Fashion & Beauty

A Colorful Eyeful

March 13, 2020

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The older male celebs featured in the Wall Street Journal article on tinted lenses look to be having a fine old time, though Mahershala Ali, left, is only 46, and Robert Downey Jr., right, registers as 54, in contrast to Elton John, who will turn 73 later this month. / From the Wall Street Journal.

LAST MONTH I read a piece in the Wall Street Journal’s Off-Duty section (a/k/a the Saturday Bible) about tinted eyeglass  lenses and how so many celebs were sporting them. So many, ahem, aging celebs. Bono, Jeff Goldblum, Elton John (of course), Johnny Depp. The list was long and deep.

The men’s fashion columnist Jacob Gallagher wondered if it had anything to do with hiding bags under the eyes and crow’s feet around them.

I love wearing silly colors of eyeglass frames; they seem like an of-the-moment style decision, easy to reverse. And I’m not particularly bothered by the state of my eyes and their immediate terrain: The ravages of time have concentrated on

It’s probably true that any eyeglasses would be reflective, but blue-light specs offer a weird glow. / MyLittleBird photo.

geography to the north (a bumpy forehead) and the south (horrid lip lines and patches of pathetic wrinkling where dimples once reigned). Sigh. Nonetheless, tinted lenses seemed like something to consider, though I wouldn’t even contemplate going the custom route of having eyeglasses (readers, in my case, usually from the drugstore) hand-dyed; it would simply be a case of choosing sunglasses in a more inventive palette.

Browsing through the Zenni Optical and Specs Collective sites, I immediately nixed a few ideas. No yellowish tint. Why give a jaundiced “glow” to the area around my eyes? Pale blue? They looked kinda pale, and what’s the point? Gray was subtle, maybe too subtle. Pink? Sure. Orange? Maybe (it looked jaunty). Jeff Goldblum can carry off orange, but he’s Jeff Goldblum and I’m not.

These folks on the Zenni Optical website, staff presumably, look cheerfully tinted in T-shirt and glasses, but I’m bothered by the weird yellow glow around the eyes of the woman in the center, the rabbity-pink-eye look next to her, and the purple bruise look at right. Shown on the front, also from the Zenni Optical site, are three of the colors offered: blue, pink and yellow. Zenni frames start at $6.95.

Then two things happened. One: I had bought blue-light reading glasses from Privé Revaux (“The Maestro,” $29.95) because, well, because I kept reading that the blue light from my computer and phone and Kindle screens (meaning about

These look like fun! The gutsy “Monopoly” sunglasses by Thierry Lasry are $395 at The style can also be had in 11 other color combos (yellow with red lenses shown here).

80% of my day) was screwing up my sleep patterns. Now I was standing at a mirror doing . . . something (who knows?) . . . and I noticed this odd iridescent shadow showing through the lenses, under my eyes. It was a weird blueish reflection off the blue-light readers. I made a mental note to switch to normal readers when going out.

The second thing: Next day I saw a young woman walking toward me; she seemed to have a black eye. Wrong again. No bruise. She was wearing gray-tinted lenses.

That’s it: My tinted idyll is over before it begins. Maybe. The pink still looks perky, the orange like fun. yellow if I were feeling brave. Most days, though, it’s going to be la vie en . . . clear.

—Nancy McKeon


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