Once considered a source of ridicule, glasses now make a bold fashion statement on campus.

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then glasses are the window fixings. There is a major difference between Venetian blinds and paisley curtains. So too, glasses can drastically change how you are perceived. Are you a classic Tudor? A 1970s-style ranch? A McMansion in the suburbs? Let’s examine the options.

A recent look around Usdan revealed many a bespectacled face. I approached a nearby participant in the glasses craze to learn more. My first question, “Are those prescription?” received an appropriately indignant response. Wearing fake glasses is a poser move, the equivalent of wearing a concert shirt from Hot Topic. In high school, this question used to offend me to the extent that I would insist people put on my stylish frames to prove that they had a prescription. Our participant did not have this response, but he definitely wasn’t thrilled by the implications.

The student in question was wearing a delightful pair of round glasses in a dark brown. Studious yet stylish, quirky yet dignified, his frames were absolutely enchanting. I was even more impressed when he revealed that they were almost three years old, purchased before his freshman year at Wesleyan.

However, it soon became clear that not even the effusive compliments of a total stranger could convince him that they were great and that he should not switch to contacts. His reasoning behind wanting to switch was perfectly reasonable—he is sick of them sliding around, especially when playing ultimate Frisbee—but nevertheless heartbreaking. He envisions a 60:40 contacts-to-glasses ratio.

Another hesitant participant in my research—this time, a fellow student in a history seminar—mentioned the sports concern as well. He rejected my suggestion of sport goggles, favoring instead a limited use of contacts. Interestingly, he also had his glasses for several years. Call me fickle, but I can’t imagine having the same look for so long. Yet what struck me most was that their glasses were totally hip and current. I suspect good glasses may be timeless, especially since they are often inspired by vintage styles. The Usdan participant substantiated this theory when he revealed that his pair was from Warby Parker, the online glasses company inspired by vintage styles that donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair they sell.

In the interest of journalistic integrity, I should mention my bias toward Warby Parker, which is the company that makes my own frames. A friend recently inquired as to why I don’t wear them outside of my bedroom and then answered the question for me: the shape looked bad on my face. The frames were cool, but apparently they didn’t quite work with my bone structure.

This unfortunate realization made me think about the purpose of glasses. They are, at their core, about function, though this obviously does not always mean that function should outweigh form. Given the necessity and pervasiveness of glasses, there is great diversity in styles. Sometimes glasses can be a means of self-expression and a way to make a statement, even if that statement is “No, I don’t see that well.” Maybe, even, the small wire pairs without apparent attention to style are some sort of normcore statement that I’m missing (but frankly, they appear purely pragmatic and not more).

A close friend of the crunchy-granola variety rocks a pair of green glasses. While not overly trendy or hip, they are fun and unusual, showing her character to the world. I love these as a compromise: she’s not choosing to be trendy, but she’s also not wearing a pair that is exclusively functional.

Please, everyone, let’s work on making glasses our own. Don’t buy a chic pair that makes you look terrible, as I did, but don’t feel like any sort of attention drawn to your glasses is negative. If you’re into trends, clear-rimmed glasses are super dope right now. I think we’ll see a movement back toward early-aughts styles, with smaller, more angled frames instead of the bulkier ones we’ve been seeing for the past couple of years. But beyond all this, just choose a pair that matches your personality.

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