Last summer, eyeglasses line Warby Parker
made the visually impaired proud of their lack of 20/20. Since then, geek chic eyewear has become a staple among glamorous Hollywood elite
and fashionable runway stalkers
, and there’s been a rush of trendy online eyewear companies that afford would-be four-eyes an element of style without breaking the bank.
: Brooklyn-based Classic Specs believes that fashionable eyewear should be available to everyone. By cutting out the middle man (the norm for this new crop of eyewear startups), Classic Specs can offer prescription glasses for a mere $89. Operating on the try-before-you-buy model, prospective customers can order up to three pairs of frames to sample in the comfort of their homes before purchasing. And if custom eyewear needs to be adjusted after purchase, Classic Specs will reimburse the fee charged by a local optical shop. Unlike other web-based eyeglass retailers, the online boutique has a “brick-and-mortar” location in the form of a regular booth at the Brooklyn Flea
: With the popularity of affordable cyber eyewear boutiques, it’s no surprise that Spex Club offers their glasses for a buck less than even Classic Specs. Taking a decidedly more digital approach to the dressing room, the Spex Vision
feature allows prospective buyers to upload photos of themselves and virtually try on their favorite frames. These “virtual mirror” photos can then be uploaded to Facebook for indecisive shoppers who want to crowdsource opinions on their most flattering spec style. Not limiting their audience to the visually challenged, Spex Vision also offers an extensive selection of sunglasses
: Though the brand credits Europe for inspiring the design of each of its three lines (the retro Urban Vintage Collection
, the colorful Pop Chic Collection
and, our personal favorite, the Pure Wood Collection
), all of BonLook’s lenses are made in the good ol’ US of A. BonLook’s glasses fall in the affordable $55-$95 range; however, the company is giving the world far more than just trendy, inexpensive eyewear. In addition to its commitment to carbon-neutral delivery through Green Shipping, one percent of all sales are donated to Helen Keller International's ChildSight
program, which provides low-income children with free vision screening and eyeglasses.