LS: Making a fahion statement with glasses

Julia Odom’s glasses are large, black and fake. Shoot for Melinda’s story on glasses.

For Lifestyle glasses—Dee Coram, co-owner of Traders Coffee & Tea, has 10 pairs of glasses.

Julia Odom’s glasses are large, black and fake.

The teenager found the frames online from Urban Outfitters before the school year and liked “how big they are.”

In fact, at 13, Odom doesn’t need glasses, but she wanted her large black frames to set herself apart from classmates.

“My mom asked me if I just wanted real glasses, and I said no,” said Odom, adding that she wasn’t sure local businesses would have the exact frames she wanted.

Glasses are no longer just a necessity. They have become an accessory.

Christy Steerman, a certified optician who has fitted and sold glasses for 12 years, noticed the trend coming more into focus, particularly in the past three years.

“Baby boomers are falling into an age where they are losing their vision, so you think they want to pick
something dumb?” asked Steerman, who works at Eye Designs Inc., 1120 Wellington Ave.

“No. It’s got to look cool,” she said.

People are opting to turn their glasses into fashion statements with brightly colored frames, bold designs and shapes, said Steerman and Cathy Booth, an optometric technician for 20 years who works at Horizon Vision Center, 2737 Crossroads Blvd.

“The bigger the better,” Steerman said. “I just sold a woman red frames. She was in her 80s with long, gray hair.”

Steerman grabbed the scarlet Bebe-brand frames the client purchased. They are named “Goddess.”

Dee Coram, co-owner of Traders Coffee & Tea, has 10 pairs of glasses.

Some of Traders’ frequent customers may not even know he’s one of the owners because “I’m called the weird glasses guy,” he said.

Coram, 41, prefers a rectangular-shaped lens but doesn’t have a preference among his green, blue, black, brown or red frames. He uses them all. Over the past six years, he has picked up frames in Belgium, Spain, Italy and Miami.

Coram pays attention to what’s stylish and trendy, and he predicts even bolder colors such as neon green are coming to stores and that people will buy them. He also thinks manufacturers are going to continue to find new ways to frame lenses.

The frames for his soon-to-be 11th pair of glasses will be electric blue. The frames rim the lower half of the lens but not the top, he said.

“Most men have not cared what they’ve had on their faces until recently,” Steerman said.

Now men are looking for unique, funky, bright or bold frames. Overall, men, women and children have become pickier and are trying on more frames before placing an order, Steerman and Booth said.

Recently, they have each fielded nearly a dozen phone calls from people wanting Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s rimless glasses with large temples. Temples are the pieces that connect the lens to the ears.

Kazuo Kawasaki designed Palin’s frames, which retail for up to $700.

Steerman said her store ordered a similar design from manufacturer Silhouette for about $500 less.

“They are on back order until November,” Steerman said.

Booth called it the “celebrity effect, and it’s real,” she said.

After “The Matrix” movies came out, clients called Horizon Vision Center searching for the sunglasses worn by actor Keanu Reeves, Booth said.

Booth said she has been in the industry long enough to see trends come and go, but even she is taken aback by the popularity of glasses as an accessory.

“I think dark frames are a fad,” she said. “But they’ve been around longer than I’d thought they would be.”


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