There was a time when Warby Parker was the sponsor for EVERY podcast I listened to. It got to the point where I could probably recite their whole spiel from memory. I knew all about how you got to pick five frames to try from their website, they mailed them to your house to try on, and you sent back the trial pairs with a copy of your prescription and in week or so you had new, stylish glasses delivered to you, for a fraction of what lenses and frames usually cost. I'd had the same pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers for about five or six years, and I was looking to make a change, and having heard about Warby Parker incessantly for months, I decided to give their services a whirl. I went to their website, ready to pick my five frames and
... There are Warby Parker STORES. Funny how you forgot to mention that in EVERY ad I heard for your business, WARBY PARKER. (If that's even your real name.) Not only are there two Warby Parker outposts in LA, one of them is less than four miles from my house. "Screw this mail malarkey!" I exclaimed to no one but my laptop and my dog. "Let's brick and mortar this mofo!"
My mom was visiting this spring and I dragged her along to The Standard Hollywood to do some spectacle trying-on. She was actually really eager to try on glasses to, and we had fun picking our way through all the frames. No five frame limit for us! We tried on every pair in the place. It wasn't too difficult, as Warby Parker is more about quality than quantity. After a lot of trying, posing, and selfie taking, I settled on two pairs as my top picks: Burke and Nash. I went back and forth and back again. I loved them both so much. But I needed to get an updated eye exam, so I wasn't going to be buying them that day anyway. I took reference selfies and decided to think about it.
And I decided I needed them both. The great thing about Warby Parker glasses is that they're so inexpensive, you CAN buy both. Or more! I have godawful vision. I have astigmatism and my eyes have such varied prescriptions that my sight can only be corrected to 20/40. Because of this, I had to pay an extra fee to get special lenses. I'm used to this, so it wasn't a surprise. The surprising thing was that even with my special lenses, my glasses came out to $125. Total. For the frames AND the lenses. To put that in perspective for you non-glasses-wearers, my Ray-Bans were closer to $300, after insurance. This is not to say all glasses are that expensive. I was looking for specific frames from a specific retailer, but still, stylish glasses do not come cheap.
I wanted to order my glasses in the store instead of online, because I was worried about my insane prescription being rejected or something else going wrong, and it turns out that was a good plan. Not only did a lovely salesperson take some measurements of my face, but she also explained that because my prescription was so wonky, it would be wise to order my glasses one pair at a time, instead of both at once. The process for returning glasses can be a real pain the ass, and she suggested that I get one pair, make sure I love them and that the prescription was working correctly, then order the second pair later. I begrudgingly agreed, and placed an order for the Nash frames, with every intention of buying the Burkes immediately after my glasses hit my doorstep.
Whoops. It's been six months and I still have "Order Burke from Warby Parker" on my to-do list. Even so, I love my Nash frames and wear them every day. I mean, I wear glasses every day no matter what, because I can't see for shit. But I always planned on switching between my Ray-Bans and my Warby Parkers, and that plan was out the window after a few weeks. I still have the ol' Wayfarers, because it's always good to have a backup pair of glasses, but they haven't come out of my dresser drawer in months.
Overall, the entire Warby Parker experience was lovely. Their business model of providing affordable yet stylish glasses (and sunglasses!) is downright genius. Even if you don't live near a retail location, the try-on at home method is good too. (I asked a friend who's done it twice. She lives even closer to the Hollywood store than me. She didn't know it existed.) But if you have astigmatism, two eyes doing completely different things, or any other special eye needs, I'd recommend popping into the store for a consultation with an employee. They're incredibly helpful, and kind to boot.
Warby Parker Glasses: Starting at $95