Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Formal Wear & Glasses

A recent comment: "Can you do a post on glasses worn with semi-formal / formal wear? I can't wear contacts, and while I think my glasses look fantastic with normal wear, I feel that I look weird wearing them with semi-formal / formal dresses. It's so unfair that guys look hot when they wear glasses with their suits, but girls are expected not to wear glasses with their formal wear!!There's this formal event coming up and I'd like to look good in my dress and glasses. Any suggestions / thoughts on this?"

Aha! A problem that has plagued me quite a few times! I'd be happy to help you out, lovely!

First of all, I'd like to point out that our society seems to have developed an unfortunate misconception that "guys look hot when they wear glasses with their suits, but girls are expected not to wear glasses with their formal wear." I'm not saying that I haven't felt the weight of this idea when slipping into a fancy dress, but I think that it needs to be reconsidered. For many people, glasses are as much a part of their face as their mouth or nose. You wouldn't get rid of your nose for prom, would you? So why get rid of glasses?

Still, I think there's something to be said for picking a dress that works with your glasses, or vice versa. Just like you might buy a gown in a color that brings out your eyes, it's a nice idea to consider how your glasses will look as part of your outfit on a formal occasion.

Of course, I have come up with some ideas for how to do this through some internet sleuthing. Watch and learn, baby!

Here we have some examples of how gosh-darn amazing it can look when you match your glasses to your dress. That Dior ad has been dancing around my head for months, and not just because Jessica Stam happens to be gorgeous. The glasses and the dress compliment each other perfectly, both drawing attention without stealing it; the two outfit components share the spotlight magnificently. Take note - try buying a dress in the same color as your glasses~

Next we have some instances where the glasses, while paired very nicely with pretty dresses, are the focal point of the outfit:

Whether it's the fact that the frames are large, or that their color is in high contrast with the dress, the glasses steal the show in these pictures. Nerd glasses aren't universally flattering (and it's very unlikely that you own them), but I do like how the way the black stands out from the white in the Dior ad, and the way the red really pops on the upper right. To give this look a try, go for a dress that is radically different in color from your glasses.

Last but not least, we have the formal wear-with-glasses technique that has been serving bespectacled women for years:

There's really no trick here, no special method. Your glasses are already flattering on you, correct? I mean, I assume you wouldn't have bought them otherwise. So how could buying a flattering dress to pair with flattering glasses go wrong? There are some instances when this idea is tricky (pairing flattering pants with a flattering shirt doesn't always work), but I think you're pretty safe in this case. The fashionable women above (two fashion magazine employees, one gorgeous actress by the name of Sophia Loren, and one wardrobe_remixer) seem to have taken this route, and they still manage to look fantastic.

The bottom line, I think, is that wearing glasses with a formal dress is a lot easier than it seems. Play with matching and contrast if you want to, but don't get too worked up about it. It's better to end up with a dress you love that doesn't match your glasses than a dress you're not too keen on that does. Savvy?

Oh, and if you're wondering about whether getting an updo for this event will look alright with those glasses, worry not. Bridget Bardot (below) demonstrates the beauty of this look.


Aura Mae said...

Think of glasses the same way as you think of jewelry. Women should have a dressier pair and a more casual pair. Places like Costco have made it more affordable to have a pair and a spare (and they have some sassy designer styles, to boot!)

Ashe Mischief said...

Coincidentally, when I picked out my glasses, I did it with versatility in mind-- I wanted a pair that could dress up, but worn business or business casual, and still with regular clothes. (Made easier by the fact they're mostly reading glasses.)

I think there's something to be said about the dominance of the dark acrylic frame in most of these images. It really does have this modern class & elegance, along with a more square frame, that just really looks sassy when paired with a formal outfit.

Candice said...

I love glasses
wear them everyday.

susie_bubble said...

Hmmm... I agree with your initial thoughts... I don't think there needs to be a special consideration when wearing glasses with formalwear...if your glasses are very much a part of your 'look' as opposed to an extra accessory then they'd work with all types of attire, formal or casual....

Vicki said...

I think it's all about how you wear your hair. Square-ish frames look great with stick straight hair, while rounder frames work well with softer up-do's and face framing bangs.

The Clothes Horse said...

I need a pair of "formal wear" glasses I think, something colorful/more odd than my usual pair...that would be fun. I like the sort of geeky chic look in the first two pictures...the glasses almost turn the look into costume/subversively sexy look.

lalaliu said...

great post. I think women should be putting on their glasses proudly! I'm a hypocrit though since I do have contacts.

Shop With A Vengeance! said...

I loved this post as well as your previous post on glasses. I am fellow beauty blogger, and I never even thought about glasses as something related to formalwear or such an important part of your "face" like "your nose" as you explained. This is probably because I don't wear glasses, so I would only relate them to sunglasses which really aren't the same. Thanks for posting something so interesting and informative!

krystal anne said...

Hi. I recently started reading your blog, I really like it.
I also recently got a pixie cut (a la Rihanna's latest cut). I'm trying to change my style a bit.
I was wondering if you could suggest a few different styles to wear my pixie cut? I'd like to wear some barettes or something, but that's the only idea I really have.
Thanks so much! :)

Kori said...

aura mae- Different glasses styles/quantities work for different women!

ashe mischief- Me too! And I agree- those were my favorites among the pictures I collected.

candice- Good for you!

susie_bubble- I think that's true most of the time...

vicki- I think hair actually plays only a small role; the picture of Bridget Bardot in this post combines square-ish frames and an updo, and I think it looks great.

the clothes horse- That is quite a nice look!

lalaliu- Thanks! I agree - stay proud! I wore my contacts happily for a year, though. Glasses and contacts each have different pros and cons.

shop with a vengeance!- Aww, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it:)

krystal anne- I do have some ideas for you, but there's no need for me to write them down, since there's already such a wonderful post on the subject at iCiNG. Check out this post: http://galadarling.com/article/making-short-hair-more-interesting

Anonymous said...

Considerin that I'm probab;y the only guy that read this I just wanted to say that glasses are totally hot on girls - the two best lookin girls in my year have glasses lik. And to our version of the 'prom' last year a complete hottie hu normally wears glasses wore contacts and looked shockin^_^

Chiada said...

I just wanted to say "thanks" for this post. I have been wearing contacts for about 10 years now and just today got a brand spankin' new pair of glasses that I looooove. However, I was wondering about how I will wear a formal dress while wearing my glasses, so I googled my question and came to your post here. Thank you very much! That photo of Sophia Loren is so sexy! If that isn't confidence then I don't know what is!

andrea said...

the girl in the dior ad looks amazing, btw i think glasses are a good option with formal wear, but then again i never wear contacts but just remember glasses can be gorgeous

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aprons chef said...

i want to suggest something about glasses worn with formal and non-formal wear.

if you really want to learn how to carry fashion on both wears.. try watching asian movies.. mostly characters there have eye glasses.. maybe you could get some idea there.

Maria said...

Nice post

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VanityofVanities said...

Whew! I really like Bridget Bardot's hair-do since then. She's amazingly beautiful with that glasses, eh. :)

Cathy@medical instruments

nicole bennett @ formal dresses said...

I totally agree that formal dresses can match your glasses to make you look stunning.

It might mean a little more searching for that perfect dress but a woman can look just beautiful glamourous and amazing as the photos above clearly demonstrate.

Thank you for reminding those of us with glasses that we can look great.

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