While this article was originally published in February of 2015, it still remains relevant today in December 2019. If you are a college student looking for the most affordable eyeglasses that are also fashionable, read the original article below.
When it comes to prescription eyeglasses, style is a major factor in determining which pair is right for you. Having worn glasses since I was in preschool, I’ve had my fair share of eyeglass fashion faux-pas, as well as a few successful trendy and classic pairs.
Now a college student, I’ve certainly noticed a trend among my peers in choosing the right pair of prescription glasses. College students are now not only considering a frame’s style, but are also taking into consideration convenience, brand association, and the social impact involved with purchasing new glasses. Warby Parker, arguably the most popular frame retailer for us Millennials, offers a new kind of convenience not formally associated with finding a great pair of glasses: online ordering.
Warby Parker seemingly reinvented the eyeglasses market by moving the majority of their business online with their Home Try On service. While a few stores across the US sell Warby Parker frames, the bulk of Warby Parker business undoubtedly comes from their online store. Customers shop for new frames by selecting five different pairs of glasses they like in the store and add them to their shopping cart. From here, a deposit is put down (so that you can’t run away with five new frames without a financial consequence) and the lenses are shipped to your doorstep. Home Try On usually lasts for about a week, during which you’re able to try on your glasses as many times as you want without having to make any last minute decisions that you might in store. Finally, once you’ve chosen a perfect pair, you send back all five frames and a send your order and prescription either back in the box or online.
The glasses themselves come in are funky, edgy, retro, classic and trendy styles, often in an assortment of colors, such as cobalt blue, yellow, tortoise, black, brown, and clear plastics. Because almost all styles are made from plastic, this allows WP to provide a very competitive price tag for most styles and prescriptions: $95.
Also fashionable among Warby Parker customers is the social aspect involved in WP Buy a Pair, Give a Pair campaign. This campaign, sort’ve like TOMS’ One for One project, promises to support an underserved community by outsourcing glasses through various charities. I’ve included WP’s summary of the campaign below:
I personally don’t own a pair of Warby Parkers, but not because I don’t want to. I love the funky, new edge of Warby Parker designs, but because my prescription is so high, I opt for a more personalized set of lenses.
The last couple of pairs I’ve purchased have been from LensCrafters, which carries brands such as Coach, Oakley, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, and Vogue, among others. I’ve purchased and gotten my wear out of a two different Burberry frames, which are my go-to brand for a mix classic/trendy + elegant/fun styles. LensCrafters does tend to cost more per pair in terms of frames and lenses though, which is certainly a downside. However, I do feel as if my glasses from LC would outlast a pair of WP’s because they are metal and have a higher quality lense in terms of durability, sharper image, and glare-resistant view.
It’s also worth noting that LensCrafters often has an in-house optometrist and accepts insurance plans, like VSP, for both eye exams, and in some cases, for glasses purchases. LensCrafters also has regular discounts and special offers, like the one shown in the screen grab above. Another benefit to buying from a LensCrafters is that you don’t have to worry with limiting yourself to five options. You’re welcome to try on as many pairs as you like in store.
All in all, the most fashionable glasses for college students these days are certainly Warby Parker’s, but if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place because the style you love is out of stock, or your prescription is either too weak or too strong to make purchasing a WP pair a worthwhile investment, LensCrafters is a great alternative. While LC certainly markets their products to an older crowd, there is no shortage of fashionable or stylish glasses available at most LensCrafters locations.