My Outfit Monday: Glasses, life, et al.
Gather round, young folk, and huddle near the fire, for it's time that I spin a tale for you about ancient times: the mid to late 1990s.
It smells like Teen Spirit, and it sounds like the dial-up tones of connecting to America Online. All your friends are there, but younger, and wearing rhinestone denim and pilling plaid. Rilo Kiley has yet to drop "The Frug." Bill Clinton is having sexual relations with that woman.
Here, in an eye doctor's office, I am eight years old and unable to read anything but the big "E." Glasses are handed down like a sentence: KYLE IN YOUR READING GROUP WILL NEVER NOTICE YOU.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how much culture has changed in my lifetime. Carrie Bradshaw said bisexuality didn't exist; now we have transgender bathroom laws. SURGE was a sugar bomb kids could legally drink; now it's back but it's best we don't speak of that.
One of my favorite shows growing up was "Saved By The Bell." I loved following the adventures of cool-kid rabble-rouser Zack Morris and wanted to be just like Kelly Kapowski, his beautiful cheerleader love interest. I thought nothing of the fact that they regularly stuffed "nerds" into lockers, plotted how to get out of dates with them, or painted brainy classmates as goodie two-shoes out to narc on them.
When I was growing up, glasses were really uncool. "Four eyes" was a thing people actually said to each other. "Boys don't make passes at girls with glasses," is another. (Thanks, patriarchy!) I hated wearing glasses so much that I would walk around the hallways of my middle school them stuffed in my backpack; I couldn't even see my hand in front of me, so I'd basically memorize 10-minute walks just to be seen without my glasses for 10 minutes.
Looking back, that makes me feel sad. As an adult, I'm not someone who puts a lot of stake in what other people think of me, so long as I'm living up to my own standards. But being a kid is hard. I don't know that it's gotten any easier - in the age of Snapchat and Kik I suspect it has gotten much worse - but yeah, being a kid was hard.
You can credit Glee, or a new generation, but somewhere along the line it became cool to be a nerd - or, really, just a smart person who's not concerned with looking like everyone else. For me, I remember the burgeoning of "Tiny Fey glasses" - when thick-framed spectacles came into fashion.
This is a long ramble to say I recently gave online hipster glasses peddler Warby Parker another try. For the unfamiliar, Warby Parker will send you five pairs of glasses at a time to try on at home for free. I never had luck until my sixth box a few weeks ago, and just the other day, my big blue frames arrived in the mail.
I really like them, and I know it's good for my eye health to take a break from contact lenses now and then. But, to be honest, there's still a part of me that feels like that 12-year-old kid trying not to be called "four eyes" at my overcrowded middle school. There's still that weird voice from the 90s that says this is not what girls should want to look like.
SO: I came very close to not wearing my new glasses today, even though I am low on contacts. But I wore them. Because My Outfit Monday is a day to look cute, to show off new clothes scored for dirt-cheap, and to feel good about yourself. And there's no reason my glasses shouldn't come along for the ride.
I do feel a little funny, wearing them today, as I do whenever I wear my glasses out of the house. But I'm trying to remind myself it's in my head. You've got to break the cycle some time, right?
If you made it this far, here are my outfit details: The fuschia bow-front dress is from the Banana Republic Factory outlet store in Ellenton, a petite exclusive design marked down from $70 to $15. Stephanie was also rocking a bow-front number - but hers is even more of a steal at free.50, a hand-me-down from Katie. The wedges are a long-time love from Nordstrom Rack, and the glasses, as I mentioned, are from Warby Parker - the Weldon frames in Marina blue. I'm a chronic under-accessorizer so that's all I have for you, unless you want more details on the shopping list I wrote on my hand (ant bait, hair conditioner).