Pick My Specs

Have I ever told you about the time I spent $500+ on a pair of glasses? The Husband and I have been wearing glasses (me more on a sporadic basis) for many, many years now. Well, one year we decided to take The Husband's prescription into Lenscrafters. We went this route because Lenscrafters is open on Saturdays, and it seemed the optimal time to choose eyewear. Especially since I was no longer willing to trust The Husband's sense of style as his last pair of glasses had been picked out by the elderly assistant in the doctor's office... and they were pretty horrible.

We found a great pair of frames at Lenscrafters that suited his face perfectly- for once. They were Burberry, and just lovely. When it came time to tally up the bill, it was a whopping heap of a number and I could feel the blood drain from my face. At this point, I was caught in a quandry; We had foolishly brought the (then 1 yr old) twins, and their meter was up. Plus I have this nagging insecurity about looking like a cheapskate.

The salesman assured us that while our insurance was not accepted, we could go online and file for a reimbursement of some sort. Considering we spent close to $600, I was really banking on this reimbursement from the insurance company. The second we arrived back home, I fired up the computer, navigated the less-than-user-friendly insurance website and submitted our claim.

Five weeks later I received an envelope in the mail from the insurance company. I eagerly ripped it open... to find a check for FIFTEEN FREAKING DOLLARS.

Yes. I'm sure you have the imagination to invision my reaction. I threw a tantrum. I almost ripped up the check! In a rage I called the insurance monkeys only to find that, well, the insurance will only pay a SMIDGEN of the price of glasses bought outside an authorized doctor's office. For the next couple weeks I was seething with white hot indignity. But eventually I figured that I had learned my lesson- NEVER AGAIN, LENSCRAFTERS! (angrily shaking fist)

So fast forward to this week: We scheduled a week-long recovery vacation for The Husband after his busy, never-home-leaving-me-a-ton-of-solo-parenting peak season. My husband's company is funny about vacation scheduling- we get a form in January to schedule out our entire year, and we have to do so in one week and submit it back for approval. Our ENTIRE YEAR is scheduled in advance. Getting The Husband to regular doctor visits is tricky. This particular week I made us both vision appointments. As we are getting... ahem... older, our vision is going to, well, crap. In a handbasket.

Of course we needed to update our prescriptions from last year. The Husband's visit was in the morning, (while I was theoretically supposed to be running the twins to preschool- this didn't so much happen as everyone was incredibly ill) and mine was scheduled for later that afternoon- during everyone's nap. So The Husband goes first, and I drag everyone over there to meet him for the Picking Of The Glasses- my presence is vastly necessary to ensure The Husband doesn't come out looking like a complete dork.

Insert important information: I picked this doctor's office during the Twin's Great Glasses Hunt, because while they didn't have frames that fit the girl's petite faces, they did have some pretty awesome styles that I hadn't seen in other places. So yes, I picked this doc based on his stock of cool frames. Last year was not a big deal, I got some lovely Coach frames, and The Husband got... something. Since our insurance covered this place, the cost wasn't alarming.

Back to story. We easily agree on a pair for The Husband. It's an easy call as the first frames he tries on are "the ones." The assistant rings up our total... and it's quite a bit more than expected. It is then that I start to notice something I had not paid attention to previously. The landscape of this office has changed significantly. It used to be the Coach brand was the most recognizable, and probably most expensive. No. Now the walls are lined with FENDI, DIOR, etc. The frames we'd bumbled upon were Lacoste, and much more expensive than was normal.

But again- The Husband has a hard face to fit. And these were THE ONES. So we ponied up the extra cash and went on our way. (Later that day we would be dropping another tidy sum on new tires)

By the time my appointment came around, I was just hoping my prescription had stayed the same and I could skate by without more expenses.

"HA!" -Life

My eyes had taken a sharp decline as well. I actually winced as the doctor asked me to read some tiny script with my glasses ON. So new glasses all around! (the girls are also up for new specs too! JoySobbing)

 Last year I drooled over some amazing prescription sunglasses, (also Coach) and went to this appointment slightly hoping I could skate by on my old prescription, but maybe- just maybe- go for the sunglasses I had lusted after. Not to be. They were discontinuing the Coach line and the object of my affections were gone.

I tried some of the sunglass options, but nothing really spoke to me. Plus I knew that I really should get regular clear glasses, as I wear them more often. The prescription sunglass dream was dead. So on I went to look at other frames. The only ones I loved? A $400 pair of Fendi magnificence. While my insurance does help, it does not even begin to cover THAT amount merely on frames. (there is the cost of the lenses too!)

I left bereft.

The world decidedly hell bent on emptying my wallet... and possibly my ability to pay my electric bill, too.

In my woe, I happened to remember Design Mom's post on Warby Parker. It was certainly worth cracking open the Macbook. Granted, they are mostly a large assortment of painfully hipster-wear. But I found a few I could imagine myself not looking ridiculously out of place in. And the best part?! NINETY FIVE DOLLARS, all inclusive. Frames, lenses, everything. They're even scratch-resistant.

The second best part? They will ship you five to try on- FO' FREE. You bet I was all over that. While there are tons of mail-order, discount glasses sites out there, (Zenni Optical being one that I've heard of a few times) I just can't trust an upload your crappy picture onto the site and "virtually" try on glasses technology. I mean really, that CAN'T work right. It just can't. I need to ACTUALLY try them on. Probably because I may be abnormally picky about what I put on my face day in and day out. (How vain of me)

IN CONCLUSION: (Sorry, this has become longer than I expected) I have five pairs being two-day air-ed over to my place. (Two days! Crazy talk! Especially for free!) And I will be trying them on, taking pictures, and having you help me decide. (check this blog hourly on Tuesday to get your voice heard)

As a preview, here are the five I chose:
(sorry- only links, couldn't upload pics off their site like a pirate)

The Reese in Midnight Blue.

The Langston in Amber.

The Sibley in Dark Tortoise.

The Carlen in Striped Evergreen.

The Nedwin in Summer Green. (yes, green. I was feeling spunky)

Stay tuned! I will even put on makeup and look presentable for these pictures. (well, maybe)


  1. I buy my glasses online, but I try on about a million pairs at the doctor's office first so I have an idea of what colors and shapes I like.

    Also, most of the cheap companies have free returns if you don't like them. I bought my last pair for $12.

    Seriously, give it a try sometime.

  2. Don't knock Zenni until you try them! Just think, you could buy all five pairs of glasses you like from Zenni for the same price as one $95 frame.

    Barry Bretton gets compliments all the time on his glasses. When I say they cost $20, complimentor's jaws hit the floor.

    I bet they even have glasses for your girls pettit faces since they have once for toddlers too!

  3. I've never commented on your blog (even though I get a kick out of it and look forward to reading your posts), but I figured I understand the woes of expensive glasses, so this is worth it. Check out Coastal.com for glasses. Your first pair (lenses included) is free! I just got an obnoxiously exciting pair (if you call red and yellow plastic frames exciting...NOT fashionable, but lots of people enjoy the awkwardness of the frame versus the teal uniform scrubs corporate picked out for us at work). I paid $10 for shipping, and that was all. They're good quality frames, and I haven't had any issues with them at all.