My glasses have become an important part of how I project myself, and of what I want people to think of me. They’re not just a fashion statement. Obviously, they’re also rather important to my daily life. Goodness only knows where I’d end up without them. Probably nowhere, slowly.
Every now and again I get a few emails asking me if they’re old or new, and where I bought them. Well, firstly they’re vintage, not new (obviously!), and date from the late 1940s or early 1950s. When I first started wearing this style in 2004, I didn’t choose vintage to be a ‘fancy pants’. I chose them because of the range and variety that vintage frames offer, and also because they were considerably less expensive than modern frames. The first pair were bought from Esther Harris of Vintage Eyewear of New York at the Atlantique City shows I used to visit twice a year when working for Miller’s.
The second, and current, pair were bought from Barbara Blau in Philadelphia for around $45 (£28). I loved visiting Barbara, not just because she has so many brilliant vintage frames at brilliant prices, but because she became a good friend, has a razor-sharp wit, and gave me two great lines, my favourite of which is ‘Opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one‘. I can’t recommend Barbara enough – she’s got a fantastic eye for matching frames to face too. So there you go – that’s my ‘little black book’ name for vintage eyewear.
My current pair have lasted very well for many years, but I’ve been on the look out for some replacements and spares for some time now. Vintage frames have become very fashionable since I bought my first pair and prices have risen – a similar pair might now set me back around £150 here. How I’d love to be able to visit Barbara again! My chance finally came last week when The Banker had to visit Philly for a meeting, and had a spare few hours to pop in and pick some up for me. Taking advantage of the situation, I emailed Barbara to ask her if she had any in stock and if she could also choose a different style for me as a change. After some 8 years of wearing the same specs, I fancy a change on certain days. As well as providing the spares I so needed, she chose the black frames below for me – and I got both for a stunning $70 (£44). I’m delighted.
What do you think?
Barbara Blau’s costume jewellery, collectibles and vintage eyewear stand can be found at Jules Goldman Books & Antiques, 29 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, USA, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: (001) 215-923-3625, or visit her Facebook page here.