Style on Trial: Hipster/Nerd glasses

Let’s talk about hipsters.

Specifically, let’s talk about the way hipsters will often wear prescription-frame glasses… without the prescription. In other words, they’re not short, or long-sighted, and that’s just a little bit inconvenient for our hipster friends, so they buy glasses with clear plastic lenses in them, so they can achieve the LOOK of short-sightedness, without the pesky vision problems that accompany it.

Glasses like the ones above, say, which are £280 at Net-Porter, and which contain clear plastic lenses. (Actually, we’re wondering if the appearance of “designer” hipster glasses, and the fact that they’re now being sold as mainstream fashion accessories, means that we can no longer even call them that? Surely hipsters will be obliged to hate the acceptance of their glasses into the mainstream, and have to go and find something else suitably obscure to wear?)

This “trend” – if it can be called that – ties in with the hipster’s need to identify themselves as a “geek” or a “nerd” at all times. Being a “geek” has become cool, you see. Being a nerd, even more so. “Oh, I’m such a book nerd!” people will say, smugly. Or “I was on Facebook all night: I’m such a geek!” (Because, in this day and age, using a social networking site is pretty much all you need in order to declare yourself a “geek”. The Fashion Police despair. Oh, and while we’re on the subject: buying exactly the same expensive gadgets and having exactly the same, very mainstream interests as everyone else on our Facebook friends list doesn’t make you a “geek”. It makes you a hipster. Got it?) And, of course, in the mind of the hipster, geeks wear glasses, and if the hipster doesn’t actually need glasses (shame!), why, he or she will just buy ones with clear lenses in them instead!

What we want to know, of course, is what you all think of this.

On the one hand, you could argue that there’s no reason why people SHOULDN’T allow 20-20 vision to stand in the way of the image they desire. For some people, spectacles are just a fashion accessory, the same as any other, and if you like the look of them, and think they suit you, or whatever, why on earth shouldn’t you wear them? Why should people with poor vision have all the fun? Fashion doesn’t always have to be practical, does it? You can totally wear glasses you don’t need and call it a fashion statement!

On the other hand, we guess you could also argue (and we’re not saying we would make this argument, here, just that we could…) that wearing glasses you don’t need just because you think they look good, is a bit like using a walking stick you don’t need, or adopting a wheelchair as your preferred mode of transport because you’ve decided they’re, like, SO 2011 or something.

What do YOU think? Would you wear glasses with clear lenses? And if so, would you pay £280 (about $400) for designer frames, or just pick up a cheap pair at H&M or Urban Outfitters?

 

32 Comments

  • June 22, 2011

    Minka

    I actually quite like the hipster chic and I like how some people style their fake glasses, on the other hand, I don’t think I would ever wear fake glasses myself, because that does feel a bit creepy. I also find all that hipster movement rather funny, I believe they take their image and their fashion statements way too seriously, at the same time arguing how ‘ironic’ and ‘obscure’ their choices are. Which they are not. Or, you know, maybe I’m just too old and mainstream… 🙂

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  • June 22, 2011

    Riali

    There is a related trend among the young women in Shanghai at the moment to wear them without any lenses at all. Yep, just the empty frames. Often be-rhinestoned. The idea, from what I understand, is that it emphasizes their noses, making them look longer and less “Chinese”. I’m bewildered by the whole thing, and frequently have to refrain from poking my fingers through the holes at the poor girls’ eyes.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Claire

    I’ve just paid to have laser eye surgery so I don’t need to wear glasses any more. It’s interesting to see that glasses are still stereotyped as nerdy and for brains.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Theresa

    Aside from enforcing the “nerds wear glasses” stereotype, I think this trend is mostly stupid because the glasses chosen by hipsters are rarely even attractive. At my school the trend is to old, massive glasses that give the look of a teenage granny, and they completely overwhelm the face. If they are cute I guess I don’t have a problem with them as accessories.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Daisy

    First of all, let me start by saying that I DO wear perscription glasses, have so since I was 6 (with the exception of contacts for a couple of years when I was 16-20) and that I love my frames. I do consider them as an accessory, something that reflects my style and personality and I feel simply naked without them. BUT. It does bother me a bit when people walk around with ‘fake’ glasses. I’m not sure why, maybe it was because my glasses used to get me bullied quite a bit in school, when I was pretty much the only one with glasses. It’s not like you have to ‘earn’ the right to wear glasses, it just seems so silly to do so when you don’t need them, especially when some of these people used to make fun of kids with glasses. I think it can be pretty ridiculous, especially when all your friends know for sure that you don’t even need them.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Nell

    Well I wear specs. Not through choice, but because I have to. I’ve tried contacts but can’t put them in (apparently I have a very strong Blink Reflex…) I don’t really know how I feel about people choosing to wear glasses when they don’t need them. Really, to me they are a big inconvenience, but I guess if people think they look good or brainy or whatever their motives for wearing them are, then it’s up to them… However, I can really see where Daisy is coming from – I got bullied for wearing glasses, so have a lot of unhappy memories associated with them. But of course, if specs are ‘cool’ now, then hopefully the kids that HAVE to wear them wont get bullied like I did…

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  • June 22, 2011

    Moni

    Like Daisy I do wear prescription glasses, and I sometimes switch to contact lenses for “dressy” events, or when I go to Scifi-conventions or medieval markets.
    It doesn’t bother me much when people who don’t need them want to wear glasses, too. I mean, to each their own.
    What I don’t understand, though, is why so many attractive young people deliberately make themselves ugly by wearing big overwhelming frames like this one (Or even frames that look like hand-me-downs from their grandparents). I mean: I AM a nerd (several years of membership in the Star Wars fanclub, I play RPGs once a week, I go to conventions regularly, wear T-shirts with pop culture references – heck I even WORK at a game shop!) and I’ve grown up and gotten my first glasses in the 80s, so I’ve had my share of ugly frames. But even when I knew I would never be one of the popular kids, I still wanted to look good. Which means the glasses I had did at least suit me somewhat, not disfigure me.
    So I think these hipsters got something wrong…

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    • June 22, 2011

      Kookakicha

      That’s exactly how I feel!
      I am a nerd too but looking at me you won’t know it. Why do people feel the need to advertise it! The worse is that some (many) of them aren’t even really interested in the whole nerd thing. I think being a nerd at heart does not require you to wear oversized glasses.To me, they just look so fake and unauthentic although some of them may be real nerds.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Smivs

    I am very short sighted and my frames are identical to these…I wouldn’t wear glasses if I didn’t need too,and choose to wear contacts mostly,I’v always gone for the nerdy black plastic frames,as I figure if u have to wear them ,u can’t hide them,so go the full dork I say….besides all the other so called fashionable frames just seem to look unfashionable to me….

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    • June 22, 2011

      Kamryn

      Agreed I hate all the other frames, they either look really big and curved or they are thin and metal. There just aren’t good frames out there and Black plastic square frames are easy and match everything.

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      • June 27, 2011

        Chelsea

        I’ve always done the same thing. Black plastic matches with everything and I prefer a larger frame so the edges don’t run into my line of sight. It’s not really for “looks”, it’s because I have to wear glasses and it makes my sight clearer. I don’t and will never understand or condone why people choose to wear glasses when they don’t need them. It’s completely a waste of money if you ask me.

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  • June 22, 2011

    EricB

    Those so-called nerdy frames are way too retro for my taste. What the heck happened to futurism?

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  • June 22, 2011

    Kamryn

    I wear “hipster glasses” but I do have a prescription for them, I think that glasses can be fun and be a fashion statement just as sunglasses are, but I get a little annoyed with the fake clear frames. This is my handicap when I take mine off I trip. Stop pretending to be damaged because when you swim in a lake you don’t trip in the shallow water because you can’t see.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Victoria

    Hell, I got glasses when I was nine (now twenty-four). They usually were piss-poor frame choices but that didn’t matter because I got contacts at twelve. Last Thanksgiving, though, my dad gave me a pair of his old Ray Ban glasses that he wore in college (we’re talking 1969) and I got them fit with my prescription instead. A lot of people as if they’re for “seeing or for looks” which is a pretty apt question. And then I ask them to be careful with the frames, given that they’re past their 40th birthday. No more contacts for me!

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  • June 22, 2011

    Kookakicha

    I find this trend so overhwelmingly stupid. Yes, it looks cute and adorable, especially on some hipster boys, but it sort of defeats the point of it. Everybody is a hipster now because that’s what is fashionable. You’ll find that many of them aren’t exactly the book rats, computer geeks, liberal arts students they choose to look like. It’s just for fashion!It’s so annoying that they have to advertise that fact because this image has become so appealing. Instead, they all look the same and we just put them in the same bunch. There is no originality.
    This trend will soon be replaced by something else and hipsters will be so passe.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Amee

    One one hand, I think it looks stupid. If you don’t need them, why wear them? And why the giant thick variety? The brand name glasses are equally idiotic, because you can get the same general thing at claires for ten dollars. On the other, my sis bought a pair of green ones, and when she wears them, her tips double. So, I’m not sure.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Ophelia

    Halfway through the post Iwanted to make a prosthetics or weelchair camparison, but you bet me there. I have terrible vision and remember some pretty bad name-calling in school becouse of my glasses. Seeing someone wearing them becouse it is cool feels like an insult or slap in the face from the past. For most geeks/nerds it took a long hard time until they could wear them with pride.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Tesia Gita

    Back when i wear it all of a sudden it became trend in my school.
    I have a motto with my fashion to never look the same with other. So i stop using it, such a shame tough because i really like it. Not being hypocrite, this type of geek glasses as you say really makes me feel cool. Believe it or not i removed the clear lenses and wore only the frame 🙂 but to me this glasses merely an accessories, not a fashion statement that needs to be preserved and i’ll never buy it again(& wear it again) or just because it’s designer labeled simply because i don’t want to look the same as everyone.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Rudi

    Just wait until robot hands become fashionable – I’ll take any excuse. =D

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  • June 22, 2011

    Molly

    I definitely resent non-prescription glasses-wearers. My vision is so poor that if it were not correctable by glasses I would be considered legally blind. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was nine and contact lenses since I was fourteen because I was so self-conscious about the glasses. I still wear contact lenses because I’ve grown so accustomed to them, but they are an inconvenience. So anyway, these people blessed with perfect vision go around RUINING THEIR VISION by wearing fake glasses that will result in them eventually needing real glasses, and I just want to laugh at how silly it is.

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  • June 22, 2011

    Cristina

    Back in my day being a nerd at school meant taking double maths (hard maths and extra hard maths), biology, chemistry and physics, (Why yes, I actually did all those classes), and being able to recite from memory every line from both the Delirious and Raw videos by Eddie Murphy (…though that could have just been my school).

    See how big black frame glasses are missing from that description?

    I don’t have a hard and fast opinion on this one, since I just don’t wear any glasses, my vision is fine and my ears are actually not evenly placed, wearing any glasses/sunglasses only serves to make my entire face look lopsided

    I’d probably use the same rule of thumb as with any other piece of fashion. If someone is wearing them in a way that actually suits them, then fine, but if they’re being worn purely out of fashion victimry then no. Because really, isn’t wearing thick frame glasses because it’s hipster no different to wearing shants because it’s designer?

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  • June 23, 2011

    Augusta

    I find this whole ‘hipster’ thing so funny, because while they’re all trying to be different and stay away from mainstream stuff, there’s a huge hipster scene which defeats the whole purpose entirely. I find the idea of people wearing glasses they don’t need odd, but to each their own, I guess. I personally believe there’s a huge difference between doing, or acting in a certain way because you like it, and acting or doing that because it’s what’s popular and or cool.

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  • June 23, 2011

    Itzel

    Like many of the girls that commented I had terrible vision, I started wearing glasses when I was seven and then changed to lenses when i turned 15 and had to wait six painful years to finally get laser surgery. I absolutely HATED wearing glasses, they made me feel different and weird (when you’re a kid you really don’t want to feel this way), not to mention I also had to wear orthopedic shoes. Anyway, recently I had to get glasses again for reading and working on the computer but I never wear them outside, maybe my trauma hasn’t quite left. I think it’s a bit stupid to wear glasses when you don’t need them.

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  • June 24, 2011

    Kate

    Given I can hardly keep track of the prescription glasses that I actually *need* (damned mole rat vision), I doubt I’d choose them as a fashion accessory.

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  • June 24, 2011

    Janelle

    I like wearing the “hipster” glasses because they come in frames that cost too much for me to buy my prescription glasses in. But I am NOT a hipster. I just like having different frames so sometimes I throw on a pair with my contacts.

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  • June 24, 2011

    Jordan

    I think it’s totally fine to wear what you want (within reason!) Although I don’t think it’s worth it to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a pair of frames and plastic.

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  • June 24, 2011

    Karen

    I’m on the fence with this question. I do have poor eyesight, but usually wear contact lenses. I’ve always had backup eyeglasses for when I can’t wear the contacts, but even with best intentions to try to wear the glasses once/week to give my eyes a rest from the contacts, I probably only wear the glasses once or twice a month, and even then, only on cloudy, dreary days (because my eyes are sensitive to sunlight, so on bright days, I truly need sugnlasses, at least to drive, or I end up squinting & headache-y).

    So, while my glasses are prescription lenses, I still choose a pair that I think works as an accessory, too, and occasionally decide whether to wear them or not based on whether they compliment my clothes/hair or not that day. People have said I do look smarter and more professional in them, but I’d go crazy wearing them every day, all day, because I do find them slightly uncomfortable after about 12 hours, even on a gray day.

    So I guess I *kind of* wear them even though they’re not really necessary sometimes (b/c I could wear contacts), but for reference, here’s a picture of me when I first got my current pair last summer. The post before this one was my old, out-dated frames.

    http://9thcircleofbell.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/after/

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  • June 25, 2011

    Olga

    I have no choice but to wear prescription glasses, and personally, I find it insulting when people who don’t need them wear them. I hate having to wear glasses. It’s basically like driving around in a wheelchair when you don’t need one.

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  • June 25, 2011

    Victoria

    I personally LOVE nerd glasses.Now,I say this modestly,but I have great vision.But who’s to say I can’t wear glasses just to make a fashion statement?I AM a nerd,I make great grades in school and I am kind of late when it comes to fads but NOT fashion trends. Actually,I consider myself to be ahead of fashion trends a signifigant amount of the time.But that’s not the point.I am an artist.Also,to people who need glasses but are complaining about people wearing them who don’t need:don’t be insulted by it.It’s basically saying you look good in you glasses.It’s a compliment.Take it graciously. (Nothing personal to those people.) Also I love my vision and pray I won’t have any problems with it EVER.

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  • July 5, 2011

    MM

    I wear glasses because I actually need them, so it doesn’t really bug me. I use them as a fashion accessory – I have a couple different pairs and I’ll pick one to go with whatever I’m wearing – so why can’t people with good vision do the same?

    I don’t see point of the hipster-bashing all over the internet, either. Yeah, they’re not the most original, but neither were grunge kids or punks or hippies. Wearing dumb shit is part of the fun of being young!

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  • August 10, 2011

    BB

    This part pegs my feelings on the subject.

    “wearing glasses you don’t need just because you think they look good, is a bit like using a walking stick you don’t need, or adopting a wheelchair as your preferred mode of transport because you’ve decided they’re, like, SO 2011 or something.”

    For the record I’m slowly going blind due to cataracts. Yes really, at the tender age of 32 I have cataracts. I pick out nice frames because if I’m doomed to wear glasses until it gets bad enough that I have to have surgery and I might as well wear some fancy french frames. It just irks me that people go around wearing glasses that they don’t need because it’s sooo cool. It’s not cool to go blind kids, it really isn’t.

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  • January 27, 2012

    vision without glasses

    I am really inspired along with your writing skills as smartly as with the structure in your blog. Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

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