Friday, April 12, 2013

How to Wear Nerd Glasses in 2013

Did you get the memo? Nerds are cool. Very cool. Hence it comes as no surprise that more and more people are angling to look like them. Some are even going so far as to purchase nonprescription nerd glasses to complete their nerdy ensembles.

Are nerd glasses awesome? Undoubtedly. 2013 is going to be a particularly big year for nerd glasses what with the whole geek/nerd movement gaining even more momentum. Trendiness aside, these spiffy specs can really spice up your look or complete an outfit.
Does everyone wear them well? Sadly, no. Not to worry - I'll give you some modern wearing tips, and also walk you through the major types of nerd glasses to consider when accessorizing.
After reading this guide, you'll be all set to let your inner nerd emerge like a big, awkward butterfly.

The Latest Developments

On my latest visit to Tokyo, I scoped out as many fashionable boutiques as I could to hunt for any noticeable developments in the nerd glasses trend. I noticed two particular developments that I believe will influence the way people wear and display nerd glasses throughout 2013:

People are wearing glasses without any lenses in them:This is a new level of irony- folks aren't even trying to pretend they need glasses anymore- they're just going for the fun frames!
People are using nerd glasses frames (without lenses) as keychains and purse accessories: I saw quite a few pairs of glasses with the temples removed that were just used to adorn purses and bags. They've become so much of an icon that people are just using the shape as a decoration.
I also noticed that bright, solid colors were the most popular choices, frame-wise, so if you want to stay on-trend, shy away from patterns.

Tips on Wearing Nerd Glasses

There are, believe it or not, right and wrong ways to wear nonprescription lenses just for fun. If you really want to rock the nerd look, you should keep these things in mind:

Consistency is Key
One of the best ways to rock vanity glasses frames is to make them a signature part of your look. I have a friend who wore vanity frames all the time, and he really made it work - it was a part of his unique style, which he rocked every single day, and the glasses helped to bring his ensembles together in a very pleasing and cohesive way.
If you are actually serious about making the nerd look work for you, you have to be consistent - you can't decide to wear your nerd glasses just one day a week. You'll need to make them an element of your overall style.

Dress the Party

Even if you do not want to incorporate vanity frames into your everyday look (or if you only want to wear them as part of a costume), you should be sure to wear them properly, which is to say that your outfit should jam well with your frames. Nerd glasses look best with nerd outfits- or else contrasted against another very distinctive style. If you wear them with your normal jeans and t-shrt/sweatshirt, your desired fashion statement is likely to do a very unsatisfying belly flop.

Types of Nerd Glasses

There are four major categories of nerd glasses out there: Wayfarer-style, Clark Kent-style, Half frame-style, and costume style. I'll walk you through each type and share some examples of models that are readily available online.

Wayfarer-Style Nerd Glasses

Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Wherefore hast thou taken over American culture? And how didst thou capture the hearts of nerds and badasses alike?

While Wayfarer-style sunglasses are worn by the "cool" set, Wayfarer-style glasses frames are considered to be on the nerd (albeit hipster-nerd) end of the continuum. Today, Wayfarer-style frames are by far the most popular nerd glasses style.
Made iconic by such cultural icons as This American Life's Ira Glass and that obnoxious "Can You Hear Me Now?" Verizon guy, these frames are both fun and flattering - and very easy to obtain. They're also more versatile and can be worn with a lot of different styles. The only downside to Wayfarer-style nerd glasses is their ubiquity. By going with these, you'll hardly be setting yourself apart from the crowd.

Clark Kent-Style Nerd Glasses

If you would like to be a bit more original with your nerd glasses choice, consider going with Clark Kent-style frames. They're a bit less trendy, but they're also not so unusual as to not stick out like a sore thumb on the streets, plus they've got some great pop culture connotations.

The other perk to these frames is that they're a bit more true to the nerd legacy - unlike Wayfarer-style frames, Clark Kent-style nerd glasses have no tie-ins with bad boys and hipsters. Nay, they're reinforced with images of nerdy reporters- and yet, they also suggest awesome hidden powers. Who could ask for anything more from frames?

Half-Frame Nerd Glasses

If you want the Wayfarer look (which is admittedly flattering), but want to ditch the cool/hipster connotations and replace it with a bit of quirky vintage spunk, go for half-frame Wayfarer-style glasses. 

Though you can purchase them new online, you can also find these by the barrel at flea markets and in a lot of vintage clothing shops. I recommend getting a used pair and either filling them with nonprescription lenses or simply popping the lenses out altogether. Wearing frames without any lenses really pops some quirk into your look and takes away any possible suggestion that you are an odd little glasses poser.

Costume Nerd Glasses

Finally, if you're just trying to dress up as a nerd for a party, and you want your look to be more of a charicature than an actual replication, you might consider getting a pair coke bottle-style nerd glasses intended for costume wear.

Though these are not fun to wear for more than an hour, they really pack a punch visually and make everyone laugh. They also make for great costume pieces to have on hand for funny profile pictures and visits from bored younger relatives.

Common Stores Selling Nerd Glasses

If you want to find suitable nerd glasses without purchasing expensive frames, you have a couple of options.

First, I recommend checking flea markets and thrift stores - they frequently sell old frames (usually without lenses) that you can either fix up with prescription lenses or leave lens-less. As a side note, if you're looking for unique lenses for prescription glasses, flea markets make for an excellent resource - you pay next to nothing for them and can find some truly unique pieces.

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