For a long time, I thought hipster glasses would die a welcome natural death soon after it became obvious to everyone how hideous they are. Time has proven me wrong. So consider this an intervention. Behold: five reasons to feed those things a suicide pill already.
1. Did The 1970s Teach You Nothing about Eyewear?
When I first started to see people wear these glasses, I was confused, because it looked like those pictures of my grandpa and uncles from the 1970s that I had always thought were hideous when paging through family photos. Those and the short man shorts of the 1980s (nobody wants to see that much of her dad’s legs) rate among the worst fashion fads of the past century. You know, glasses like these on the old guys below:
Or if these rad Matt Damon glasses had a black frame:
When you look like you’re imitating these people, you know you’re not fashionable. So stop doing it.
2. You’re Trying Way Too Hard and Everyone Knows It
Hipster glasses are especially rampant among the TV news set. My colleague Mollie Hemingway tells me cable news channels ration out the hipster glasses and won’t let too many people wear them because they’re part of particular personalities’ “brands.” That’s not fakey fake or anything.
My hunch is that young hipster-glasses-wearers are trying to look older and smarter so people listen to them. Hipster glasses are exactly the wrong way to do this. Visually screaming “please take me seriously” makes me trust you less, not more, because it implies you have something to compensate for.
Old people who go with hipster glasses seem to be relying on them to youthify their appearance. Take Rick Perry’s attempt to use them to generate interest for his second presidential bid and maintain relevance beyond. It’s a goofy cheap trick, and everyone knows it.
Old people looking at him wondered what the heck was on his face, and young people looking at him knew he was posing to try to get their attention. That smacks of a lack of authenticity that young people hate. Just be yourself, dude. We know you’re old. Rock it like Pierce Brosnan and Harrison Ford. Don’t try to pretend it ain’t real.
Just like almost everyone wearing these caterpillar goggles, Perry is good-looking. So are CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield and Carol Costello. But you can hardly tell with these things on, because the glasses form a protective coating for their faces that obscures everything behind them.
Poor Costello’s make her look like she’s so scared to be on TV she had to wear these glasses as a sort of protective shield to help her feel more comfortable. Hey, I get it. Doing TV is intimidating. But the way to beat the intimidation is to stare straight back at it, no-glasses-barred. Like HLN’s Robin Meade. She tried the ugly glasses, and decided to go back to her lovely naked face. (If you can call it naked when it’s wearing ten pounds of TV stage makeup.)
3. If You Look Like a Youth Pastor, You’re Doing It Wrong
Youth pastors are perhaps the ultimate in trying so hard it’s painful. Their caricature (which is hardly caricature at this point because it’s so often straight-up reality) is of someone worried more about being relevant and likable than delivering truth. Sort of like a spoonful of sugar with no medicine. Case in point: Tony Jones, who as a leader of the millennial-heavy Emergent Church movement is basically a youth pastor.
That’s his latest take on the hipster glasses. Just two years ago, he had the full hipster-rims. Both of them are just as hideous looking, and both of them are self-caricature.
When old people are doing it to look young and hip, you know the trend is over, similar to how all the young people have left Facebook for fresher pastures because middle-aged people took over. So please. Get the memo, people. Hipster glasses are now poser self-parody. Wear something else.
4. Hipster Glasses Are Ugly
Eye glasses so big they uglify their wearers are by now so common they’re a movie cliché. The “She’s All That” incarnation has been pilloried and parodied many times.
I think the “Princess Diaries” makeover is cuter, probably because Anne Hathaway is cuter.
Either way, the point is that giant glasses are one of the easiest one-way tickets to ugly town. They obscure a person’s face, and with the modern-day version of the death mask to boot. They’re not even attractive in themselves. They’re just giant, modern, black plastic face grids. It’s like Picasso tattooed your face.
These glasses draw attention to themselves and away from the person wearing them. Maybe you feel so visually or personally inferior and lacking in fashion ideas that enhance rather than obscure your natural features so you need to deflect attention by sticking a meaningless, garish modern sculpture on your face, but at least let’s be honest that that’s what you’re doing.
5. These Glasses Aren’t Ironic; They’re a Cheap Trick
Hipsters like to fancy their apparel choices are ironic. It’s like their penchant for drinking PBR. They don’t do it because the macramé business card market stinks and they can’t earn enough to buy better beer, nooo—they drink that stuff to make fun of the plebs who drink it because they like it. So, too, they wear ugly glasses to make fun of all the other people who wear ugly things unironically.
Snark aside, I can see some validity in wanting to throw up at our oversexed pretty porn culture. So many TV personalities are basically Barbie, so it probably feels good to rebel a little and be a TV anchor or talking head who revels in ugliness instead. I also completely sympathize with wanting people to pay attention to your face and not your chest. Maybe hipster glasses are a huge “My face is up HERE” symbol.
That would be a lot more legit if so many hipster-glasses-wearing babes weren’t also simultaneously showing off their cleavage, naked shoulders, and thighs on-camera. That’s just an exercise in refusing to recognize tradeoffs: Sometimes, you really can’t have it all. If the boobs are out, someone’s going to ogle them. Showing them equals extending an invitation whether you like that reality or not. So if you want them to be thinking about what you’re saying and not your private parts, don’t show the latter.
If you really want people to take you seriously, of course, you don’t need to wear a burlap sack or don hideous, face-obscuring glasses. Learning to be elegant but not sexy is much harder than just stripping off clothes until you look one thread short of a prostitute. No, seriously, that’s what the New York Times recently reported college girls are going for: “to be just slutty enough, where you’re not a prude but you’re not a whore.”
Anyone can take her clothes off, and anyone can plunk hipster glasses in front of her face. That’s so easy it’s common. Learning to display your personal beauty tastefully may take many years of experimenting and failure. But that makes ultimately achieving it all the more satisfying, and worth pursuing and praising.