Saturday, April 19, 2014

Should You Order Glasses Online?

Eyeglasses, that is. If you're like me, glasses are a part of your everyday look. I'm not interested in experimenting with contacts (touching my eyeballs? no thanks) and while my vision isn't horrible (in one eye anyway) I do get headaches if I walk around with uncorrected vision for long. So, glasses it is. Rather than fighting it or feeling resentful about it, I've embraced it and decided to make it a bit of a fashion statement, an integral part of "my look" if you will.

My insurance subsidizes one pair of glasses per year. Luckily my prescription hasn't changed much in the past couple of years, so I can get away with wearing last year's (or the year before's) pair. I love to change up my look, and wearing different glasses is a fun way to do that. After I had my colors analyzed, I couldn't resist the urge to buy just one more pair, IN my season. I'm not actually due for a new pair until 2015, so I decided to see if I could find something really inexpensive. I found Zenni Optical, which advertises glasses starting at just $6.95, including prescription! I had to find out if this was legit or too good to be true.

So, how does one order glasses online? It's actually pretty fun. You upload a picture of yourself without glasses on, and then virtually "try on" as many frames as you want. There are limitless options; here are a few I liked:
I chose the pair in the bottom right corner

Here is a close-up of the glasses I ordered
Let's talk about price. I highly doubt you're "walking out the door" with $7 glasses. The frames I selected were a bit more than that ($19), but that is only the beginning. Here is my detailed order:
Not $7 - but not crazy, either
The biggest expense was the lens upgrade, for nearly $35. From what I understand, those of us with coke-bottle level prescriptions need some special sort of lens to avoid our glasses actually being coke-bottle thickness. I was willing to pay for that upgrade, since I have poor vision in only one eye, and the one-thick-one-thin-lens look is not cute. Zenni recommends the particular index for your specific prescription. Your mileage may vary on that - your lenses may cost less if you don't need that high-index lens, but it also may be more if you need bifocals or trifocals. My prescription is just single-vision. Additionally, I took a mini-splurge to get clip-on sunglasses that fit just right, a whopping $4. (Those things are $10-$20 at the drugstore and never fit right; the ones from my ophthalmologist fit but cost $40.) Shipping was a reasonable $5 flat rate; if you're ordering glasses for the whole family it won't cost any more. So, we're talking about just under $63, which is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than anything I've ever bought at my doctor's office boutique, even after the insurance subsidy.

I placed my order, and just twelve days later, my new glasses arrived in my mailbox!
My Zenni glasses
I have no complaints! Luckily, they fit me perfectly, since I'm not sure where I'd go about getting them adjusted if they didn't. They look pretty darn close to how they looked "virtually." The only maybe weird thing was that color is a little bit off - the visible part of the frame is right on, but the part over the ears is a different color. Since that's hidden by my hair, I don't care, but if my hair didn't cover that it might annoy me. The clip-on sunglasses are definitely the cheap kind (I doubt they'll last long,) with no metal around the edges, but they fit right and do the job.

Ordering glasses online is scary! You are taking a chance. Although this all went very smoothly, and it was far cheaper than the boutique where I usually purchase glasses, I don't think it was really a savings over going to a local discount chain optician. However, if you find your local options lacking, you might like to give Zenni a shot. Dirt cheap, it's not. And you're not going to find the upscale designer frames you can get in the more expensive stores. But it offers a massive selection of reasonably priced frames in every kind of style and color imaginable. And the ordering process is as easy as it could be.

Have you ever bought glasses online? If so, were you happy with the glasses you purchased?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Personal Color Analysis Was a Big Surprise

Color me shocked. As it turns out, I'm not a Bright Winter at all. I'm actually a Soft Summer! They are both neutral seasons, leaning cooler with just a touch of warmth, but the colors and saturation are very different.

I wrote about what I was anticipating and a little about what this is all about in my previous post, here.

Now, how does a personal color analysis work, exactly? First, you wear no makeup. The "studio" (actually a hotel meeting room) was set up with a gray background and full-spectrum lights. I wore a gray scarf over my hair (because there is still a tiny bit of dye in the ends) and a gray drape. My analyst, Christine, also wore a gray coverall so as to not distract the eye. She started by draping me with fabric drapes representing the four true seasons, Winter (black), Autumn (dark brown), Spring (gold), and Summer (silver), comparing two at a time. It was clear that none of the true seasons were a perfect match, but Summer was the best, followed by Winter. We were looking for each color's effects on my face. You want feature definition, smooth skin, healthy skin color, bright colorful eyes, pink lips. You do not want shadows, yellowness, redness, pale lips, dull eyes, or hard lines.

We went through the red drapes (a series of pinks to reds designed to test for how much saturation suits you) and then we did each of the 12 seasons individually. Nine seasons were eliminated pretty quickly. She spent extra time comparing Light Summer and Soft Summer (SSu), but Soft Summer won out. She saved Bright Winter (BW) for last, because she know it was what I was expecting. I didn't tell her straight out, but she figured it out by my comments on how pretty certain drapes were, as well as what I walked in wearing (black and fuchsia).

The Bright Winter vs. Soft Summer draping was interesting. The BW drapes really didn't look bad - they didn't make me sallow, like the warmer seasons (Spring), or severe, like the cold seasons (True Winter and True Summer). But - in the BW, I just sort of receded. I wasn't center stage, the drape was. The SSu drapes, on the other hand, showed ME. This may sounds like a subtle thing. But I really could see it. The SSu colors are truly colors I've hardly looked at in stores. I just assumed they didn't have enough saturation for me. The SSu colors are heathered and grayed. I think they're very pretty, but they are just so far from the electric pinks, purples, and teals I've been favoring lately!

Christine sensed my shock, and she spent a long time with me. She really wanted me to see the changes that SSu made in my appearance. In fact, my session was about six hours long! Granted, much of that time was talking, about color theory in general, and then more specifically once my season had been revealed. We also talked about makeup, and she applied a full face of makeup on me, explaining as she went.

Once I got over my shock (even my shock shocked me - I swore I was totally open minded!), I decided to just embrace my new season. Hey, nothing is permanent, I can always go back to my old bright colors if I like. I've been collecting new makeup from Christine's recommendation list, and bought a few clothing items and scarves. Below, I'm sharing some photos from from draping session, as well as a selfie I took in my car wearing some of my new purchases. All of the draping photos are in my Soft Summer colors, with makeup on (I wasn't going to take any pictures of the "bad" colors, or any no-makeup shots, no matter good an illustration they might be!)
My colors (well, a few of them, anyway)

Some individual shots with Soft Summer colors

Here is my attempt at "doing Soft Summer" myself.

The scarf in the photo above is by Natasha (purchased at TJ Maxx). Foundation is Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup in 14N, blush is Clinique's Cupid. Eyeliner is Urban Decay's Uzi. Eyeshadow is a custom palette I created with MAC's Blackberry, Yogurt, and Scene. Mascara is Almay's Sapphire. Lipstick: Plumful by MAC.
A sampling of Soft Summer colors 
So was it worth it? Yes, I think so. I do love the way I look in the softer colors it would never had occurred to me to wear. And I did DO this in order to push myself out of my comfort zone - and to be the best me I can be. It's a work in progress! Have you ever had a PCA? Were you surprised by your results?