Die Brille in Deutschland

April 19, 2011

I adore this short film 'Catch a Tuesday' by Oliver Peoples featuring Zooey Deschanel - & it's glasses. So classic!

Last year, I made the decision to correct my very fuzzy vision with glasses rather than my usual - and quite expensive - contacts. In addition to being easier on the single-income-couple's wallet, it meant I was already adapting to the glasses-wearing German culture. Seriously, there are eyeglass shops on every block. Sometimes two.

For my first pair of glasses A.M. (After the Move overseas), I went with the classic "Nerd-Brille" - the bigger, heavier, '50s-throwback frames that have been popping up all over the fashion-conscious for the last few years. Since the height of fashion around Wiesbaden are the ubiquitous furs on the senior set and the Louis Vuittons slung on the arms of the nouveau riche (not sure what statement they're trying to make, considering LV's checkered past), I'm mostly alone here in my attempt to be on-trend. You just can't tear Germans from their metal-framed, architectural specs.

This year, I knew I would need some prescription sunglasses once the sunny season stared, naturally, as I would now need to shield my eyes from the headache-inducing rays AND see at the same time. Since the gorgeous weather has started early, I enlisted the help of my amazingly multi-lingual friend (fluent in four languages, like any good European) last weekend in ordering a pair of Persols I had been coveting for years - my first prescription sunglasses ever. I realize it's somewhat cheating to take a translator, but after my husband finished having his coronary upon finding out what it costs just for his wife to be able to see, I wasn't about to take any chances.

I have found that in circumstances such as this, where there are a lot of technical words involved - and especially when a lot of money is going to be spent - it is critical to understand every last detail. In my defense, my first trip to the same store to ask a few questions ended up with a little English, some broken German, and no one really understanding any of it. I call this an all-or-nothing situation - either my German is good enough to communicate and understand everything, or I need to find someone fluent in English. Since I hate to make anyone here cater to my native language, I took some insurance that there would be as little room for confusion as possible, and even understood a lot of what was said. At least I handled my first German eye exam in German  (and at least she knew what I meant when I read the über line when she asked me to read the unter line). It's all about the little victories in these situations.

So while I will not be embracing the severe, designer-obsessed frame trends so popular with the Germans, I'm at least embracing the German way of using eyewear as a style statement rather than just a functional necessity. I am so inspired to see the comeback of glasses in my country of origin as well, whether through super-cool short films from the likes of Oliver Peoples or the creation of companies like Warby Parker, which not only offers great frames that won't break the bank, but also donates a pair to someone who can't afford it for every one sold (I plan to get at least a pair or two when I'm back in the states this summer!). Since my husband first asked me out when I was wearing my glasses, I'll take it as a sign that Dorothy Parker was indeed wrong - men DO make passes at girls who wear glasses.

Here's one more short film that single-handedly proves that glasses can be sexy:

Of course the glasses, the music and the architecture (oh, that house...) are amazing, but I love how it shows the simple sexiness of being at home, reading and black winged eyeliner. I would just like to crawl in and live in that video (and in those amazing Myriel sunglasses - be still, my heart, maybe I could sell a kidney...). Perhaps I'm on my way once I get my new frames... and some better black liner.

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische