My Top 5 Shopping Tips for Eyeglasses

5 Tips on Shopping for Eyeglasses

Many folks don’t know that I am a major eyeglasses junkie. This is in part due to my substantial blindness (I wear contacts on camera or I wouldn’t even be able to see the person I am interviewing), and to the fact that I absolutely love eyewear. It’s fashion for your face!! I figure if you’re going to be blind, you might as well have fun with it, am I not right!? Currently I own about 6 pairs of glasses, and before you think that’s a bit excessive, it’s a collection that I have curated over a number of years. Each pair works with a different type of outfit or mood that I am sporting. For example, I have super masculine thick-framed glasses for when I am doing more of an edgy look, and a couple classic cat-eyes in different colour combinations for when I want to look fashion-forward and flirty. However, no matter the style of frames, they all work well with my face…an important eyewear rule that I’ve mastered after so many years of blindness.

Top 5 Shopping Tips for Eyeglasses

My Top 5 Shopping Tips for Eyeglasses

If you’re in the market to purchase a new set of frames, I want to impart on you what I have learnt. Trying on numerous pairs until you find the perfect one is a given, but below you’ll find my list of top 5 tips on how to best select eyeglasses, which I know will save you time and some of the overwhelming feelings that come with the experience.

  1. Fit trumps trend – If you’ve ever said “I want those insane frames Rihanna wore!!” Stop right there. Before you even consider any pair of glasses, make sure the frames first and foremost fit you well, rather than what’s trendy in the magazines. Let’s face it, eyewear is expensive, especially prescription eyeglasses, and it’s an accessory that you will not be buying often, so make sure it’s the best possible choice rather than the choice of the moment.
  2. Proportion – Speaking of fit, your frames should be well proportioned with the rest of your face. A general rule is that the frames should be about the same width of your face, not too wide that it takes it over, and not too narrow that it cuts off any of your features. The top of your frames should hit your eyebrows. Sunglasses are the exception of course (sometimes bigger is better!). But remember, what looks good as sunglasses not always translates with prescription eyeglasses.
  3. Contrast – Glasses   are an excellent way to enhance features on your face that need a bit of help. In order to do that, it’s all about finding something that nicely contrasts with your natural features. For example, if you have rounder features, go for more angular-shaped glasses. On the other hand, if you have more angular features, create the illusion of softness with a rounder shape.
  4. Color – Choose a colour that works well with your skin tone and hair colour. The safe bet is always neutrals, be it black, grey, tortoise or even clear, but sometimes a bright hue can work wonders, like a blue or a red. It’s up to you how big of a statement you want to make. But again, it’s about finding something that works well for you…in other words, a colour that you won’t get sick of, no matter what colour that is.
  5. Quality – Prescription eyeglasses isn’t the area to be cutting corners. A great quality pair of frames and lenses will last you for years, and that’s important for something that has so much repeated use. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean you must buy from famous brand names like Prada or Gucci (as much as I love those lines). I know of some great hand-made, even local brands that produce high-quality and stylish pieces. Also, if your budget allows, try to get the best anti-reflective scratch resistant lenses possible, it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

My Top 5 Shopping Tips for Eyeglasses

Now that you know some tips on how to select a pair of glasses, it’s all about where to shop! In Vancouver, there is only one place that offers the most stylish selection with a killer customer experience and that is The Optical Boutique in Kerrisdale. This is where I found these amazing J.F. Rey houndstooth cat-eye frames seen here under the wonderful guidance and expertise of owner Sue Randhawa (who also happens to be one of Vancouver’s most stylish women and a dear friend). There has not been one time when I am wearing these frames that I don’t get some sort of compliment…they definitely turn heads! However, in addition to the cutting-edge European labels The Optical Boutique carries, they also have a great assortment of more classic shapes and styles, so there is really something for everyone. Plus, an afternoon chatting with Sue leaves you with nothing but a big smile on your face. I’m excited to report that right now The Optical Boutique is having a moving sale! On September 30th they are moving into their new bigger space in Kerrisdale and until then, they are offering great deals on their current stock. Happy Shopping!

Now for more of the rest of my outfit…

My Top 5 Shopping Tips for Eyeglasses

My Top 5 Shopping Tips for Eyeglasses

My Top 5 Shopping Tips for Eyeglasses

Outfit details: J.F. Rey houndstooth cat-eye frames- The Optical Boutique, Clover Canyon printed dress- Winners, black and white heels- Town Shoes, white Chanel handbag- vintage, gold plate necklace- H&M, large gold spike bangle- gift, giraffe bangle- Hudson’s Bay, gold stack rings- Winners, small gold spike bracelet- Stella & Dot, gold watch- Michael Kors.

Styled-IN: TODAY Boutique

Owner Amaly Narong poses outside of her Gastown boutique, TODAY.Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Owner Amaly Narong poses outside of her Gastown boutique, TODAY.
Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Accessories hang from the walls of TODAY.  Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Accessories hang from the walls of TODAY.
Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Most Vancouverites, expats, and even some of the city’s visitors are aware of Gastown’s cool factor when it comes to being a hub for fashion, design, and chic locales to consume food and drink. In recent years, more and more independent one-of-a-kind boutiques have been popping up in the neighbourhood, proving that if it’s something unique you’re after, skipping the crowds on Robson and heading straight for the cobble streets of Gastown will be your best bet. Speaking of unique, I knew there was definitely something special about Amaly Narong, the owner of Gastown boutique TODAY, when I met her many moons ago. Her effortless bohemian style, passionate personality, and down-to-earth vibe always left an impression, and those are the same qualities that welcome customers when they step through her Powell Street store. On the window it reads, “TODAY YOU ARE SPECIAL”, a perfect tag line for what this boutique offers: contemporary women’s fashions from international and local independent labels (many of which you can’t find anywhere else), displayed in a beautifully designed store, all at a price point that’s affordable. That combination would make any gal feel special, I’d say. On a recent visit to TODAY, Amaly and I chatted all about her love for fashion, which took her from studying fashion design at Blanche MacDonald, to interning at Nanette Lapore in New York City, to being the managing director Oak + Fort, to finally opening TODAY. Here are some of the highlights:

First off, who are your style icons?
Stevie Nicks is a big influence for me because she’s so comfortable in her own ways, there’s this unapologetic demeanor about her that I really like. The Olsen twins, I love them. And I like a lot of men’s fashion as well, for example, Johnny Depp, I love the clothes that he wears, and I love how they almost have an androgynous nature too, something that both a male could wear and a female could wear.

Amaly shows me some of the soft feminine pieces at TODAY.Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Amaly shows me some of the soft feminine pieces at TODAY.
Photo by Mitra Mansour.

How would you describe the TODAY girl?
The TODAY girl really values comfort, is definitely fashion conscious, and is consumed by fashion as well, so always researching blogs, looking at magazines, and looking at street style. We really focus on the female who is either early in her career or just finishing post-secondary.

What do you think makes TODAY unique compared to what your competitors are doing?
We really do a lot of research on our customer, so we’re constantly on blogs, the same blogs that they’re checking out, the same labels that they’re taking note of. But something that is also really important to us is the morals and ethics of the business, where the designs are made, where the products are manufactured, and who their customer profile is. We aim to bring fashion-forward concepts (before anyone else can) that still align with our morals.

Minimalistic displays and industrial décor highlight unique accessories at TODAY.Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Minimalistic displays and industrial décor highlight unique accessories at TODAY.
Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Your store also has a lot of vintage incorporated with the new pieces, why did you want to merge both in your store?
I’ve always been a big vintage collector myself, I love vintage. I think a lot of current fashion is influenced by the past, so that’s the main reason we brought it in. We also want to let people know vintage clothes is a sustainable way to live, it gives clothes a new purpose.

Your store not only has beautiful pieces, but also is beautiful to look at. What was your vision when you were designing the interior look of the store?
I wanted to keep it really minimal, to have an industrial feel. My boyfriend is a carpenter and when I was first putting the vision of the store together, we collected a bunch of images that inspired us. Luckily, a lot of the job sites that he works on, they dispose of the material once when they’re done with it, so we said, why not keep it, collect it and make something of it. So a lot of the materials that we used in the store are reclaimed. We wanted people to come in and almost feel like it’s a secret, like it was a vacant warehouse that we just put a lot of pretty clothes in. That way, when it’s a minimal environment, you also focus on the clothes a bit more too.


Photo by Mitra Mansour.

Photo by Mitra Mansour.

TODAY is located at 158 Powell Street in Vancouver…consider yourself Styled-IN.