5 ways my style changed when I stopped wearing the thing that made up my style ID

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What happens when a glasses-lover switches out her frames? Writer Christobel Hastings puts her style to the test to find out…

Once upon a time, glasses-wearing women were written off as nerdy, stern or downright uncool. 

These days our eyewear allows us to embrace our personalities, and reinvent ourselves, and as a lifelong glasses-lover I couldn’t be happier that plastic is finally fantastic.

For the last four years, I’ve been faithful to a signature pair of large, royal blue specs. 

They’ve fused to my personality, and become part of my trademark as a journalist too: big hair, bigger specs, all-round geek chic.

Having said that, I’ve always been curious about what would happen to my style (and identity) if I switched out of them, so I decided to break free from my frames and enter into a committed partnership with Acuvue contact lenses for a week to see what effect it would have. 

Here are five ways my style changed when I ditched my glasses…

1. I lightened up

One of the upsides of wearing statement glasses is that they double as my best fashion accessory, without having to worry about colour, cut or coordination. 

The downside? I can get super complacent with my style.

Now without my go-to accessory, I plunder the depths of my wardrobe and discover some pretty cute clothes that have lain overlooked since the last new season Zara drop. I even trade my all-black uniform for a few splashes of colour, too. 

There’s no chance of my specs clashing with my outfit either – and just in case I need a second opinion, I can send a selfie to my friend without the dreaded glasses lens glare. I find myself halfway strutting because it felt like I’d just invested in a whole new wardrobe, when in fact I’d just experimented more with what I already had. 

2. I got catty

Make-up is always tricky when all I see is a blurry version of my face in the mirror, but now contact lenses have come into my life, the chaos of morning application has disappeared.

Since I no longer have to sit nose-to-nose with the mirror or fumble about for my make-up brushes, I’m fully embracing my Urban Decay makeup palette: shadow, highlighter, the works. 

My cat-eye is completely on point too, now that I can actually see my reflection. 

As for mascara? I can go to town with my lengthening wand, as there’s no danger of my lashes skidding my lenses with every blink. And I suddenly feel extra confident holding eye contact because of it. 

4. I started to experiment

Before I switched to contacts, my geek-chic glasses defined my signature look. But since my world is no longer framed by two glass windows, I can take my style game to the next level.

There’s no limitations on my shopping options now, or worries about buying clothes that clash with my specs, so I can procrastinate to my heart’s content by browsing the ASOS style feed (and making the odd purchase too). How else does a girl spend her lunch break?

From flowing prairie dresses (unheard of from someone who lives in their black jeans), to leopard print pieces and a fleeting relationship with a patent mac in a Topshop changing room, nothing’s off-limits now and I find myself feeling way more creative and confident in my shopping choices. 

3. I went big

Looking at my reflection in the mirror, I realise that the last time I was sans frames, I was a fresher thinking ‘Sex on Fire’ was the height of cool. 

The sight of my bare face is a little disconcerting at first, but it’s not just my look that’s been transformed – my perspective feels different, too. I feel bolder and braver. With my girl power playlist on blast, I reach for my can of Elnett, and backcomb until I’ve got a bouffant big enough to face the world. 

5. I found a new level of style confidence

Every glasses-wearing woman will have been compared to at least one of the following stereotypes in their time: nerdy geek, sexy librarian, or stern schoolmistress.

That’s because when you’re of the optical-framed persuasion, glasses become your identity.

Any random celebrity who’s donned a pair of specs in the name of fashion suddenly becomes your twin.

Helena Bonham Carter? Check. Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous? Check. Hermione Granger? All the way.

Now that I’ve freed my face, I’m no longer beholden to people’s perceptions about glasses-wearing women. Sure, my hair might still be wild, but at least now my personality can shine through.

From preppy to hipster, bohemian to high-fashion, my lens-free face has opened up a world of sartorial possibilities, that I can try on any day of the week at whim. I’m still all about practicality though, and utility shirts, cropped jeans and sneakers still feature highly in my day-to-day uniform.

But I’m more confident about trading my slouchy sweatshirt for a tailored blazer, and stepping out of my kicks into a pair of ankle boots when I want to channel a little Parisian poise. And if I’m really feeling myself, my wide-brimmed fedora helps me walk a little taller too. I’m not retiring my specs forever, but it’s good to know I can mix things up as and when I feel like it. 

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* Professional consultation and fitting fees may apply and are not included. For T&Cs, visit 18+. Only one trial per person. Acuvue®, Acuvue Oasys® and HydraLuxe™ Technology are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd. © Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd 2018