Admittedly, I’m still a total newb when it comes to glasses and the world of imperfect vision. I was 18 when it dawned on me that I wasn’t seeing things quite clearly anymore and a visit to the eye doctor told me that I had astigmatism and that my 20/20 vision was gone, along with my youth (bit dramatic, but true). In the six years since, I’ve sported a few different specs, all of which fall under the dark, horn-rimmed frame umbrella. While I loved my Ray-Ban 5298s with their slight cat-eye shape, it was time for a different shape, new frame colour, and some larger lenses. Enter: Bailey Nelson, an Aussie-based brand I’ve been obsessing over for the past year.
I first heard of Bailey Nelson in one of Lily Pebbles’ vlogs where she documents herself picking up her new frames. While I liked the glasses themselves, I was totally sold by the super low price of £98 frames and lenses with anti-glare and anti-scratch properties, prompting me to head right over to the website and obsess over the selection. Oh, and the pair she bought came with clip-on dark lenses at an additional £30, so now you have a chic pair of regular glasses AND sunglasses. GENIUS.
I finally made an appointment for an eye exam at BN in Covent Garden and discovered that my vision had changed and my new prescription would be stronger than the last. I then went upstairs to pick out my frames and found myself a bit overwhelmed by the selection. The sales associate was really good in that she listened to what I was looking for (round, light frames with the biggest lens possible) and provided me with all the right options. I had about three contenders in my hand when she handed me the Harrisons and it was love at first sight (lol). Not only did they tick all my boxes, but they were literally what I had pictured in my mind. I was slightly scared to try them on and be disappointed because as someone with a round face, round glasses are literally the opposite of what I should be wearing.
To my happy surprise, they were better than I thought they would be and in my state of elation, I agreed to adding the anti-reflective coating that helps your eyes against computer screens. Now, I LOVE my glasses. They’re really lightweight, beautiful, flattering, chic and my peripheral range of sight is way better now that the lenses are so big, but I cannot stand the AR coating. It gives everything a strange yellow-greenish tint and I’m assuming it’s also the reason that every screen and light around me is intensely reflected in my lenses so that if I’m speaking to someone or on camera, all you see are reflections where there should be eyeballs, uneven cat-eye flicks and layers of mascara. This is particularly annoying when I’m trying to take a photo or FaceTime someone, but I guess I just have to keep working with that. I haven’t fully adjusted to these new glasses because a) my prescription changed b) larger lenses means my eyes have to learn how to focus on a greater scale, and c) the AR coating is really throwing me off. I do find myself removing them a lot because my vision isn’t terrible, like, I can see without glasses but I can’t really focus. Sometimes I’ll be in class and something about the AR or new prescription gets to me and I have to tear them off my face. This is usually the case with new glasses for me though, so I should be better in another month or so. I’ve also been told I can come in and fix them in any way at any time.
That said, I’ve had these glasses for a month now and I really love them. I did primarily buy them for their appearance and while I love how chic they are, they are also simultaneously minimal and bold, so others seem to really like them as well. I receive a lot of compliments from friends and strangers, which is definitely nice after I was initially a bit hesitant to try such a different style. As I’m writing this, I’m fairly certain Bailey Nelson has rebranded itself into Ollie Quinn, a very similar optical provider from the research I’ve done so far, but I’m not totally sure. I received a coupon for 40% off at Ollie Quinn, so I’m going to look into buying another pair of regular eyeglasses or sunglasses and will update on my experience/the BN evolution. I really like these companies that provide more unique frames at affordable prices because I think glasses are having quite the moment and people are actually excited to wear them, plus that gives me more options for something that I literally wear every day.