8 In Getting Dressed/ Shopping Tips

Over 50? Frame your face with colorful eyewear

Elia, who introduced me to Nancy and cut my hair for years (left) and Ruthie who is taking over the job

Elia, who introduced me to Nancy and cut my hair for years (left) and Ruthie who is taking over the job


I couldn’t wait to stop in and talk to Nancy Billings Revis owner of Uber Optics in Petaluma two Saturdays back. I had to share with her my personal “color” transformation moment plus a client story that involved colored frames. She’s been tutoring me about colorful frames and I think I’m really getting it!


Color, the super hero of eyewear

We’d just gotten through that stretch of over 100 degree days. I’d been wearing my matte black frames with transition lenses for several days in a row. The weather changed and so did my mood. I got up in the morning and decided to switch out my glasses. I reached for my blue L.A. Eyeworks frames, the ones Nancy had insisted I needed last winter.

I pulled them out of their case, cleaned the lenses, slipped them on, took a look in the mirror and went, “Whoa!” I caught myself by surprise! The blue frames were so refreshing. They looked lighter (I felt lighter); they looked fun (I felt fun). Bring on the day! I was ready for it!

An hour later I met up with Erin, my trusty assistant, and we headed over to a client’s home to do some closet work. We’d recently helped her pick out some eyewear in Mill Valley, close to where she lives. I wish I had a photo to show you, but I don’t. See if you can imagine this: The frame is quite delicate like her bone structure and facial features. It has an upsweep at the temples. Although the frame itself is neutral–kind of a greenish, brownish color, similar to her hazel eye color–it has a very thin lining just inside the frame that is a bright shade of blue. When she puts them on, that thin blue line acts like a neon lit sign, flashing: Here I am, open for communication! I’m interesting! Come talk to me!

This closet visit would be the first time I’d seen her wearing the frames since her prescription had been filled.

I was thrilled! They achieved exactly what I wanted them to; they brought attention to her face, made her look animated, refreshed, inviting. They made it easy to appreciate her beauty.


Seeing color for my client

This client is somewhere in her seventies. I can’t retain the number because when she tells me, it doesn’t compute. I had suggested she change her frames when she let her hair go silvery white. Her previous frames were not friendly to her overall coloring. They weren’t adding anything. They were helping her see but the right frames should do so much more than that!

When we were at the optometrist’s office, she was more than a little surprised at the frames I picked out. They were nothing she expected. I knew that would be the case and that’s why I had really wanted to be with her when she shopped for new frames. “Try these on, just for fun,” I said. I knew I was taking her out of her comfort zone but when I took her outside the doctor’s office with a hand mirror so she could look at herself in natural light, she really got it. She may not have understood what made them so great, but she saw the effect and liked it.


Nancy, owner of Uber Optics, and me in blue

Nancy, owner of Uber Optics, and me in blue


My own color freak out

I think this must be one of the biggest surprises to a woman over 50–that wearing a frame with color can be so flattering. I think when we get older and our faces change, we’re shy about bringing attention to them with our glasses. We might think they’ll bring more attention to wrinkles, fine lines, a less full eyelash line or a thinning brow. But this is one of those counterintuitive style tips: The opposite can happen.

I remember vividly standing in Nancy’s studio when she insisted my next frames should have color.

“You need color!” Nancy said.

“I don’t know…,” I said.

Color? Scary! So intentional! So attention-getting!

But she’d caught me at a weak moment. My world was upside down. I heard myself say, “Okay, let’s try it.”

Even when I went to pick them up a week or two later, I was still unsure.

Not any more!


More reasons to choose color

When I shared my blue frame stories with Nancy, she was satisfied. And then she piled on another great tip. Besides helping a woman look younger, revitalized and vibrant, “Adding a frame with color is like putting makeup on without putting on makeup. All you need is lipstick and colored frames,” she said.

Brilliant! And so true! I know first hand that when I put on my blue frames, I’ll add my Bobbi Brown Hot Orange lipstick color and that might be it. Well, I’ll moisturize and fill in my eyebrow line but I might not worry about doing the rest of my makeup routine. Color carries the day!

I want to share more Nancy wisdom with you. I pressed her for more tips for women over 50 who are choosing new eyewear. (Are you 39-years-old? Don’t feel left out. You’ll be able to apply these tips to your situation, too!)

You’ll hear the rest of the conversation in tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned!


Nancy in red frames

Nancy from Uber Optics in Petaluma in red frames


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  • Reply
    September 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    OK, now I’m excited. Yet I’ve been here before. I actually have glasses in turquoise, purple, B&W Cynthia Crowley flower print, cheetah (beige with black spots), cat’s eye with rhinestones, various tortoise shades, sleek Calvin Klein in black, had red once (now gone) and others I may have missed as I mentally access my inventory. These are all smaller frame size yet the prescription is still valid. Once I went to a large frame update I felt I had to abandon all my glasses. I love larger frames now. I will likely hold on to the smaller frames for a possible swing back wave to smaller lens styles that may return in the future.

    I will build a wardrobe of frames in various colors again yet the cost can be a consideration. I had always been clever with buying glasses and added colors at reasonable costs since I have a simple eyesight correction. That may be why I have so many pairs of glasses. I shopped the Optical Underground for last-of-a-style frames and have even converted cool reading glasses or sunglasses to prescription.

    The update larger lens size I have now are a beautiful deep brown tortoise-like pattern that remind me of fancy granite counter tops. The lens are really good quality–something that I’ve noticed I shouldn’t economize on going forward. I’m guilty of economizing in the past to indulge in a few eyeglasses in my collection. What to do now? I want to add a second pair of quality frames and thought about matching my graying hair. That direction seems like it would cover the basics.

    I hear Brenda advocating a jump to embracing a beloved color and deeply respect her guidance. I suppose I’d really like two new pairs of glasses. One fun color and the other sophisticated grey shades with black version that goes with everything. This time around, I seem to have less energy in rebuilding an eyeglass wardrobe. Three pair might be doable. One at a time. My excitement leans to the fun pair. They might be all I need.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      I do believe eyewear brings our energy up and makes us feel refreshed. I like your plan. And maybe going into winter, you’d like a pair that will relate to your hair coloring and yet be exciting! Don’t you just wish you could stretch those smaller frames out a bit? Like blocking a sweater? Thanks for your share!!

      • Reply
        September 23, 2015 at 10:51 pm

        I also wanted to stretch out some of the frames I love yet are now out of style. I have asked about doing that and have been advised it simply is not done. Not even for frameless or half frame styles. Hmm.

        I had an idea for a new product. Since I can’t really indulge in all the gorgeous sunglasses due to a need for corrective lens, I wondered about an alternative. Having prescription sunglasses made can be pricey especially if you’d like more than one pair. Plus sunglasses can be expensive to begin with.

        Why can’t a product be made that is a prescription lens insert that goes inside conventional sunglasses? Designed to be nearly invisible. They would have to be made for each individual correction of course. The insert could be made to discreetly hook on the inside temples of sunglasses and allow for a good fit at the bridge of your nose. They could be almost frameless like those Swedish rubber eyeglass designs from a few years ago. If these inserts worked well, they could be used with most any sunglasses. I think the tinted lens of sunglasses would hide the use of an insert.

        What do you think? Now, if they could only stretch some of my smaller frames to update them.

        • Reply
          September 24, 2015 at 5:28 pm

          AND, go for the design!!! What a great idea!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I do love glasses. Oprah must be trying out some frames. I noticed that she had on two different yet similar tortoiseshell-like frames during the interviews where she is wearing bright yellow. Check it out:


    • Reply
      September 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      I started watching those little clips. Yes, saw the tortoise frames. I think they look scholarly.

  • Reply
    Kathleen Ashcraft
    November 4, 2015 at 11:48 am

    At the tender age of 71, I decided to update my look and get new frames. I’m wearing my glasses more these days (only when I want to see!) I did try on some bold color frames but found them too jarring. So I found a tortoise shell frame with a pale blue backing. I’ve had loads of compliments on them. If my transitional lenses weren’t so costly, I’d opt for another pair in a bolder hue. After all the positive feedback, I’m ready to amp it up!

    • Reply
      November 5, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks for sharing your eyewear success!!! It’s really interesting because this weekend I was at a workshop and the woman who led it (interviewing two experts) was about the same age as you are, and she was wearing what we’ve all heard a few years back, and that’s to wear rimless glasses so you the frames disappear. I kept looking at her trying to imagine how fresh she’d look in frames with color. I think getting that feedback like you said gives us courage! I was so hesitant to go with more color and all I’ve gotten is compliments like you have. Congrats!!! And yes, I bet the next pair will be bolder. It’s just so much fun!

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