Archive for the ‘Quick Facts’ Category
In jazz slang, to say you’ve “got your glasses on” means you’re acting a little snooty.
But we think that expression’s jive, man, because we’re all about people getting their glasses on. After all, some of the coolest cats who ever blew an axe literally got their glasses on.
Don’t have a cow, man. We know Simpsons character Bleeding Gums Murphy wasn’t an actual jazz great. But plenty of real-life jazz musicians sported some pretty rad rims.
So in honor of April’s designation as Jazz Appreciation Month (with the appropriate acronym JAM), we’re taking a look at some of the baddest daddies (and a couple of fine ladies) of jazz who definitely got their glasses on – in a good way.
Composer, lyricist, and ragtime pianist Eubie Blake was one of the fathers of jazz.
Blake and his partner, singer-songwriter Noble Sissle, wrote the 1921 Broadway musical Shuffle Along, one of the first written and directed by African Americans. That show gave the world the standard “I’m Just Wild About Harry.” Blake was just wild about horn-rim, wayfarer-style glasses. Check out similar Zenni frame 220421.
Clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman’s 1938 concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall was considered jazz’s coming-out party, and as such, one of the most important performances in jazz history.
The concert climaxed with the immortal “Sing, Sing, Sing,” featuring Lionel Hampton (left) on vibraphone, Gene Krupa on drums and Harry James (not pictured) on trumpet.
A big part of Goodman’s image is his rimless eyeglasses.
Goodman’s frame is similar to Zenni’s frame 322111, shown with lens shape 232.
If you want to copy Goodman’s style, go with lens shape 224.
Thelonious Monk was one of the first modern-jazz, bebop artists.
He was notable for a percussive style of piano improvisation with abrupt starts and stops. Monk first gained attention performing with Charlie “Bird” Parker and Dizzy Gillespie at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, where he was the house pianist.
Monk’s popularity took off when the Thelonious Monk Quartet played the Five Spot Café in New York, in 1957. Along with Monk on piano, the quartet included (from left) John Coltrane on sax, Shadow Wilson on drums, and Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass.
Whether it’s “ ’Round Midnight,” or any time of the day, Monk looks great in his glasses. You’ll look just as cool in Zenni frame 690111.
Or, to get the Monk look in non-prescription sunglasses, go with Zenni frame A10120421.
Ella Fitzgerald was known as both the “First Lady of Song” and the “Queen of Jazz.”
She was the first African-American woman to win a Grammy, at the first Grammy Awards ceremony, in 1959. She actually won two Grammys that night, Best Female Vocal Performance for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook, and Best Jazz Performance for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook.
She went on to win 11 more Grammys. Her live version of “Mack the Knife,” recorded in 1960, is one of the landmark jazz performances captured on record.
Although she didn’t wear glasses in performance as a young jazz singer, Fitzgerald wore them in later years.
Her oversize, ornamented, full-rim style is similar to these Zenni frames (click on the images to see their specs!):
It’s notable that several of these landmark performances are in the late 1950s and early ’60s. In jazz, 1959 is considered the art form’s peak year, similar to the way film buffs consider 1939 the greatest year in movie history.
You’ve probably seen those three 1939 movies, which are so famous they need no identification. They are just a few of the many movie masterpieces that year.
Now let’s look at some classic jazz albums that were released in 1959:
Of the jazz greats behind these albums, only bandleaders Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis were frequently seen in glasses.
Check out Brubeck (at the piano) with his quartet (from left, alto sax player Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello), all of whom are wearing glasses.
We love the Take Five cut “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” and the title track, which is so recognizable and popular it could almost serve as jazz’s theme song, although some would argue that John Coltrane’s version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” deserves that distinction.
As much as we love both recordings, we’re going to go with Brubeck, if only because he and his bandmates all wore glasses.
Brubeck’s signature frame is not unlike Eubie Blake’s wayfarer-style horn-rims, but let’s mix it up a bit (you didn’t think we were going to say “jazz it up,” did you?) with a rich-looking, brown wayfarer-style frame from Zenni, model 820415.
Desmond’s glasses are similar to Zenni frame 614212.
Wright is wearing a pair of classic brow line glasses, not unlike Zenni frame 535021.
Morello’s glasses, with a straight-line bridge, are similar to Zenni’s Christmastime tortoiseshell frame 624725.
Trumpeter Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue brought a new form of improvisation to jazz, using the songs’ scales rather than chords for his riffs. His 1960 album, Sketches of Spain, is just as revered as Kind of Blue, but we’re also extremely fond of a less heralded 1959 album by Davis and Gil Evans, their jazz version of Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin (music), DuBose Heyward (libretto and lyrics), and Ira Gershwin (lyrics).
When he started wearing glasses, Davis favored oversized frames, like these aviators.
Davis’s frame calls and Zenni responds, with similar frame 579721.
When you think of images of one of Davis’s modern-jazz forebears, Dizzy Gillespie, you probably think of two balloon-like cheeks rather than two round eyeglass lenses. But in his early years, the man credited by many as the originator of bebop, also known as modern jazz, wore round, full-rim specs that set off his not-yet “moon cheeks”.
Pop on similar Zenni frame 6290015, and start blowin’!
If Thenlonious Monk and Miles Davis are bebop, and Benny Goodman is “prebop,” then Herbie Hancock could be considered “post bop.”
Hancock is a true crossover jazz-fusion artist, bringing synthesizers, funk, soul, and modern classical music to his improvisations. His 2007 tribute album to occasional jazz artist Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters, won two Grammys, for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Album of the Year.
The full-rim, rectangular metal frames shown in his picture and on the album cover are not unlike Zenni’s frame 650312 (in gray) and 650315 (in brown).
Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is the first jazz artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.
A prodigy who was performing in church by age 8, Marsalis won the Pulitzer in 1997 for Blood on the Fields, an oratorio about a couple moving from slavery to freedom.
With his participation in various PBS programs, including Marsalis on Music and Ken Burns’s Jazz, his several books on jazz, and his artistic directorship of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marsalis has become the leading ambassador of jazz.
The full-rim rectangular metal frame he’s wearing in his picture is similar to Zenni’s frames 552415 (brown) or 552421 (black).
Finally, sultry Canadian singer-pianist Diana Krall (shown with bassist Ben Wolfe) is one of the few ladies of jazz who doesn’t mind performing in eyeglasses.
That may be because she is married to Elvis Costello, whose glasses are an indelible part of his appearance.
Krall’s tinted full-rim rectangular glasses are similar Zenni’s frame 228721.
Costello’s are close to Zenni’s frame 638821.
Now you’ve got some crazy chops to break it down and find some gone frames in the mix. And that is all that jazz – in eyeglasses.
Monday, April, 14 2014 by Matthew Surrence
Everybody knows you can get reading glasses at the dollar store for a dollar.
Yes, there are exactly 99 pennies in this picture. We know because we counted. How fitting that the 99₵ store is where the couple known as Speidi (remember them?) appears to have ended up.
Because the $6.95 reading glasses you can get from Zenni are more than seven times better than the reading glasses you can get from the dollar or 99₵ store.
A lot more.
Buying reading glasses at the dollar or 99₵ store might be penny wise.
Your exact pupillary distance (PD).
Download this PD ruler if the eye doctor or optician won’t give it to you, and you can measure it yourself.
Your exact frame size.
Anti-reflective (AR) coating.
OK, if you get AR coating, they’re going to cost a little more, but it’ll be worth it. AR coating greatly reduces glare from external light sources as well as reducing eyestrain from long sessions on a computer.
See The Zenni Blog to read the AR coating blog post (“Don’t Fear Mothra – Her Eyes Inspired Your Glasses’ Anti-Reflective Coating”) for a fuller discussion of the benefits of AR coating.
A 10% pink tint on the lenses will help reduce eyestrain, too.
Now let’s break down all these categories – prescription, PD, frame size, AR coating, and tint – and examine how getting a pair of reading glasses made to order at Zenni is better in all of these respects than buying a pair at the drug, dollar, or 99₵ store.
Get outta here, you two! Your 15 minutes of fame were up 20 minutes ago.
You can’t enter your exact prescription in the reading glasses you buy off the shelf. They will have the same magnification in each lens. But most people have different prescriptions for each eye. Again:
See how the OD (right eye) has +3.00 and the OS (left eye) has +2.75? You won’t be able to customize off-the-shelf glasses accordingly, unless you buy a +3.00 pair and a +2.75 pair, and switch the lenses yourself, assuming that you can get the lens out of one frame and into the other, and make it stay there without breaking a lens or the frame.
At Zenni, you can enter your exact magnification for each eye.
In addition, your prescription may call for an astigmatism correction (that’s when the prescription has Cylinder and Axis numbers).
You won’t be able to get this on a pair of drug, dollar, or 99₵ store readers, because those eyeglasses don’t have astigmatism corrections. Consequently, everything you see will be blurry, either a little or a lot, depending on your astigmatism.
At Zenni, you can enter your exact Cylinder and Axis numbers to correct your astigmatism.
Your pupillary distance (PD) is crucial when ordering prescription eyewear, including reading magnification eyeglasses.
That’s pupillary distance, not puppy-lary distance!
The PD is the measurement from the center of one pupil to the other. The PD determines where the optical center should be placed on each lens. The reading-vision optical center should be right in front of your pupils when you read.
But your PD won’t be accommodated by a pair of off-the-shelf reading glasses. You won’t even know what the PD is, because there’s no indication of the PD on reading glasses you get at the drug, dollar, or 99₵ store.
The reading glasses you get off the shelf will have an average PD on the lenses, based on the size of the frame.
If you’re looking through a pair of reading glasses that has a wider or narrower PD than yours, it will hamper your ability to see well with the glasses. You may get headaches and eyestrain, too.
At Zenni, you select a frame that accommodates your PD. When we make the glasses, we use your PD to determine the placement of the optical center on each lens, giving you the clearest, crispest vision.
The comedian Alan King had a saying about the difference between what the English call “bespoke” (custom-made) suits and those that are purchased off the rack.
King would say, “If it’s off the neck, it’s off the rack.”
The same principle applies with eyeglass frames. You take your chances with frames you pull off the rack at the drug, dollar, or 99₵ store. You may not find one in a style you like, or one that fits you well.
At Zenni, you can select a frame in the size – not to mention style – that suits you.
AR (anti-reflective) coating:
Store-bought reading glasses don’t have AR coating. Glasses at Zenni do. It’s a great extra to order for reading or computer glasses, because it reduces glare. Again, everything you need to know about AR coating is right here.
You’re not going to find reading glasses at the drug, dollar, or 99₵ store that have a 10% pink tint on the lenses. If you’re going to spend a lot of time reading on a computer screen, this tint percentage and color would be a good feature to have, since it’s restful and helps reduce eyestrain. It’s just $4.95 at Zenni.
This completes our examination of the relative merits of store-bought reading glasses and Zenni-bought reading glasses.
Let’s review. Store-bought reading glasses don’t have your exact prescription, PD, frame size, AR coating, and 10% pink tint.
Zenni glasses do. Not much of a contest, is it? It’s hard to build suspense when the results are so lopsided, but … the envelope, please:
You, with a pair of customized Zenni reading glasses that include your prescription, PD, frame size, AR coating, and 10% pink tint. Best of all, these two won’t be in line ahead of you.
Tuesday, March, 25 2014 by Matt Souza
If you like the way the anti-reflective (AR) coating on your eyeglasses reduces glare, you can thank Mothra – or a real-life moth – for that.
That’s because moths’ eyes are covered with a special film that eliminates reflections. This is necessary because of their well-known attraction to flames.
No, not that kind of flame! This kind:
If moths’ eyes reflected light, it would alert predators to their presence. But moths’ eyes are coated with a super-thin film structured in a hexagonal pattern of bumps that are so tiny they are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. These bumps reduce reflections from flames or other light sources by matching the wavelength of visible light, which blocks the light’s reflections.
AR coatings on eyeglasses take their cue from the eyes of moths. They work in a similar way, using a super-thin layer of metal oxide to reduce reflection by matching a reflected wave of light with an equal and opposite “incident wave” (roughly oversimplified, an interfering wave), which causes the two waves to cancel each other out.
You don’t have to be a scientist, or even an accomplished graph reader, to see that the red wave of the reflection is equally matched by the black incident wave of the AR coating, which blocks the reflection on the lens as effectively as Jerry Kramer blocked Jethro Pugh in the Ice Bowl. (What? Ask a football fan or Google it.)
AR coatings are highly recommended for eyeglasses. They’re especially useful with high-index prescription lenses, because high-index lenses are thinner, lighter, and flatter than standard- and mid-index lenses, and therefore tend to reflect more light than lower index lenses do.
But all lenses, even non-prescription lenses, benefit from AR coating, especially sunglasses.
However, one of the most important uses of AR coating will not involve sunglasses, unless you’re this guy.
For most people, who, unlike Corey Hart, don’t wear their sunglasses at night, AR coating is a must-have for driving glasses, prescription or non-prescription sunglasses, or clear prescription lenses. AR coating is great for reducing glare from streetlights, stoplights, taillights, and oncoming headlights. It’s especially good at decreasing the “halo” effect.
Wait, not that halo effect – that one should only be increased! Multiplied, even, at every possible opportunity. Here is the halo effect you want to reduce:
AR coating has daytime and indoor uses, too. It’s great for people who spend a lot of time on the computer, since it reduces glare from the monitor, which can cause eyestrain.
AR coating performs a great cosmetic function, too. It greatly decreases the reflection on eyeglasses’ lenses from external indoor and outdoor light sources. With AR coating, people looking at you while you’re wearing glasses will see your eyes rather than what’s reflected on the lenses. This is an excellent feature to have, unless you’re acting in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.
If you haven’t seen that movie, check it out. It’s one of Hitchcock’s best.
In a minute we’re going to examine the three main types of AR coatings available for eyeglasses’ lenses: standard, hydrophobic, and oleophobic. They all work the same way, by blocking reflection and reducing glare with one or more layers of metal oxide that (remember the moth) allow more light to pass through the lens.
But first, let’s dispose of the most common misconception about AR coatings: that they tint the lens. This is not true. AR coatings are clear and colorless and invisible on the lens.
But there is a color-based way to tell if your lenses have AR coating. Sometimes people will think that, because reflections on the lenses are not entirely eliminated, their glasses don’t have AR coating, even though they ordered it.
To see if your eyeglasses have AR coating, hold the glasses parallel to the ground, with the temple arms (the stems that go behind your ear) up or down. Angle the glasses so you can see reflections on the lenses. If the reflections look green or purple, your lenses have AR coating.
Here’s why: The reflections will look green or purple, or both green and purple, because AR coating blocks waves that are in the green-to-purple wavelength of the spectrum of visible light. That’s why these colors are reflected on the lenses. If that’s not confusing enough, here’s a chart that will really have you scratching your head, unless you’re an optics geek:
Now that your brain has recovered (we hope), let’s look at those three main types of AR coatings: standard, hydrophobic, and oleophobic. Standard AR coating, which is $4.95 at Zenni Optical, and which can cost north of $100 at other optical retailers, does a great job of reducing reflections on eyeglasses lenses.
But there’s a big difference between standard AR coating and hydrophobic, which is $8.95 at Zenni, and oleophobic, which is $14.95 at Zenni. These AR coatings can cost as much as $200 at other optical retailers.
The hydrophobic AR coating is called that because although it blocks reflections the same way the standard AR coating does, it’s also water (hydro) resistant (phobic). It puts a slick surface on the lens that resists the buildup of water-based moisture, which is important to have when you’re watching a tearjerker like The Best Man Holiday for the 87th time.
The hydrophobic and oleophobic AR coatings make your eyeglasses’ lenses easier to clean than lenses with the standard AR coating. You can do this experiment yourself. If you have a pair of glasses with standard AR coating and a pair with hydrophobic or oleophobic AR coating, clean each pair with the cloth that comes with your Zenni glasses. It’s much easier to clean the hydrophobic or oleophobic pair than the standard pair, right? The cloth slides right across the surface of the hydrophobic- or oleophobic-coated lenses, while on the pair with the standard AR coating there’s a little drag on the lens.
Stop it! Behave. It’s not that kind of flame and not that kind of drag.
The oleophobic AR coating is called that because in addition to resisting water the way the hydrophobic AR coating does, it also resists oil and grease (that’s the “oleo” part, as in “oleomargarine,” which is what margarine used to be called).
The oleophobic AR coating has a slick surface on the lens that, like the hydrophobic AR coating, resists the buildup of water moisture on the lens and makes the lenses easier to clean than lenses with the standard AR coating.
But it also protects against smudging from fingerprints as well as facial oils. This is useful when you don’t want to use your superpowers to clean your glasses, which would give away your secret identity.
Zenni also offers special mirror-finish oleophobic AR coatings for sunglasses. These come in gold, silver, and blue, and each is $19.95. The back of the lens has the AR coating, and the front of the lens has the reflective mirror-finish coating. The gold mirror finish looks great with frames that are gold, red, brown, or tortoiseshell, such as frame A10102114.
The silver mirror finish looks great with any frame color or style, especially A10102412.
The blue mirror finish looks great with silver, black, gray, blue, or gold frames, such as 521814, and is especially good at reflecting harmful blue light.
Or check out this beauty in the blue mirror finish. The frame (A10161222) looks great, too.
Speaking of reflecting harmful blue light, soon we’ll be launching our newest AR coating, which is specially designed to block blue light. Keep checking the Zenni Blog – and website – for details!
Friday, March, 14 2014 by Matt Souza
Most women don’t own just one pair of earrings or one purse. Instead, we usually own several of these items so that we can match them with what we are wearing. While glasses aren’t just a fashion statement, it’s wise to have more than one pair in case one is lost or breaks, it’s true that glasses have a huge impact on how you look. Owning several pair, at least four, allows you to gracefully switch out your glasses as you change both your clothes and your location.
Here are the four different types of glasses that every woman should have:
This is the pair of glasses that you wear and carry around with you all the time. When buying this pair, pay special attention to frame shape and color: Remember, you’ll be wearing these every day, so you probably want to go for a neutral color and a frame that perfectly matches your face shape and your hairstyle. It’s also important that your glasses match the formality of your workplace: Funky frames can rock creative spaces, but may cause issues in a conservative law office.
There are going to be days when your regular glasses just won’t do. These are the days for wearing statement glasses: Cool colors, shapes and patterns that boost your confidence and attract attention.
Tip: Can’t decide on a statement pair? Get the frames that go best with your favorite garment or outfit.
Nothing kills a casual beach look faster than having to squint because you can’t read the tiki cocktail menu. Get yourself a big, gorgeous pair of prescription sunglasses so you can enjoy vacations and trips to the beach in style.
Rimless glasses, particularly those with neutral temples and earpieces (i.e. brown, black or brushed metallic) are an essential part of everyone’s eyeglass wardrobe for several reasons:
1. It’s always wise to have at least one extra pair of glasses handy, particularly at the office or even in the glove box of your car. Ideally, you want these spares to have a neutral appearance so they go with everything. Rimless glasses with neutral temples and earpieces go with just about any outfit, no matter what color or degree of formality.
2. A recent study on how people perceive wearers of glasses show that rimless glasses encourage positive stereotyping by others: People who wear rimless glasses were judged by study participants as being attractive and likeable, as well as intelligent, trustworthy and successful. This makes rimless glasses an excellent choice for business meetings, or any other endeavor where you need to make a very good impression on someone.
Tip: If you do choose rimless glasses with metallic temples/earpieces and you tend to switch up your jewelry from silver to gold and back again, get two pair of rimless glasses, one in goldtone, the other in silver. This way you’ll always have a pair of rimless glasses that match your look.
How many pairs of glasses do you own?
Monday, February, 24 2014 by Lainie Petersen
Spring’s on its way, so it’s time to evaluate your eyewear. Dowdy, mismatched frames will ruin your look, so take the time to coordinate your glasses to your spring wardrobe. Here are some tips that can help:
1. Focus on Accessories
Matching your glasses to your clothing is fine, but you may find it more effective to coordinate your glasses with any accessories you wear, including jewelry, hair accessories and scarves. Don’t worry much about handbags, though, because you typically won’t wear your purse all day. Instead, choose frames that pick up colors from your accessories. This can be particularly effective when you accessorize in colors that contrast with those of your garments.
Many people find that metallic frames to be incredibly versatile: Just make sure that you wear gold frames with gold jewelry/accessories and silver with silver. But don’t be afraid to make a statement, though: Brightly colored frames that coordinate with gemstone jewelry, for example, really make a statement.
2. Be Careful of Dark Neutrals
Brown, black, and navy are great neutrals that are often easy to pair with any outfit. But “easy” is no excuse for “lazy.” For example, wearing a dark, neutral frame with beautiful spring pastels is distracting. Lightening things up a bit with gray, beige or powder blue frames during the warmer months makes a huge difference in your appearance.
3. When in Doubt
Some outfits can be a challenge to accessorize, but there are a few options for making sure that your eyewear doesn’t distract from your clothing.
- The first option is a pair of tortoiseshell frame glasses that do not have any visible metal parts. The combination of colors in tortoiseshell goes well with most colors, and while your tortoiseshell frames may not be the most exciting pair of glasses you own, they should hold you in good stead throughout the seasons and changing fads.In fact, buying two pairs is a great idea: A light tortoiseshell for spring/summer and a richer, deeper pattern for fall and winter.
- Rimless glasses incorporate a minimum of hardware, so if you choose a pair with neutral temples, you’ll likely be able to get away with wearing them with most outfits.
- Choose a frame that blends well with your skin tone. Try rose gold for fair skin and shades of bronze, copper or brown for darker skin tones.
Do you have any special tricks for matching your eyewear to your clothes? Let us know about it in the comments!
Monday, February, 24 2014 by Lainie Petersen