Awhile back I wrote about a few of my favorite eyewear shops - Moscot, Warby Parker and SEE Eyewear. Since then SEE has started offering custom nose pads to their list of services, so I've been shopping there quite a bit. The custom pads add a couple weeks to the wait, but for me the wait for eyeglasses that wouldn't otherwise fit is well worth it.
See Eyewear frames
With my frequent visits to SEE, I've learned a lot about purchasing eyewear and thought it would be helpful to compile a list of tips. I spoke with Leo at SEE Eyewear's Water Tower location, and here are some of his suggestions:
Wear casual or "everyday" clothing.
Unless you're shopping for a second or fun pair, wear clothes you usually wear, so you can find glasses that will work with most of your wardrobe.
If you're anything like me and can't see more than a foot away without glasses, you'll need to wear contacts while shopping for eyeglasses so you can actually see how you look. If you don't have contacts, then bring a camera and take pictures.
Do your homework on your eye insurance benefits and lenses.
VSP, EyeMed, whatever your insurance, you should check your benefits coverage. Most vision plans will give you an allowance for one pair of glasses (for two years) or contact lenses. Some vision plans cover anti-glare and scratch resistant coatings. If you have a heavier prescription, you will probably want to buy high-index lenses for comfort as they're lighter than standard lenses.
This is my personal motto for shopping and style in general, and it's especially relevant for eyewear. Try to step outside your comfort zone; you might be pleasantly surprised. And keep in mind that the same frames can look very different in another color, so just try everything on.
Lastly, bring a friend or multiple friends!
Eyeglass shopping can get a bit overwhelming, so bring someone who will be honest and ideally someone with similar taste. If you have a few friends who are also shopping for eyeglasses, you can all go together and make an outing of it.
SEE Eyewear frames
Good luck shopping! And if you live in the Chicago area, you should visit Leo at SEE in the Water Tower. I'm extremely particular about my glasses, and in my eyes, he's truly the best. He's a wizard at picking out frames for you to try on, and he's great with adjustments. Unfortunately he's moving to San Francisco next month, so if you can visit sooner than later.
SEE Eyewear @ Water Tower
835 N Michigan Ave
If you find something you like at SEE, check out the Yelp deal for $200 towards a pair of prescription eyeglasses!