Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

On Glasses Shopping and How Awesome It Is to Feel Included

By Anytimeyoga @anytimeyoga

This spring, I needed new glasses. Well, I wanted new glasses. My prescription was still fine, but my single functional pair of glasses was four years old and the worse for wear. Also, I wanted a pair of prescription sunglasses for driving and hiking and outside and stuff. Because, you know, I live in Arizona and that sort of thing should come standard. ;)

Utilizing my fabulous math skills, it didn’t take me long to determine that it would be worlds cheaper for me to get my exam done at a discount optical and then order glasses online than it would be to use my insurance at any of the places that actually accepted said insurance. Even knowing it would save me money (which I like), I was not prepared for how fully awesomely this plan would work out.

Now, I am not really a shopper — especially when it comes to shopping for anything related to my personal appearance (clothing, make up, whatever). Nor am I someone who goes to great lengths to accessorize… anything. So the sheer amount of time I spent going through the offerings of a certain online optical store kind of astounded me. (Of course, I should also note that this was relatively low-energy, low-brain work that I was doing… in the final month of school.) It was so different than so many of the clothes shopping experiences I am used to.

Close up of woman wearing glasses. Visible is her right eye and blue and black plastic glasses frame.

Yes, color coordinated to my eyeballs.

The biggest point? They were expecting me — or someone like me — as their customer. That is, I have a fairly average face and an uncomplicated prescription. This means that of the store’s total selection, a goodly number of them fit me. Not all of them, no. And some things I’d categorize as “fit” would also have been too tight or too loose to really be ideal — but I could have made those work if I’d had to. And certainly not every pair of frames that did fit met my other requirements for aesthetics and functionality. But it’s a novel and exciting prospect in my clothes-shopping experience to discover that many of a stores items will fit me — in fact, so many that I needed to devise some kind of more involved criteria than just “it fits” to pick out a pair of glasses.

Fortunately, the site posts multiple measurements for each pair of frames, so I got to be picky about fit. There are measurements for frame width, bridge width, arm length, and frame weight. So I had the relative luxury of finding a frame that fits all of those points — and, conversely, of rejecting a frame because it fits here and here but not here. Contrast this with general clothes shopping, where I very often deal with pants that fit in the hips but not the waist or the inseam — or shirts that fit through the shoulders or the arms or the waist or the bust. To compound matters, a fair number of online retailers of general clothing don’t list all of the measurements that would be relevant to me. I mean, when was the last time I saw a size chart give the thigh measurement for a pair of pants or the arm measurement for a sleeved shirt?

But can I say how spectacularly awesome it is to see all the measurements for a particular item and compare that to the measurements of my actual body — so I get a much more comprehensive picture of what “fit” means?

Also, not gonna lie — My favorite feature of the site is the one that lets me upload a photo — or photos (I may have uploaded, like, four) — of my face to see what any given pair of glasses would look like on me personally. For one, it’s nice simply being able to take aesthetics into account. I cannot count the number of frames I felt free to reject simply because they did not look the way I wanted them to look. Words cannot explain how delightfully wicked and frivolous this felt. To reject a perfectly suitable pair of glasses — just because I did not like the way they looked? I do not remember the last time I did this with any other clothing item. Not even my wedding dress from two years ago.

I realize it’s a little silly to get this excited about a pair of glasses (or this analytical about a glasses shopping experience). But they are an item that I need to function comfortably in my world, and they are on my face pretty much all the time. They’re a substantial part of how I present my physical self to the world, and so having the right pair is important to me.

And you know what? Finding the right pair is a lot more enjoyable and less stressful — unlike my experiences with clothes shopping online or in the real world — when I know that a retailer is willing and able to accommodate me.

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