Editor’s letter: My glasses & me, a love-hate story

In recent years, my usual morning ritual of applying my make-up has taken on something of a funfair element. I try my best, and there’s a beautiful moment where I can look in the mirror and think, ‘OK, yes, the face you have painted on more or less resembles you. You still scrub up OK, Elvin, well done, etc etc.’ And then… I put my glasses on. Oh dear. I often discover I’ve managed to make myself look like what might happen if Barbara Cartland and Ronald McDonald had a baby. It’s a real lottery.

I don’t mind wearing glasses. Not most of the time, anyway. There are benefits. They tend to sit on my face in a way that conveniently hides my dark circles. When you’re supposed to be a boss, they do add a certain air of authority that, I must admit, I don’t hate. Also, they help me see, which is quite good. 

But a couple of years ago I found I didn’t need them just for reading. Now I need them so much – to read my phone, the coffee-shop menu, the price tags in Zara – that there is just no point in taking them off. Most of the time that’s fine. But I must admit my heart sinks a little when I get all dressed up for a fancy evening out and have to top off a pretty, sparkly frock with my big black frames. Or when a friend will catch me in a rare moment without them and gasp that I’m unrecognisable. Wearing glasses does tend to hamper one’s ability to feel glamorous. (Don’t talk to me about contact lenses. I’ve never been able to master them and even my optician agrees that one of my eyes simply won’t open up enough to get them in.) 

My vanity learned a hard lesson when once, at a fancy fashion dinner, I decided to try to get through the night without them and just plonked them on the table. At some point in the evening I noticed they weren’t where I left them. Do you know where they were? This is a true story. My table mate, Susan Sarandon (yes, that one!), mistook them for hers while being whisked out of the event and promptly took my glasses with her on holiday to Sicily. It was a painful week of squinting my way through life before I could cajole her and her agent into mailing them back to me!

So quite a lot of all of the above inspired me to ask our fashion and beauty directors to put together a piece on not only the most beautiful frames out there and how to wear them, but also how to feel glamorous when you do. How do we do our make-up when we can’t see our own eyes? Should we apply more to make it pop through glasses, or will that make us look like Mrs Doubtfire? We’re here to answer all your most pressing questions, at all times, lovely YOU readers. I know I will be purchasing a magnifying mirror and eyelash curlers tout de suite. I hope you find the story as useful as I have. Enjoy the issue.

Editor’s picks

Editor's letter 19 January 2020 shirt
Of course I don’t need another white shirt, but… Shirt, £69, arket.com

Editor's letter 19 January 2020 shoesObsessed since I saw our cover star Jennifer wearing similar to our shoot. Shoes, £55, marksandspencer.com

Editor's letter 19 January 2020 dressLibrarian chic to match my glasses! Dress, £49, topshop.com