eyewear line because the brand name or brand logo is always found on the side of the frame, making it easy for people to see frames they like and go buy the exact same ones.


Another interesting aspect of the current eyewear trends is that people who don’t need prescription glasses wear glasses as a fashion statement. Half of American that do not wear glasses (19.2% of people) said that they have worn glasses “without a prescription to be fashionable” (Tschorn). According to an article in the New York Times, people buy glasses without prescription lenses to “create an image” (Nelson). The article goes on to say that there are so many people wearing glasses to date that it seems “as if contacts were never invented” (Nelson). Whether a fashionistas thinks glasses make an outfit look chic, bold, ‘edgey,’ or cool, glasses have come back with a vengeance; they have completely taken over runway shows and fashion magazines.

While some people believe that the eyewear trend will disappear just as trends like shoulder pads and leg warmers did (Black), others believe that glasses are and will always be an essential part of one’s self-expression.


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