As someone who has worn glasses for years (though to be fair I’ve been wearing mainly contacts for the last 10 years) I’ve never been super into glasses. I’ve always owned one pair (usually just as a back up) and even had the same ray ban glasses for the past four years!
So naturally when it was time to find a new pair of glasses, I felt like I was wandering through uncharted territory. Once I knew I needed new glasses, I looked online for reviews of but was shocked to find none. I had heard a lot about Warby Parker and had seen Tortoise & Blonde Glasses inside of Urban Outfitters so figured I’d start there.
I went first to Tortoise and Blonde since it was pretty convenient to pop into one of the Urban Outfitters that they are located in. I initially felt like their selection wasn’t as large as I would like but with the aid of the very helpful sales associate I soon changed my mind. One hour later and many frames passed, I had a pair of glasses I was finally ready to commit to. I asked the associate to lay the price on me and was stunned by the quote: $197 for “The Alfredo in Blonde“. The sales associate (probably seeing the shock on my face) quickly offered me a “discount” if I bought TWO pairs that would bring the cost down to about $300 for both. Another hour later I settled on “Abri in gray and yellow” as my second pair. Though thoroughly in love with the two pairs I found it difficult to part with $300 for glasses when I spend most of my time wearing contacts. Under the pressure of the associate, I ended up ordering but then going home and canceling.
After later going on TortoiseandBlonde.com I saw the breakdown of the prices (turns out the frames were actually $137 +$20 for the lenses and another $40 for lifetime warranty which I didn’t ask for). Had I known the price breakdown I probably would have just got one pair for $157 and walked away happy.
After the heftier than expected price tag at Tortoise and Blonde, I decided to give the wildly popular Warby Parker a try. I went to their downtown Soho flagship store and was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people buzzing around. Unlike Tortoise and Blonde with the overbearing sales associate, at Warby Parker the associates more or less gave you the impression they were there to model the eyeglasses and not much else. I spent 30-45 minutes wandering around trying to find a good pair and wishing someone was there to give me a second opinion. Despite trying to engage several employees, none seemed to be game to much more than pointing out where glasses were. Dejected and frame-less, I left the store ready to give up on replacing my four years old frames.
Eventually I decided to give it another go, armed with more knowledge. I went online to Warby Parker and was able to come up with a list of frames I liked in the much less overwhelming format of viewing them all online. A few weeks later, I went back to Warby Parker an hour before they closed. Surprisingly, I had a completely didn’t experience the second time around. After telling the greeter at the door that I had a list of glasses I wanted to see, she directed me to an associate in the back that helped to pull out the glasses on my list. From there he actually stayed with me as I tried on several pairs, gave me his thoughts on he one, and even suggested I use the photo booth (something that no one ever mentioned to me on my first visit!) Less than an hour later, I settled on the “Topper in Crystal“, which came to $95 total.
Overall my number one piece of advice would be to do your research before going to any of these new eye glasses startups. Had I done that before going to Tortoise and Blonde, I would have known the lowest price I could get a pair for and would have walked away with the “The Alfredo in Blonde“. Tortoise and Blonde had more frames that I liked, however a slightly higher price tag. At $97 Warby Parker’s prices absolutely can not be beat, but many of frames seemed similar to me. Though I’m excited to receive and start wearing the “Topper in Crystal“, there were few other frames that I found and liked.
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