The worst luck with glasses. I’ve been having it. At least lately. Since I’ve caved and started buying plastic frames. That is only in the past year, when I’ve had two frames break on me already. Ugh!
I used to buy only metal frames, and titanium at that. Never ever before in my life have I had glasses break. I had loose screws, disintegrating nose pads, and chipping paint, most issues easy to deal with (well, not the paint chipping part, that is quite irreparable, but it doesn’t make the glasses unusable).
But of course a victim of trends that I am, I’ve had to have plastic frames, because they seem more stylish. I still cannot stand plastic, why do I want to wear it on my face every day? I really can’t tell you, except that I’m vain and I haven’t been able to track a pair of wearable, affordable, vintage natural-horn frames (but dream big!).
And . . . it works! I just took a small break from the writing of this post to search ebay again for horn frames and what do you think? No, I didn’t find anything there, but Google did direct me to this great-looking company, Penn Avenue Eyewear, which makes buffalo horn frames that are not exorbitant in price! And they all look so good!
But of course, this realization had to come just after I have already placed an order of new glasses, which I am sorely regretting already. Here they are.
Not too bad looking, right?
Unfortunately, though, they are of course plastic again (with some metal, for good measure this time). And that is not even their biggest problem. These frames are Ray-Bans, and, as I also just discovered today, Ray-Ban is an American brand owned by an Italian company (!), Luxottica, which, has very unpleasant business practices. As unveiled by this very edifying CBS News exposé linked below, Luxottica dictates eyewear prices in US because it holds something that is very close to a monopoly on the American market. They own stores like Sunglass Hut, the largest sunglasses chain in the world, and LensCrafters, the largest eyewear retailer in North America, and they run Target Optical and Sears Optical; they also own best-selling brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley, and they own the second-largest vision care plan, EyeMed (they kind of dropped the ball there with only the second largest).
I promise that if you watch this video, you will not want to give any of your money to this company anymore.
So obviously, my New Year resolution is that I must buy my glasses from companies like Penn Avenue Eyewear, who not only offer what to me is amazing value (real horn, the dream of dreams!), but they do business in a way that I can appreciate: they donate 10% of every order to charity (the buyer can select from several charity options). I am in no way connected with this company, but I am super excited to have done this research and have found them. I know there are other online eyewear companies that escape the control of Luxottica: Warby Parker is one of them, for example, and Made Eyewear and David Kind seem to follow a similar model. But real horn has my heart. Soon, my lovelies, soon!
P.S. I just wanted to edit this post because I realized I didn’t mention that buying glasses online is not new for me and I am fully comfortable with it. I have bought glasses online from GlassesUSA.com several times in the past years and I’ve been very happy with their service, so at this point I am completely convinced that buying online is the way to go. But, if you want to avoid Luxottica and still buy from store, apparently Walmart and Cosco are not in their network.
Please do model them. I’d love to see.Yes, I know what you mean by being aware of choices. And we get better with age. At least, I want to believe I am getting wiser 🙂
That first paid looks so beautiful! I think it is awesome that you get a choice of charities!
This video was one of my favorite exposés from a few years ago. Oakley was the last hold out among all the companies Luxottica bought. Most of my sunglasses and eyewear are ray-ban. I feel bad that they have monopolized the market in the US. Ray-bans are a thing of nostalgia for me. My dad a pair or two in the 90s and loved trying them on as a kid. I guess it is time to make small changes to accessories purchases going forward.
I had no idea a week before about this eyeware market debacle, but it feels so good to be informed. I just realized looking up at our vision insurance “network” that it is actually the Luxottica network. It’s just appalling how different the prices can be in stores vs. online. And I love glasses. I wear them all the time and I enjoy them a lot. I can’t wait to get my new pairs! 🙂
I’m glad you like the horn one. I wasn’t so brave enough to go for a pair with more distinctive color variations. On this one they are subtle and I fear not enough to show the beauty of real horn. I don’t know. The temples are not dark, but light colored horn with other color inserts, so I think in real like that will make a big difference. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll model them for the blog or at least Instagram when they arrive.
Yeah, and it’s a pity about Ray-Bans, isn’t it? I think many people are nostalgically connected to the brand, like you. At least it is good to go forward making informed shopping decisions, right? Sometimes you can stand by your principles and sometimes maybe you choose not to for various reasons, but as long as you do it well aware of the choices at hand and their significance, then I think it’s okay.
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