Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eyewear…Round and Tortoise

There are all kinds of rules about complementary tones, shapes, colors and textures that for the most part are grounded in common sense. Flusser has pulled me from the proverbial fuzzy diced ledge more than once when I was perilously close to pouncing on some big-ass out of proportion pattern or color-texture combo because I saw it somewhere, probably on the world’s most famous house guest, the Duke of Windsor.
Consistent with the tone-shape-color-texture strategy, I know that there are certain shapes-styles-sizes of eyeglass frames that are better suited to some faces. Just like there are colors that are kinder to some skin tones than others. But for me, the round glasses thing is kinda like a white dress shirt. Sure, some people may look washed-out in a white dress shirt but what guy, regardless of skin tone, doesn't own white dress shirts?
So for me…it’s round and plastic. And for the most part it always has been. It’s been so long ago that I can’t remember what else I had to choose from when deciding on my first pair. I’ve been fairly consistent with my affinity for round plastic—mostly in some tortoise-d mottled color—for thirty years. The size has dwindled considerably (it happens over a thirty year run) but the foundational round-ish tortoisity has been fairly consistent. That little lump of baby fat I’m holding in the photo above is now a college grad, making his way in the women’s fashion-shoe business in New York. Go figure. His younger brother is a Marine.
My buddy DCA started wearing glasses in elementary school—I didn’t. I was fortunate enough to dodge the corrective lens bullet ‘till I took the eye test for my license. I’ve had until recently, the weird fortune of having one eye that’s vastly different than the other—near sightedness-wise and I was able to cheat—go without wearing ‘em for long stretches unless I was driving or at the movies.
That’s surely about to change though. I have an optometrist appointment this week and will certainly have a stronger prescription. I might even give contacts another go. Enough about the need for corrective lens, let’s get back to its style aspect of framing them.
Oh, and I've wandered off of the tortoise reservation a time or two. I still have the frames I’m wearing in the photo above. Clear—now yellowed plastic Ralph frames. And I have that photo framed and on the dresser in my bedroom. I like it because it reminds me of how nice yet transient those peaceful moments are when your child is ambulatory. LFG has a little rug burn on her knee which reminds me that she was still crawling—but crawling ninety miles an hour.
I was wiped out physically in that photo—but in a real sublime way. “Good tired” as my paternal grandfather, the tobacco farmer would say. Fatigue that’s satisfying—after work well done. I’d flown to Los Angeles and back twice that week. Crazy…but I had to be back east for another meeting as well and there was nobody to cover for me. And I liked the room LFG and I were sitting in. It was our little Florida-television room—with pastel colors and Berber carpet. Don’t get Berber carpet if you have little ones who are crawling. Note LFG’s little leg in the previous picture. Oh, and note the madras covered chair. I lost it in the divorce but that’s ok, I got the bean bag chair and the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots Christmas ornament.
So back to eyewear. I do believe that there are folks who either through prospective contrivance or over time, end up with their eyeglasses as part of their oeuvre. Swifty Lazar wouldn’t have looked swifty without his iconic eye-orbs. This little man had lenses the size of the windshield on my 1969 VW convertible.
And Lazar fought people in ‘em. Who knows, maybe those big-ass glasses gave him Sampson haired power. What is it about New York’s 21 that makes people fight? Lazar popping Otto Preminger and John O’Hara fighting two midgets in the bar—and losing. I didn’t fight, other than verbally, with my buddy Mark “Puerto” Rykken the night that I snapped this photo of my pre-martini, 21 roost.
I’m pretty sure Jiminy Glick’s framed visage is Lazar inspired. Take a look at Glick’s interview with Anderson Cooper and notice that when Glick dons his glasses, Cooper can’t help but allow an audible.
Sally Jesse Raphael owns the red frames position.
I think Tom Daschle should have left the red thing to Sally.
IrisApfel wouldn’t be Iris Apfel without her Iris Apfel glasses. Really.
Rumor has it that Drew Carey had laser correction surgery on his eyes but still wore his trademark frames thereafter—with clear lenses. And that foul mouthed Jeffrey Ross said that Drew Carey looked like “Buddy Holly and Barney Rubble had a baby and then peed on it.” Now that’s not nice. It’s funny in kind of a fratty-house sophomoric way, but it’s not nice.
I’m happy that Drew Carey lost a bunch of weight and surely there are those who would say his contemporary frames look better on him. That’s fine. It’s just that those little rectangulated things aren’t for me.
I did go through an Oliver Peoples wire framed tortoise covered phase just before LFG was born and for a time thereafter—in two sizes. NO, LFG was not born in two sizes. Those are the larger Olivers above—just an hour or so before my wife-to-be and I almost ended up at the emergency room.
And here’s another record of the larger Olivers…right before LFG peed on me.
et al became too highfalutin for me with their snooty attitude in the NYC store and their prices everywhere. So it was back to plastic and mostly…
…back to A.R. Trapp in New York. There are lots of places to buy these rather standard frames and right now, there is (think wide ties and bell bottom dress pants) a resurgence it seems, in the round-tortoise trend so they aren’t hard to find. But A.R. Trapp has per square foot, the off-the-hook best collection of round plastic frames that you’ll find pretty much anywhere.
That’s LFG and me on the Isle of Palms. The Anglo American round-tortoise sunglasses I have on are compliments of A.R. Trapp. And I wore them until this past Christmas.
Here is my Trapp-Anglo American upgrade from this past Christmas. I rolled in with my decade-plus old, beat up pair and they popped my lenses in another, lighter tortoise version in a snap. A snap and about $325 bucks.
Probably my favorites are vintage frames that A.R. Trapp offered me many years ago. I’ve seen plenty of upgraded, revamped and ready for modern use, vintage frames but most seemed fragile to me. The only thing fragile in this photo is the little gal that I’m holding. The frames remain solid. I’ve got ‘em on right now.
LFG and ADG…our bohemian noir phase. It didn’t last long. God reminded me that I’m from Florence, South Carolina.
I’ve got a few pair that came from elsewhere including those above. I forgot the brand name and it’s worn off of the frame but I remember it was a German maker. And it isn’t surprising since the stereotypical sturdy Germanic precision is included. This frame is anything but delicate and it has those hinges that flex outward…you know…the kind of hinges one is thankful for when a toddler yanks your glasses off your face. These came from, I think,
And yes, I know all about Moscot and their cool frames. I’ve walked by their shop but have never been in to check out their stuff. I’d probably like it but…
…everyone seems to have jumped on the Moscot—Johnny Depp trend-train lately and that’s all the more reason for me not to. It’s Johnny’s thang-not mine.
Round frames just work for me…they are the penny loafers of eyewear in the ADG realm and I see no reason to change. But I’m glad some things change. I tried to put on a happy face for little three year old LFG’s preschool graduation but it was tough. That was back when I was at ground-zero in the toxic wasteland of divorce litigation and it shows. I’m much better now. Thanks.
I’m gonna close this eyewear drivel with a comment about the photo above. I try to be unpretentious while at the same time apologizing-not for my pugnaciousness and high minded opinions. There’s evidence in my stories here and there of calling myself out for life journey missteps and aesthetic indiscretions. Seems to me that it is rather karmic to confess a yellow polyester prom outfit if one is going to give Thom Browne hell. We are all human and I’m head of the class—flawed mammal-wise. I keep this photo on my desktop and glance at it from time to time. It keeps me humble—kinda. When I get a bit too well-pleased with myself I look it and remember the—thankfully brief—period when I blew up. Nothing like not being able to get into your britches—or anyone else’s for that matter—to get one back on the fitness train.

Onward. In round tortoise. Awaiting the Sunday morning emergence of one L-F-G. 

And Glick. 


LPC said...

Surely, surely, you have not forgotten this photo. ? Proof that great minds spectate alike.

Pigtown*Design said...

i was at the opticians this week and had to choose between the round-tortoise-shell ones and a pair of more contemporary ones, and picked the contemp specs. i still have a pair of round tortoise-shell ones here waiting for you to pick'em up. they're english.

poloist12 said...

You know, as much as like this style of frame, more and more I'm tinking it's not for me. My face is too round I think.

Gail, in northern California said...

The day started with best birthday wishes to Toad, followed by your post that includes your little golden-haired girl in the best photo ever (the one just above the A.R. Trapp storefront window). That little smirk the same as her father's and I never tire of it.

Anonymous said...

Oliver Peoples sort of lost their initial brand identity in the late '90s, embracing a more L.A. hipster aesthetic. The OP Vintage sub-brand I think was a great idea, to bring back some of their more iconic styles, albeit at a hefty contemporary price. That said, I think OP are still well-made, quality frames. I like the ones you were sporting the most of all your frames. Can't tell for sure, but are they the MP-2? These were reintroduced as well. The Gregory Peck, Sheldrake, and O'Malley are favorites of mine.

A.R. Trapp is well worth checking out. I had some questions about the quality of the frames I saw as samples, but I take it you are satisfied?

I am underwhelmed by Moscot. The styles are ok, but the frame colors are uninspiring.

If that Depp style is to your liking, you should check out Allyn Scura, a small California operation who makes something called the Legend, which is very similar and very nice. They have a website, but apparently do much of their business at trade shows as well as directly to costume designers and the like. Mashburn now carries them (but cheaper when bought directly) and Bradley Cooper apparently wears them a lot.

Mink80 said...

I went to specs full time freshman year in college, and was finally able to find the standard Liberty/Anglo-American style for junior year in Fall '78. Wore those through the 80s...experimented with some of the tortoise covered wire rims until the late '90s when I finally went to rimless...with a angled/squared off bottom to the lenses....very late '30s in my estimation. When I finally moved into progressive lenses, that was too much for me and I took a dive into the deep end and LASIK. Best move ever. Now I rock simple readers low on the nose.....tortoise of course...and love looking over them...and down them as well.

ADG....course looking good...soon......

Anonymous said...

I think its the fact you're wearing a T-shirt that most notice first - or was that the largest thing you owned? Isn't it funny everyone has that one period in their lives where things just went south for whatever reason. Hey, would every consider corrective eye surgery? I can't decide.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this spectacular post.

All of the effort and cash required to find clear frames seems wasted when they look exactly like wire rims from ten feet away, so I opt for the Clark Kent shape in clear instead of round. Like so many things, what seemed perfectly reasonable at the time (lapel width, hair length) can look scary in retrospect. Check out how large Jamie Lee Curtis's are in A FISH CALLED WANDA- her frames, that is. I like the look of the Allyn Scura, as mentioned above, but I believe one can get the same thing from SOUTH CAROLINA's own Shuron Freeway or Sidewinder and for under a hundred. But the only place I have found for the perfect pink William Colby flesh tones is Tart Arnel.

What completely stinks is having to get the ahem, multifocal prescription.


ADG said...

DEEMAINmonBoshaye...I like the Sidewinder but the rest of the Shuron lineup made coffee come through my nose. And I'm not even drinking coffee right now.The balance of their offerings look like props for a bad 70's movie. And yes,frames from the Fish/Wanda era are freakin' gigantic.

Oler...I went for the evaluation and prep for LASIK and then chickened out after a colleague had a bad experience with it.'s WEIRD man! My ten years younger brother needs reading glasses. I do not. But I'm on the cusp.

AnonOliverPeoples...I have no idea what the model numbers are for my old Peoples. ("old Peoples" funny. shut up) And yes, the Trapp quality for the money, I believe, is fine. And finally, I don't fancy the Depp frame style.

GailNorCal...I emailed you another couple of Golden Hair pics. are just a big chicken.

MegTown...I'll get em when I come up for dinner. In 2013.

LPC...Prunella...hard to forget all of the spectatin' that went down.

gentleman mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gentleman mac said...

Got my tortoise po' boys from Focusers about five years ago and they have been great. I, too, left the titanium rectangle crapola behind. BTW, God always reminds us when we get too far from the South (sumpthin' about being too big for our britches).

Reggie Darling said...

Am a tortoise shell man, meself. Like you I did a bit of Oliver Peoples in the early 1990s, until I couldn't stand them anymore. My worst specs were a pair of 1950s vintage ones in clear flesh-colored plastic I bought from an optomotrist when a college undergraduate. I looked awful in them! After Lasic surgery all I've neended are readers, and I now buy all of mine from EyeBobs, in a Clark Kent tortoise frame that I've been looking for all my life, and I get all sorts of compliments on them all the time.

Young Fogey said...

Jiminy Glick looks like Dana Carvey in drag. (BTW, am I supposed to know who Jiminy Glick is?)

ADG said...

FogeyYoung'un...YES you are supposed to know who Glick is. It's Martin Short in inflated drag.

Reggie of Darlingtosity...I may reconsider Lasik...and if I of the outcomes is an immediate need for readers. And EyeBobs would be my first stop. "EyeBobs" ... sounds like those little tasseled pasties that burlesque dancers used to, by law, have to put on the tips of their niblets. Twirl on brother. Oh...and you "did" Oliver Peoples? Bragger.

GentlemanMac..."titanium rectangle crapola" ...sounds like when they juxtapose a big honkin ass piece of modern architecture upon an old, 19th century building. Seems to me that getting farther from the South would be "waistline friendly"...move. I say this in the context of just one particular Southern killer that if I lived south of Richmond Va, I'd be back on it with reckless abandon...probably thrice weekly. Because I am far away from it, I currently indulge it only about twice a year.The culprit? FRIED CHICKEN.

CeceliaMc said...

Lord, I love Johnny Depp! He makes you feel like you're really really REALLY bad for finding him SO attractive and could get arrested or something, and then you realize with utter relief that you are NOT a perv because he is older than thirty.

I love that feeling.

Oh, and he looks great in glasses too.

Unknown said...

I discovered your blog late and am currently working through your back posts! Love it!

On the glasses, I find the old school round glasses don't have a nose pad, they just rest ACROSS the top of the nose bridge and secure with the arm around the ears. Is this comfortable?

ADG said...

Zatara...thanks for your comments. It was fun for me to go back and read a four year old story.

And yes, the glasses without any bridge pads are actually more comfortable than the others.