Guest Editor – Teo van den Broeke

Guest Editor – Teo van den Broeke

Each month for the next 4 months, we have four guest editors writing for David Clulow about their experience of wearing glasses and the influence they have on their style and individuality. Here, Teo van den Broeke, the Senior Style Editor at Esquire, talks about his experience of wearing spectacles.

When I was eleven years old I was taken for my first eye test at my local opticians in Cobham, a sleepy village in Surrey. So desperate was I for my first pair of specs – at that age anything that made me look older than my doughy pre-pubescent self was something to be coveted – that I tried to trick the optometrist into believing that my sight was poor.
The top line of the Snellen chart set before me showed an oversized letter ‘R’. I squinted, ummed and ahhed and finally settled on ‘T’. It got worse as I made my way down the chart. Ps became Zs, while Gs magically transformed into Ks, regardless of the latter’s lack of curves.
Needless to say, the optometrist was on to me. I came away from the hot seat red-faced, glasses-free and determined never to set foot in an optician ever again.
That all changed on my most recent visit to the opticians, some 16 years later. A few soul-charring hangovers aside, my eyesight hadn’t given me any cause for concern since my visit years before, and I’d grown proud of my 20/20 vision, smugly dropping the achievement into conversation during particularly dry evenings at the pub.
My rather glamorous optometrist at David Clulow on Wigmore Street in Central London was nothing like the smugly smirking doctor who’d tested my eyes all those years before. Consequently, this time, I decided to be honest about the quality of my sight, not wanting to replicate the shame of my youth. I squinted and strained, determined not to miss a letter, but this test wasn’t like the one I took back in 1998. This test took a 3D photograph of the interior of my eye and measured, magically, the quality of my long and short vision – the Snellen chart element (to a layman, at least) seemed more of a formality than an essential part of the process.
There was no escaping the inevitable result.
A decade and a half on, I was finally granted my wish. My face was to be clad with my first pair of glasses (a low prescription, yes, but specs all the same).
Thing is, I’d grown quite used to my face, sans spectacles. I liked the fact that my caterpillar-esque eyebrows had come to provide all the definition my face needed (anymore and I was worried I’d look like the dad from American Pie). I also liked the fact that I didn’t need to spend gargantuan sums every month on all the frames I’d inevitably snap in my back pocket.
In the end I went for two pairs (one for evening and one for daytime) both in navy – my spirit colour.
The first – a pair of super light, oval specs from Giorgio Armani, for evening. Designed to complement his soft, slouchy approach to tailoring (a look I’ve always tried to emulate), Armani’s glasses seemed an obvious choice. Plus, the just-softer-than-navy shade worked well with my eyes – or so said my mum.
The second pair was a more aviator-esque shape from Persol – great for making a day at the office seem somehow more fun.
What’s more, people now really seem to inspect my face. Not only that, they follow their inspections up with compliments (on the whole, at least). Where before I would blend into a generally spectacle-free crowd, now my face feels somehow more debonair, more…grown up, for the addition of my new specs.
Which makes me think; perhaps my 11-year-old self wasn’t so daft, after all.

Product chosen by Teo: Persol PO9649 col. 1015