The Los Angeles Times reports that as of December 2015, more than 63 percent of all Americans wore some kind of prescription eyewear of some kind, including contact lenses. An aging population means that this percentage is likely to increase rather than decrease in the future.
However, these days “girls who wear glasses” are just as likely to be viewed as “hot.” Meanwhile, many people who were unable to wear contact lenses because of conditions like astigmatism are now able to do so. In the 21stcentury, both glasses and contacts have become popular fashion accessories – whether the people wearing them need vision correction or not.
The Evolution of Contact Lenses
In the past, fashion forward individuals who insisted on being seen without frames, thank you very much, boiled their contact lenses every night. When soft lenses hit the scene, it was considered a revolution. However, if you had astigmatism, or needed bifocals, you were out of luck when it came to contacts.
In recent decades, contacts have evolved to the point that they not only don’t need to be boiled at night, some contacts can even be worn overnight. Colored contacts have also become fashion accessories. It can be fun to have blue eyes one day, green eyes the next day. Exotic colors and styles are especially popular around Halloween.
Glasses as Fashion Accessories
According to the Times, almost 20 percent of Americans who don’t wear prescription glasses have worn them at least once anyway, just to be fashionable. A few decades ago, the thought of wearing glasses for fashion would have been unimaginable. Back in the day, if you needed glasses, you had a choice, black or tortoiseshell. And if you had the bad luck to have really bad eyesight, you were stuck with thick pop bottle lenses that someone named Poindexter would wear. Those days are long gone. These days, thanks to technology, so-called “Coke bottle” lenses for glasses are a relic of the distant past.
These days, glasses frames run the gamut from thick black plastic framed “brainy specs” to multicolored avant garde artistically inspired frames. Many prominent fashion designers like Prada, Brooks Brothers and Giorgio Armani have lent their names to eyeglass frames. While some designer frames also boast designer price tags, in many cases, fashion forward frames are an affordable way to stand out from the crowd.
Designer Frames and Celebrities
Celebrities wearing glasses has also increased their chic value. A-listers such as Meryl Streep have been seen wearing chic glasses on the red carpet. Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin generated significant buzz – and a lot of imitators – with her distinctive Kawasaki 707 frames.
In some cases, celebrities who don’t need glasses wear them anyway, like basketball superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade The trend is especially popular among professional athletes in the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.. They sport specs with nonprescription lenses to promote a serious or refined vibe. The trend also sends a subtle message to kids who look up to the athletes that it’s OK to be studious, American Public Media Marketplace reports.
Ordinary folks have also picked up on the trend of wearing non prescription glasses. In fact, approximately four million Americans wear glasses with “plain-o,” or nonprescription lenses, according to American Public Media Marketplace. Many people have more than one pair of glasses, each with different frames. They mix and match the specs to suit their moods or to match their outfits.