The Tale of Warby Parker

This blog post will be showcasing cool new eyewear from Warby Parker.
This post is a bit different in that I was specifically asked if I would write something.
I do my homework on anything I plug and value transparency, so I’m being upfront that this post is a bit different. I’m not being paid or given anything for this beyond a promise to share my blog. So, exposure.

What is Warby Parker?

In simple terms, they are a cheaper, socially conscious alternative to the traditional route of buying glasses. They offer designer eyewear in a range of styles starting around $95. I’ve only ever purchased one pair of glasses in my life, and it cost me upwards of $200 with vision insurance. So, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me, based on my one prescription eyewear purchase. How are they able to cut the cost? According to their website:

“Most high-end brands do not produce their own eyewear. Instead, they sell those rights to massive companies who design, manufacture, and sell branded glasses directly to optical shops. Those optical shops tack on additional mark-ups to frames and lenses before selling them to you. We cut out the middleman by designing and producing our own eyewear, then passing on the savings to customers. We effectively sell glasses wholesale (because it makes no sense for customers to pay for multiple mark-ups).”

The trade off of this that I want to point out, so that you can make informed choices in your purchases, is that the “middle man” is other peoples’ jobs. If you’re seeing an eye doctor from a local business in your community, not buying your glasses from said local business might be cutting into their ability to stay open. If you’re seeing an eye doctor that isn’t connected to their own shop or is located in a big box store, just get your script and buy from these guys.

That said, you’re already reading this online, so chances are you already do oddles of shopping online, sending money outside your local community. I do too. I’m not placing any value judgement or saying one option is better than the other, I just try to lay everything on the table. There are also other options for buying glasses online (which also hurt the local shop), that aren’t as committed to sustainability or fair labor practice or working to connect developing communities around the world with better vision.

They also have a freaking monocle! That’s admittedly kind of awesome…

The Goods

Warby Parker introduced 10 new frame styles for their Winter 2016 collection. I’m going to showcase some of my favorites, but you can see the rest of this collection and all they have to offer HERE

  • Daisy
    These are my favorite. If I ever need to replace my current glasses or decide to get new ones just for a change in style, I’d go with these. They’re like a sleeker, sexier version of the classic nerd look. I like it.
  • Morris
    I don’t really have much of anything of substance to say about these. Another take on the classic nerd look. Mostly I just think this model is hot. And I honestly think the glasses are adding to that appeal – I’m trying to picture him without the glasses and it doesn’t seem the same. So, if you’re a dude with this face shape and want to increase the likelihood that I or someone with my taste would think you’re attractive, maybe go with these ones.

Hey girl, I think we should study together.

  • Goodney
    Cat Eyes! Meow! Updated take on an old school style. Can’t go wrong.
  • Welty
    Alright, clearly I have a thing for the classic nerd look. Here’s something a bit more fun.

Concerts, Nerds, Sub-Culture, and Shirts

Warning: This post may contain tangents, rambling, and streams of consciousness. Maybe unconsciousness. It also has puppy sized elephants.

Yesterday I went to Chicago. I traveled in a car with 2 other people to see Driftless Pony Club and Hank Green in concert (Andrew Huang, Rob Scallon, and Harry and the Potters were also on the ticket, and were great). Previous post about Hank Green: Here. I also brought Morrígan and Mitsuko (I would put links to other posts about them, but, just read the last handful of posts I’ve written. Because it’s been a thing.) Yes, I brought my dolls with me to a concert. Because I’m a grown woman and that’s how I roll.

Look! Here they are riding a puppy sized elephant on the way to the show! (Puppy sized elephant belongs to my friend Sierra’s cousin Logan who rode in the back seat. Thank you, Wolverine, for graciously letting me hijack your puppy sized elephant.):

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Driving through Chicago was a nightmare. Parking was a nightmare. And it didn’t help that the venue was more or less across the street from Wrigley Field. On a game day. I really wish I had taken a picture of all us nerds standing in line for the concert while legions of cubbie fans walked the sidewalk opposite us, as we all looked at each other from across the road and thought, “Ha! Losers!”   No? Ok.

Two super cool ladies we met while standing in line. Note the clothing with the DFTBA slogans and Nerdfighter insignias.

Two super cool ladies we met while standing in line. Note the clothing with the DFTBA slogans and Nerdfighter insignias.

But… it really got me to thinking about our different little sub-cultures and niches and uniforms. I mean, while my friends and I were driving around trying to just locate the venue in the first place, it was the people wearing Pizza John tshirts that tipped us off that we were in the right place. Something as simple as a tshirt let us know that we had found our people.  Our People. That is such an interesting concept. I mean, we never really belong exclusively to one subset of people – we are also students, parents, punk rockers, hip-hoppers, nature lovers, and introverts. And even within our subset of nerds, we are varied and overlapped with different subsets -Whovians, Trekkies, Gamers, Book-lovers, etc. But in this space, we unify together as people who identify as nerdfighters. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Sierra, myself, and Logan.

Sierra, myself, and Logan.

The concert itself was absolutely amazing. I tried to take some photos, but, they just didn’t come out very well. And the zoom function decided to stop working on my camera. I did get a little frustrated, though, when the venue staff made me put my purse in coat check (which charges $3 with an additional $2 to recheck it -cash- when I needed to get something out of it mid show). Other purses were allowed through. But, because my little black backpack purse is shaped like a mini-backpack, it doesn’t constitute a purse in their eyes. (Urge to rant and go on about prototype theory – I won’t)

Arguably the most awesome event of the evening was getting to have an actual conversation with Craig Benzine – Frontman for Driftless Pony Club and Youtuber, Wheezy Waiter. It was the coolest thing. I was standing at the bar getting a soda, and just happened to see Craig standing at the back of the crowd of people watching the show. Just blending in amongst the mortals, chilling, watching the show. I decided to say hi – trying very hard to not be all fan-girl squee. He stood and talked to my friends and I for a few minutes and let us take a photo. He is one very cool, very laid back individual. He told us he was nervous about his band’s upcoming set, because they were starting with a song no one had heard. Craig, I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but, you and the rest of Driftless Pony Club were just brilliant. And you guys need to come back to Champaign-Urbana. 🙂

Myself, Craig Benzine, Sierra.

Some other concert photos that didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped:

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After the show, out large crowd of people swarmed the merch area to buy stuff and meet the artists. The security staff, because of the sheer number of fans, rushed us along – which makes the earlier encounter with Craig even more amazing. Sierra was able to get her photo with Andrew Huang (who she had come to see, specifically), and then we all lined up outside to meet and have our pictures taken with Hank Green.

Standing in line, waiting to meet one of my heroes, was a nerve-racking experience. I mean, there is already that uncertainty – what do I say? do I look ok? am I going to come off awkwardly? – but the time you spend in line waiting just builds that anticipation. I could feel my heart beating in my throat and I could have sworn it was beating so loud that everyone else could hear it. And then, because I still had my dolls in my backpack, and because I don’t know how to leave well enough alone, I pulled my Lammily doll out and spent my time in line debating whether or not to include the doll in my photo with Hank. One person near us had a stuffed hanklerfish, and Logan had her puppy sized elephant – but those things tie into the nerdfighter and vlogbrothers universe. My doll doesn’t really mesh…  and I felt very self-conscious and weird and out of place. But the nerdfighters in line around me encouraged me and told me to go for it. And Logan, this 14 year old girl that I had only met that afternoon on the ride over, reminded me of something important. She reminded me that being overly excited about something, even when others around us aren’t, is ok. We are Doctor Who nerds, comic book nerds, gamer nerds, and book nerds. I just happen to be a doll nerd.

So, I went for it. I did it. I was still self conscious, and none of my words came out right, and I looked like a creepy fangirl zombie, but I did it. And he rolled with it. I wanted to tell him about her, about how she helps to decrease world suck, because she has realistic human proportions, because she can give kids a healthy representation and help girls with body image issues. But all I managed to get out was “Have you seen these dolls? She has actual human proportions!”  And no, he has not seen her or heard of her before. And now he has.

Sierra doesn't know how to work my camera, totally snapped this before we were ready. He *did* smile, and laugh, I assure you, lol!

Sierra doesn’t know how to work my camera, totally snapped this before we were ready. He *did* smile, and laugh, I assure you, lol!

And now other photos that I didn’t know where else to put:

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And, as a parting gift, a prolific Wheezy Waiter video:

Emulation: Introduction

Last night, I was watching one of my favorite movies, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. I always loved the Indiana Jones movies as a child.. indeed, Indy was a role model of sorts for me during my formative years, and is still very much a personal hero. (How else do you think I got interested in Anthropology? LOL)

My Hero, Indiana Jones

Anyhow, as I was watching Indy travel through the jungle and narrowly escape being crushed to death, I couldn’t help but think to myself: I want his outfit. This is not the first time I have thought this to myself..  in fact a few years back I spent hours looking into just where his outfit came from. What company made his jacket? Where can you get an authentic looking hat? What dye combination is needed to make a white button up shirt look that dingy tan/grey color?

Then my mind springboarded from that and I started asking myself why I wanted to dress like him.. Or why, for that matter, does anyone want to emulate someone or something else? We see it all the time in advertisements.. we use big name celebrities to market this product or that because we know that the fans will buy said product in order to emulate their hero. Indeed, the only time I have ever spent over $100 on a pair of shoes was for just such a reason – I bought a pair of Nike Shox because I was obsessed with House, and those are the shoes he wears. (They were actually very good shoes, and while my motivation for purchasing them may have been misguided, I don’t entirely regret the purchase.)

If you follow Japanese fashion (or even just contemporary Japanese culture) at all, you might be familiar with Cosplay: generally, dressing up as a character from an anime or manga. Perhaps you’ve even heard of furries – anthropomorphic animal cartoons/ a person incorporating an animal into his/her cosplay attire?  I’m willing to bet money, if you know what I’m talking about, this is all pretty normal to you.. you may even be a LARPer. If not, you’re going to learn all about it in upcoming blogs (Come to the Nerd Side!). You may even be shocked to learn (if you’re not already aware) that this strange practice is centuries old. Yes.. people have been dressing up as animals for hundreds of years. Yes, I’m talking about animism and shamans here folks – hard core anthropology fodder.  And it is with the shamans that I will begin my investigation into the significance of emulation in fashion and culture next week.