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My History of Glasses

My collection of glasses | No Apathy Allowed

I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was in college.  One day I went to renew my driver’s license and was horrified to find out that I failed the eye exam.  As a child I didn’t have any problems with my eyesight, but it slowly deteriorated after many years in front of books and computer screens.  I hated the glasses I bought and wore them only for driving or for seeing the chalkboard in lecture halls (back in the olden days before PowerPoint).   Glasses just didn’t fit the image I had of myself and I didn’t think it would ever be possible to like wearing glasses.  As soon as I could, I made the switch to contact lenses and pretty much abandoned glasses completely.

But due to a funny twist of fate, I ended up working for an optometrist in downtown Seattle for a couple of years before I headed to grad school in New York. Let’s just say, it didn’t take long for my coworkers to help me find a cool pair of glasses that I loved.  And thanks to our wholesale employee discount on frames and lenses, I soon had an impressive collection of at least half-a-dozen pairs of glasses.  They became a fun accessory that I actually enjoyed wearing — who knew?

Over the years my tastes changed and so did my prescription.  By the time I moved to Germany, I had three pairs of glasses with updated prescriptions that remained my favorites — my red Lafonts, my black and white Lafonts, and a mauve pair of half-rimmed Modos.*  But even I have to admit that my frames from the early 2000s are definitely no longer at the height of fashion (surprise, surprise).  Plus, my eyesight had worsened over the last couple of years — should have known that a PhD would destroy it even further — so I bit the bullet last month and finally bought a new pair of glasses.

My collection of glasses | No Apathy Allowed
One of these is not like the others…

After reading about Kate’s awesome experience with Ace & Tate, I played around with the idea of ordering different frames to try on at home before deciding which ones I like best.  But I knew my image of myself in glasses was very dated — almost all my old glasses are cat-eye shaped, if that tells you anything — and that it would be difficult to have an objective view of which frames actually look best on me.  Sometimes it’s just easier for someone who doesn’t really know you at all to help you find something both suitable and stylish — I had experienced that plenty of times from the opposite perspective with our patients back in Seattle.  So I made an appointment at a highly recommended optical practice** in Bremen and placed my trust in their experience.

It actually didn’t take too long to find the pair, although I don’t think I would have stumbled upon them if I had been left to my own devices.   The frames are matte and olive green with a bit of tortoiseshell design that adds a hint of transparence from certain perspectives.  Although it’s a total coincidence, I also love that they’re made by Hamburg Eyewear as part of their Heimat & Hafen (Home & Harbor) collection — just seems so fitting somehow.  The lenses are indeed quite a bit larger than what I was previously used to, so it has taken a bit of time for me to adjust, but I couldn’t be happier!

My history of glasses

I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to update the lenses in my old frames yet.  For now I’m content with having just one pair.  But it won’t be too many years before I’ll start needing reading glasses (yikes!), so maybe I’ll just hang on to them and put them to good use then?!

Do you wear glasses?  Love them or hate them?  Do you bring friends with you to try on new frames?

* This might be a good place to make clear that this post is not sponsored in any way, shape, or form.  Actually, that’s always the case on my blog, but it’s perhaps worth pointing out.

** It works a bit differently here in Germany than in the US.  For new glasses or contact lenses, you visit a highly trained optician, while you save your visit to the eye doctor for dealing with issues related to eye health (glaucoma, infections, etc.).  Admittedly I was a bit skeptical of this at first, but it worked out just fine.


  1. heatherinde says:

    Oh, I love what you picked out!

    So funny that you posted this… I was just glasses shopping for the first time here last week. It got so frustrating doing it without a witness or benefit of having contacts in, that I think I went through the entire wall display at least twice and have no idea which ones I actually picked. Guess I’ll find out when they come in! :)

  2. Ginger says:

    I love you collection! I have worn glasses for as long as I can remember seeing anything halfway clearly, and picked up my first pair of old-people glasses today … varifocals, in case you’re wondering … but I loved the frame so much I got all excited and ordered a new pair of sunglasses, too!
    Glad I’m not the only one who likes their glasses – yours look great, btw – they suit your perfectly!

    • Thanks so much! Hope your transition to varifocals goes well — it definitely helps that you found frames you love. And good for you for ordering sunglasses too, those are always a real treat!

  3. Traci says:

    Those look great on you, Mandi! I remember getting my black frame modos from you when you worked at the optometrist in Seattle. I think I still have them, too! I’ve always loved your red and purple frames. You should definitely hold on to those. :)

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