How to ensure that your glasses won’t let your party outfit down 


Finding an interesting pair of glasses has always been challenging: for everyday wear you need something flattering and dependable, veer off into anything too weird and you risk whispered Dame Edna references in your direction. It’s all too easy to get into a spectacle rut, and to rely on the same stalwart pair to get you through day, night, parties, weddings and bar mitzvahs.

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Cate Blanchett’s tinted aviator’s work just as well as striking eye make up - and are a perfect party addition to her outfit. 

Cate Blanchett’s tinted aviator’s work just as well as striking eye make up – and are a perfect party addition to her outfit.  Credit: Getty

However, latterly, there has been such a shift towards fashionable eyewear that even women with 20:20 vision have been spotted sporting glasses. Which is obviously idiotic, but as so often on the Telegraph fashion desk, we can but shake our heads and roll our eyes at their dedication to “A Look”. Said Look has originated, as with most things in the past two years, from Gucci, where spangly specs have been trotting down the catwalk ever since designer Alessandro Michele took over.

Alongside this, a general mood for more interesting eyewear has taken shape. Which is handy, because come party season there is nothing that will kill your pretty dress dead in the water than shoving on your slightly wonky old favourite frames.


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Cat-eye acetate and rose gold tone opticals, £330, Cutler & Gross, Net-A-Porter; Round frame glitter glasses, £205, Saint Laurent, Matchesfashion.com; Embellished cat-eye opticals, £356, Miu Miu, Davidclulow;  Gold aviators, £125, RayBan, Davidclulow 

Cat-eye acetate and rose gold tone opticals, £330, Cutler & Gross, Net-A-Porter; Round frame glitter glasses, £205, Saint Laurent, Matchesfashion.com; Embellished cat-eye opticals, £356, Miu Miu, Davidclulow;  Gold aviators, £125, RayBan, Davidclulow 

I have become obsessed with aviator styles in a gold frame, a shot of luxe, and enough space to sort your eye make-up out. Sarah Rutson, Net-A-Porter’s vice global president of buying, was wearing her very chic re-worked vintage pair at the recent fashion weeks. But you can buy styles from Ray-Ban, Cubitts, Chloé and Tomas Maier, as well as through low-cost glasses store Toy Shades (from £40 for prescription pairs, toyshades.com).

Rutson agrees that attitudes to glasses wearers have shifted. “People used to think glasses didn’t make them look attractive. Marilyn Monroe’s character in How to Marry a Millionaire takes her glasses off because she thinks she is not perceived to be attractive when she wears them. That’s not the case at all nowadays.”

 Jenna Lyons, J Crew president and creative director, has made heavy black frames her signature. Here she combines them with a coordinating statement earring for a powerful look. 

 Jenna Lyons, J Crew president and creative director, has made heavy black frames her signature. Here she combines them with a coordinating statement earring for a powerful look.  Credit:  Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Caren Downie, founder of Finery, the online high street store, has recently started a sideline in statement eyewear called Byocular. Its striking and beautifully made-to-measure frames (which feature a half glass at the bottom of the frame – ideal for reading, but they can also be made to fit any prescription).

The idea for the project came from a vintage pair. “I was fed up with taking my [reading] glasses on and off in meetings,” explains Downie. “These offered the perfect solution as well as looking interesting and stylish.”  If you are keen to take Downie and Rutson’s lead and find your own vintage pairs to get reconditioned, try klasik.org which has a very good selection.

Wallace black matte glasses, £98, Bailey Nelson; Gold Cats eye, £365, Byocular;  Green Wayfarer, £365, Byocular;   Gold-peach aviators, £225, Chloe 

Wallace black matte glasses, £98, Bailey Nelson; Gold Cats eye, £365, Byocular;  Green Wayfarer, £365, Byocular;  

Gold-peach aviators, £225, Chloe 

Or let Downie do the hard work for you: Byocular’s cat-eye gold and coloured frames would make excellent partywear: plus each of the four styles are available in various acetate colours depending on your preference. Downie counsels that “striking eyewear is about being brave enough to make a statement. The first consideration has to be what suits your colouring. Then what works with your outfit. But there are no hard and fast rules – an all black outfit with green frames could be super chic, or go for more of a co-ordinated approach.”

Natalie Kingham, buying director at matchesfashion.com, agrees that finding the right pair to go with an evening outfit can be challenging: “An aviator can be really good, but it does depend on your face shape,” she says. “They can be a difficult style on some as they really pull the face down.” In which case, she recommends “cats eyes, which can lift [up a face]”.  Kingham also cautions there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. “I think you need a couple of pairs depending on your mood. A signature pair can become your trademark, but I love playing around as well.” 

As with all things worthwhile, a little effort goes a long way. And for those with partners keen to take very clear direction, why not propose that a new pair of snazzy specs would go down well this year under the tree?

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