As teen in the aughts, I made every attempt to avoid wearing my prescription glasses because I was convinced that they were a tragically uncool faux pas. Better to squint myself into headaches than risk being bullied, I figured.

In hindsight, I don’t think anyone even noticed whenever I wore glasses but I still did everything I could to avoid my crappy, thin-rimmed nightmares like a Bizarro World Velma. I mean, I thought those things made me look like Dwight Schrute.

As a full-time glasses-wearer nearly 20 years later (and they look good, thanks!!), I’m mildly amused by conventionally attractive Gen Z people willingly wearing dorky glasses for fashion’s sake. At least they pull them off better than I ever did.

The recent rise of thin-rimmed glasses is an extension of the ongoing fascination with the Y2K aesthetic, which makes sense: that was the style at the time.

Indeed, wireframes were my first pair of frames, the ones I pretended to lose just so I wouldn’t have to wear them.

On and off the late ’90s/early aughts runways, from Tom Ford’s Gucci to Oakley, thin-rim was in (much to my chagrin).

You can really thank (or blame) Miu Miu for really crystalizing today’s dorky eyewear trend.

Yep, designer Miuccia Prada didn’t just once again low-rise everything upon the world, she also reintroduced nerdy glasses as a styling prop — that’s the power of being the coolest brand on the planet.

Slight, sporty sunglasses was already pretty on-trend, mind you, but especially dweeby optical frames are relatively fresh.

It also must be acknowledged that streetstyle all-star Bella Hadid is the patron saint of dorky glasses.

Hadid was way ahead of the curve on this one, as usual. She modeled Miu Miu’s Spring/Summer 2022 and 2023 collections, which put her on the ground floor of non-prescription geek glasses.

Note that she didn’t wear the Miu Miu glasses on the runway. Instead, Hadid’s been frequently street-styled wearing dweeb-tier glasses, the epitome of the Y2K gal.

It’s not just the much-maligned square wireframes of my youth that’re of the moment, either: so long as the glasses are as wimpy as the nasally waifs who wore them in afterschool specials.

Because these frames are accessories, not necessities (the glasses, they do nothing!), the only thing that matters is the shape.

While quintessentially “chic” sunglasses have some chunk, a recognizable logo, and/or at least enough lens to cover the eye, these dorky glasses are puny, both in heft and lens size.

We’re not talking oversized ’70s geek-wear here; less Jaws, more Hackers.

Dorky glasses affect an air of bookishness.

Though this was the look I frantically attempted to distance myself from, Miu Miu, Bella Hadid, and subsequent influencer adopters lean hard into it, contrasting their dweeby eyewear with tight cardigans, crop tops, low-rise skirts.

It’s like the “sexy librarian” trope became fashionable, thanks primarily by those awful, terrible glasses that I used to loathe.

It’s costumey to be sure — these glasses do not improve anyone’s vision — but that’s part of the fun, I suppose. I mean, must be nice to be able to see just fine without them…

But far be it for me to gatekeep glasses. After all, the adoption of these incredibly uncool specs as legitimately cool accessories is at least partially indicative of the fact that we’ve moved on from stigmatizing glasses, right?

I just wish it could’ve happened a couple decades earlier.


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