September 10, 2013

In Review: Warby Parker Fall 2013

Personally, I’m in desperate need of new eyeglasses as I’ve had the same pair for almost 8 years now. Every time I wander into an optical shop to scout out new options, I balk at the sky-high prices (and that’s just for the frames). Anyone who has tried to find complete glasses for under $200 knows that the options are either incredibly cheap or incredibly unattractive. This is one of the things that make Warby Parker different. They were founded on the principal of producing high quality but affordable eyewear that still actually looks good.

When I was asked to help announce the launch of their Fall 2013 collection, I was thrilled to do it! The new line, released today, continues the tradition of literary inspiration that gave Warby Parker their name (derived from two early Kerouac characters) by invoking the spectre of the early 60s. The new collection, to quote their press release, “recalls the shaky years when social change was nearing take-off, just before the Surgeon General denounced smoking and hemlines creeped north.” Salinger, Didion, and Hunter S. Thompson are just some of the icons that shaped the era and it is easy to see this reflected in five new designs.

The four new eyeglass frames, each in two colors, provide even more ways to express your personal style on a daily basis and their names (Rowan, Ames, Ripley, and Holcomb) pay sly homage to the years that inspired their design. Glasses are a really personal thing and finding a pair that fits your face can often be a beleaguering endeavor. This new collection adds to the wealth of options already offered to make picking the perfect pair that much easier.

My personal favorite is Rowan, specifically in Graphite Fog. Rectangular frames seem to fit my face better, and I like their sleek silhouette. There is a pretty good chance that you will be seeing a lot more of these on the blog in the future depending on how they look once I try them on.

Rowan in Graphite Fog
Rowan in Whiskey Tortoise

Ames is a wide frame with a strong brow that evokes thoughts of collegiate sweaters and ivy-covered buildings.

Ames in Whiskey Tortoise
Ames in Graphite Fog

Ripley features round lenses with stainless steel rims and an acetate brow. These glasses will definitely make a statement.

Ripley in Whiskey Tortoise
Ripley in Oak Barrel

Holcomb, with its understated cat-eye, seem to be an offering that’s primarily geared towards the ladies though it brings up an interesting point. So many of Warby Parker’s frames are unisex that it takes away that awkwardness of finding a pair you like only to be told derisively by the sales associate that they are women’s (or am I the only one that’s happened to?).

Holcomb in Marbled Sandstone
Holcomb in Oak Barrel

In addition, three of their classic frames, Wilkie, Duckworth, and Zagg, each get a new color.

Wilkie in Greystone
Duckworth in Oak Barrel
Zagg in Striped Sassafras

Don’t wear glasses? You can get in on the excitement of picking up some new frames with the rest of us. Ames is also available as sunglasses, along with the fifth new sunglass-only frame, Ellison, to keep your eyes looking good no matter where you are.

Ames in Graphite Fog
Ames in Whiskey Tortoise
Ellison in Marbled Sandstone
Ellison in Whiskey Tortoise

Like with all their glasses that I’ve checked out, acetate frames are $95 and those with stainless steel are $145. Not only is this a phenomenal price for eyeglasses, but it includes prescription lenses, which usually cost at least $100 on their own at a boutique. Sunglasses get the same pricing and come with high-end polarized lenses. Prescription sunglasses will cost just a bit more, but still a lot less than you would expect to pay elsewhere.

Another thing that sets Warby Parker apart, and instantly gained them my respect, is their ‘Buy a Pair, Give a Pair’ campaign. For every pair sold, they will provide funding and/or glasses to people who need them through a network of non-profit partners, like VisionSpring. This means that when you buy a pair of their glasses, you can look good and feel good.

So check out the new Fall Collection of eyeglasses and sunglasses and see things in style. Shipping is free, returns are free, and they have an awesome Home Try-On program (also free). Or, if you prefer instant gratification and are lucky enough to live in one of the 11 cities where they have stores or showrooms you can check out your favorite frames in person. They also have a school bus that is currently touring the country bringing their showroom to eight cities in six months for Warby Parker’s Class Trip.

My favorite style is Rowan, what’s yours? Do you wear Warby Parker frames? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay stylish,
- JJ

Disclosure: All images courtesy of Warby Parker. I have not been compensated in any way for this post and all opinions contained within it are my own.

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