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Featured in Fairlady Magazine !

The Joy of Specs

Not just a necessity, but also an accessory


A while ago I interviewed the marvellous Prue Leith, who was smart and frank and said a lot of interesting things. One of them was that in her opinion people don’t think enough about their glasses. ‘I have at least 20 pairs of specs,’ she said. ‘Your face is what people focus on, not your feet. Why are people more worried about their shoes than their specs?’ Shortly after that, Prue launched her own range of wildly colourful specs, which she cleverly models every week on British Bake Off.

I loved it when I had to start wearing reading glasses. I thought I’d switch them up all the time, but of course I didn’t: I was lazy and went with practical frames that would go with anything. Like Prue, I also have 20 pairs of specs at any given time, but they’re basically all the same  – I just stash them everywhere (the kitchen, the bathroom, my car) so I always have them when I need them.

So I was ripe for the plucking when optometrist Adèle Camerena of Spectacle World invited me in for a 45-minute bespoke frame styling consultation. The entire team are qualified Eyewear Stylists, certified by the Eyewear Styling Academy in London – a first for South Africa. Adèle tested my eyes and analysed my ‘style personality’, all the while dropping some really interesting facts about eyes I didn’t know. She’s obviously passionate about what she does.

The purpose of the style consultation is to help you find glasses that are not only perfect for your eyes, but also for your character. ‘Your glasses should showcase who you are,’ says Adèle. In other words, they’re an accessory, not just a necessity. Adèle noted the undertone of my skin, the colour of my hair and my eyes and measured the length and width of my face, as well as the shape of my jaw.

And then we tried a selection of frames, which was hilarious, and we finally narrowed them down to three, kindly and meticulously adjusted to sit comfortably on my wonky nose by optical lab technician Ryno van Dyk. (The third pair is specifically for using at my computer: light, beautifully adjusted for length and so essential to me now that I couldn’t part with them to be photographed).


The response from people who know me has been: a resounding success for the Vogue Eyewear VO5397 multifocals, which everyone loves (including me: I feel like Edna Mode from the Incredibles, and she is actually my role model, so that’s excellent) and … howls of laughter at the sunglasses. I admit even I was slightly taken aback by the blue tint when I went to pick them up two weeks after my consultation, but that had been my choice. And now that I’ve been wearing them for a while, I take the few double-takes I get in my stride – from where I’m looking, they look – and feel – fabulous!