Archive for the ‘Quick Facts’ Category

How To Use Glasses To Make A Fashion Statement

Let me tell you a little secret. You don’t need a prescription to wear glasses. Often times, it’s a conscious choice, something you do because you can. Everyone is doing it. It’s as deliberate a decision as a pixie cut and it can be just as trendy. Forget about functionality. These rimmed accessories are fashion statements that anyone can wear with pride. The geekier they are, the better!

If you’re a newcomer to this lensless world of geek-chic, allow me to introduce you to the scene. Somewhere between the Japanese teenagers who started this trend and NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant who perfected it, glasses for the non-glasses wearer have become fashion necessities.
More than a passing trend, this is a look with so many different styles that anyone could pull it off. With each lensless or non-prescription pair, there’s an opportunity to make yourself over. One day you can play the geeky librarian and the next you can exude pure sophistication in the office.
Glasses are fashion statements with many different meanings. You can transform your look with a new pair. Before you start trying on different specs, here are some pointers to help you create a head turning look:
1.   Wear A Fresh Pair Daily
You wouldn’t wear the same shirt to work every day, would you? So why should it be any different with your glasses? After all, they’re as much a part of your outfit as any other item of clothing. It’s funny how we change our shoes more often than we vary our glasses, and yet the rimmed accessories people tend to see first. They make the first impression. If you really want to make a statement, you need to mix things up. Nothing says Hello World quite like starting each day with a fresh, new look. One day you could choose blue cat eye frames with sparkling crystals. The next day, pick something purple, lightweight and flexible.
If you’re like most people, you probably have only one pair of glasses. With great selection and budget friendly prices, it is easy to have a variety of frames at your disposal. But, don’t overwhelm yourself. Shopping for a new look can be intimidating. To start, pick five of the most distinctive frames you can find. These glasses will become conversation starters, not just immobile decorations.
2.   Know Statement Glasses When You See them
You don’t want just any glasses. You want statement glasses. You’ll know them when you see them. You can’t take your eyes off of these glasses. They are so bold people can’t help but stare at them. They’re going to get you lots of attention, be prepared.
Choosing statement glasses is tricky. I could say things like: follow your gut. Or: use that intuition of yours. But that’s not helpful. It’s a personal thing. There’s no checklist for choosing a pair of statement glasses. As a rule, though, the trends aren’t necessarily the statement makers. If you’re looking for something different, perhaps try these. You might want a pair with an unusual shape or a unique lens color.
3.   Don’t Be Afraid To Go Bold
Bright color is a good way to make a bold statement. If you want to get noticed, a pair of spring green cateye frames can do the trick. With bright color, you don’t need to wear much makeup. At the same time, going bold doesn’t have to equal bright and neon. Not everyone can pull off that much color.
You can turn just as many heads with a simple frame. Random tortoise shell patterns or lime green aviators will leave an impression. With plenty of different frames to choose from, you’re bound to find something that’s uniquely you.
If you choose to wear glasses, they shouldn’t just sit there. Have fun with your frames, mix-and-match them. After all, glasses are a powerful accessory. It’s up to you to get the most out of them. What kind of statement do you want your glasses to make?

Thursday, July, 10 2014 by

Why Your Glasses Are A Great Conversation Starter

I recently started wearing glasses and no one at work said a thing. This surprised me as these were in-your-face glasses, so big and wine-red that you had to be in need of a pair yourself not to notice them. How could they resist?

It was as if they were too polite. Or maybe they just didn’t have the words for the new me. After all, I had undergone a complete makeover overnight. And so they continued to smile their polite smiles without ever saying a word. I let this go on for a day. And then I got sick of it.
I could have simply asked: “So, what do you think of my new glasses?” I knew that would put an end to all the politeness. Instead, I decided to embrace the new me, to really give them something to talk about.
Each day I reinvented myself. One day, I was sleek and sophisticated with my wine-red frames. The next, I went with a simple, circular and Lennonesque pair. But still, I didn’t get noticed. So I went baby blue and glittery. And that did the trick. Or so I thought.
It was Molly, my colleague, who noticed first. “There’s something different about you today. I can’t put my finger on it,” she said, “Oh, now I see it… You got a haircut!”  I couldn’t believe it. A haircut! And so I let her have it: “Today I’m a baby blue pixie. Yesterday I was a Lennon impersonator. And the day before that, I indulged the geek in me.”
A mistaken haircut was all it took. Suddenly, the spell had been broken. Before I knew it, I was being complimented on my glitz and glam. They even asked me where I got them. Someone else remarked that I couldn’t have found a more perfect pair.
They liked the new me and suddenly, my glasses were the most talked about accessory in the office. At least they were for the last 20 minutes of that day.
Here’s what I learned through the process: your glasses can be the most powerful conversation starter you have. You just need to know how to use them. In my case, it took a few bold attempts before people really noticed. But once I brought it up, none of that mattered. Once I gave them permission, my bold frames became the topic of conversation.
Whether you’re a veteran glasses wearer or a newbie looking to get the most out of your frames, here are some tips for you.
1. Introduce Yourself
Unless people know you well, they’re unlikely to comment on your glasses. That’s your job. You need to start the conversation. Show people there’s something to talk about. A simple, “So, do you like my new glasses?” would suffice. Be sure to draw attention to the fact that they’re new glasses. This is a great way to get a conversation going. Keep in mind that this won’t work on complete strangers. They might mistake this for a pick up line.
2.  Let The Glasses Do The Talking
If you want your glasses to do the talking, you need a pair of statement glasses. These aren’t picked because they’re functional or comfortable. These specs intrigue people so much that they can’t help but say something. It might be something as simple as, “Oh, I love your glasses”. That’s enough to get the conversation flowing.
3. A New Look, A New You
Maybe statement glasses aren’t your thing. We’re not all cut out for that. They require loads of confidence to pull off. If you’re not in the mood to get chatty with people, I suggest you leave them at home. There is a more simple way to start conversations. Variety!
One pair of glasses is not enough. You need at least 5. With a variety, you can reinvent yourself every other day. And nothing says come talk to me like a new look. Again, a lot depends on the glasses you choose. Think of how you want people to respond and how you want people to perceive you.
Maybe you want to make people laugh. Or perhaps, you’re looking for something more authoritative. Keep your purpose in mind because people will ask. And if you choose your glasses correctly, people get curious. Trust me.
For most people, glasses start off as a functional necessity. But if you know how to wear them, they can quickly become one of the most intriguing accessories you own.

Wednesday, July, 2 2014 by

Pinhole Glasses: They’ll Do in a Pinch, But Not in a Car

Has this ever happened to you?
You’re at home, polishing the silver, when the phone rings.

It’s your spouse, frantically calling from a hotel room out of town, where he’s got an important business meeting in an hour.

He’s frantic because he forgot the piece of paper that has the password he needs for his presentation. You find the piece of paper, but you can’t find your glasses. Without your glasses, the password looks like this:

He needs that password now, so you don’t have a lot of time to look for your glasses.

Don’t fret! Here’s a little trick that will let you see clearly, even if you’re nearsighted or farsighted, or have an astigmatism, and you can’t find your glasses.
Make a fist.

Good. Now hold it up to your eye.

No, don’t punch yourself in the eye – we’re not your big brother or sister playing a game of “Why Are You Hitting Yourself?”

We’ve outgrown that. Just gently close your fist and hold it up to your eye, with the thumb side of your fist closer to your face. But don’t close your fist completely. Leave a tiny opening you can look through.

Yes, that’s how you look through it, but use your fist.

Better, but your fist is too open. Pretend your fist is a telescope.

Wow, you have a great imagination! It actually looks just like you’re peering through a telescope. Now, look at the password through the little opening in your fist.

When you look through the little opening in your fist you can see the password clearly, and you can read it to your spouse, who can now ace the business meeting. You’ve saved the day, making both you and your spouse very happy.

What’s going on here – we said you’ve saved the day, making you and your spouse happy. What? They are? You mean, that’s how they … ? Oh. OK, maybe they’re a little … kinky.

Yow – they are kinky! No problem. We don’t judge. Just as long as they’re happy.

Enough about Lucy and Ricky. We’ve got some ’splainin’ to do about how this works. How can you see clearly when you look through a tiny opening in your fist? And what’s up with those “eyeglasses” that are outfitted with little pinhole openings in sheets of plastic where a normal pair of eyeglasses has lenses?

Those are called pinhole or “stenopeic” glasses. Stenopeic (pronounced “Sten-o-PEE-ic”) is a Greek word meaning “little opening.”

No, we said “little opening.” Grow up, Miley. Why can’t you act more mature, like the greatest scientist of the 20th century?

OK, never mind.
Stenopeic or pinhole glasses work by allowing only a very narrow bream of light to enter the eye through the pinholes. This reduces the size of what’s called the “blur circle” or more evocatively, the “circle of confusion.”

No, that’s not a circle of confusion. That’s a sphere of confusion. The circle of confusion refers to the blurriness you experience if your eyeball is too long, causing nearsightedness; or too short, causing farsightedness; or if your cornea is not perfectly spherical, causing astigmatism.

When your eyeball is neither too short nor too long, and your eye’s cornea is the proper spherical shape, light is refracted – i.e., bent – so that it is focused in a single pinpoint on your retina at the back of your eye.

By blocking all light in the blur circle (the circle of confusion) that doesn’t enter the pinhole, stenopeic or pinhole glasses work the way a pinhole camera works.

The light rays on the outside of the pinhole, those in the blur circle (the circle of confusion), are eliminated, mimicking the way an eye with no refractive errors focuses light onto the retina.
Here’s how it works with stenopeic or pinhole glasses:

Stenopeic or pinhole glasses are fine to use in a pinch, as in our example with Lucy and Ricky. They will provide a clearer image than you’ll get trying to see without your glasses or by squinting.

But they won’t provide an image that is as clear as what you’ll get with prescription lenses.

(She’s wearing frame 628021.)
And this should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: Because these glasses only allow a tiny bit of light into the eye, they should not be used in any situation in which you need a full field of vision, especially peripheral vision, such as driving.

Also, contrary to claims made by some pinhole glasses manufacturers and wearers – which have not been subjected to rigorous scientific trials and are therefore unsupported by evidence – they will not strengthen your eyes with repeated use.

In addition, they won’t even help you in a pinch if you are strongly nearsighted, meaning that the Sphere section on your prescription for either eye is more than -6.00.

Along with stenopeic or pinhole glasses, there’s another style of non-prescription-lens glasses out there you may have seen a certain rap star wearing.

Unless you get them with sunglass lenses, these slatted glasses, which are marketed as “shades,” simply have horizontal slats going across what in sunglasses would be the lens part of an aviator-shaped frame. They can be a cute accessory, if you’re a cute accessory.

But they neither provide UV protection nor keep light out of your eye. Moreover, the horizontal slats going across what would be the lens area in a pair of prescription glasses only emphasize the horizontality of what you’re looking at.

Hmm … maybe that’s why Kanye likes them!

Thursday, May, 22 2014 by

Fielders of Vision: Baseball Players Who Wear Glasses

We can understand why the commissioner of Major League Baseball would ban players associated with gambling.
We can also understand why the commissioner of Major League Baseball would ban players who have used steroids.
barry bonds jersey
But we were thrown a curveball, so to speak, when we saw a headline claiming that the current commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, decided to ban eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Commissioner of baseball bans steroids
Therefore, we were relieved, as it were, when we learned that this was a fake “news story” from CAP News, a satirical website in the style of The Onion.
How could it be otherwise? After all, without his eyeglasses, Oakland A’s second baseman Eric Sogard would never get a hit or field a ball.
Sogard looks awesome in his full-rim, rectangular “ombre” (two-tone) frame, not unlike Zenni frame 286315.
Zenni Optical Ombre Frames 286315
Among contemporary baseball players, Sogard is joined in wearing glasses on the field by Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tyler Clippard.
baseball player with glasses
Clippard’s half-rim frame is very similar to Zenni frame 294316.
Zenni Optical Half Rim Glasses Frames 294316
Sugard and Clippard are upholding a long tradition that started with pitcher Will “Whoop-La” White, the first baseball player to wear glasses, who played for several teams, including the Cincinnati Reds, from 1877-86.
Amazingly, White’s full-rim round translucent eyeglasses are still popular today. Check out Zenni’s similar frame 620315.
Zenni Optical Round Frames 220012
However, for players who were not pitchers, there was a stigma (and maybe an astigmatism) attached to wearing glasses. That ended in 1921, when utility infielder George “Specs” Toporcer debuted in Major League Baseball, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Baseball player with glasses
Specs is wearing a classic round frame that is not unlike Zenni frame 679715.
Zenni Optical Frames 679715
Only two Hall of Fame players wore glasses on the field. One, a very famous late-20th-century player, should be easy to guess. If you need a hint, his nickname is “Mr. October.”
Reggie Jackson
Yep. That would be Reggie Jackson, whose metal aviator-style frame never goes out of style. Zenni frame 453415 is very similar.
Zenni Optical Aviator Frames 453415
The other Hall of Famer might be a little harder to guess.
Hall of Fame baseball player
No, that’s not Specs Toporcer, although Specs and his glasses bear a strong resemblance to Charles “Chick” Hafey, who is depicted here.
Hafey was an outfielder who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds in the 1920s and ’30s. He represented eyeglasses wearers well, as the National League Batting Champion in 1931, with a .349 average. He sports the classic round style of eyeglasses similar to Toporcer’s, and similar to Zenni frame 450014.
Zenni Optical Round Frames 450014
Relief pitcher Jim Konstanty was the first eyeglasses wearing player to win the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, winning 16 games and saving 22 in 1950, when he played for the Philadelphia Phillies.
His rimless-glasses look could be duplicated by Zenni frame 314911, with lens shape 230.
Zenni Optical Frames 314911
Infielder and outfielder Dick Allen, who played in both the National and American Leagues, was the first eyeglasses wearer to win the American League MVP award, in 1972.
Not too many ballplayers can make this claim, but Allen was also an R&B singer. His group, Rich Allen and the Ebonistics, had a 1968 hit, “Echo’s (sic) of November.”
Allen's record
Allen’s classic, full-rim ombre frame is similar to Zenni frame 627034.
Zenni Optical Classic Ombre Frames 627034
Finally, Boston Red Sox centerfielder Dom DiMaggio was nicknamed “The Little Professor,” in part because he was one of the few players of his time (the 1940s-early ’50s) to wear eyeglasses.
Dom Dimaggio
DiMaggio’s classic metal round glasses are similar to Zenni frame 151314.
Zenni Optical Frames 151314
DiMaggio still holds the Red Sox hitting-streak record, 34 games in 1949. His brother Joe, who played centerfield for the New York Yankees and whose 56-game streak in 1941 remains a Major League Baseball record, ended Dom’s streak when he caught a line drive his brother hit to centerfield.
DiMaggio brothers
They had another centerfielder brother, Vince, who played for National League teams, but like Joe he didn’t wear glasses.
vince dimaggio 3
Presumably Dom made sure to wear his glasses at DiMaggio family gatherings, so he’d have a good look at his sister-in-law.
That’s how to keep your eye on the ball!

Wednesday, April, 23 2014 by

Jazz Appreciation Month – These Artists ‘Got Their Glasses On!’

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