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The Psychology of Glasses

Although glasses are a necessity for those of us who have vision problems, they can also be a sartorial statement too, to match with outfits or create a particular look. Yet eyeglasses can also become part of a person’s persona – think Velma from Scooby Doo and her thick black frames. Her look has become synonymous with a brand of geek chic which people the world over emulated. But do we make particular judgements about people’s qualities, interests or personality because of the frames they’re wearing? It seems so…

Of course, people usually assume that glasses make people look more intelligent but according to research by Brown (2011), glasses wearers are also perceived to be more honest, sophisticated, industrious and dependable! But when it comes to looking trustworthy, the eyes are also an important indicator, as some research at the University of California found, by watching people’s eye movements, it is possible to predict whether they may be being un-truthful. Interestingly, the study found that not only would people move their eyes around more if they are lying but that they may also be more likely to stare than those who were being truthful.

Jazz front

This may be why Retropeepers' iconic 'Jazz' half moon glasses are selling so well; they give you an incredibly stylish look, while leaving the eyes on show to gain trust and project sincerity. They are not only so stylish, but they look so vintage that they would be a fabulous prop for anybody hoping to cultivate that look.

Brown, who conducted the research discussed above, was particularly interested in what impact glasses had on whether jurors would be more likely to give a verdict of innocence to those wearing glasses when accused in court. His findings were fascinating: people wearing eyeglasses were seen as being more intelligent, so when it came to crime such as fraud, money laundering or theft, the harsher the jury verdict was, as they saw it as more cunning and premeditated. Overall though, eyeglass wearers were more likely to be seen as innocent of the crimes they were accused of!

The likelihood is, thankfully, that the majority of us will never find ourselves in court. But the kind of glasses people wear can be seen as an indication of social class; people who wear glasses were seen as representing a higher social class as those who didn’t (Gueguen, 2015), perhaps because they are seen to be more intelligent? Even the rim of glasses can influence people’s perceptions. In a study in 2011, psychologist Helmut Leder and his colleagues (2011) found that people who wear rimless glasses are less memorable and can merge into the background easier.

Poppy Crystal

Not everyone is an extravert and wants to stand out, so our clear frames such as the William Morris Gallery Round Glasses in Poppy Crystal will also do the trick. This way, you can let your outfit and facial features do the talking. Rimless glasses also made people seem more trustworthy, according to the raters, so they would be great for that job interview.

There is also research to suggest however that those of us who like to make a statement with their specs may still be subject to particular judgements from others, as Casidy (2012) found. Apparently, people who take more care with their fashion choices and who cultivate a particular style are seen to be more conscientious, sociable and extraverted, they “use fashion as a means to reflect their actual/ideal self-concept” (p.297).

Groucho Green

If this sounds like you, the incredible Anglo American Optical Groucho Round Glasses might be the one for you. They really are a style statement and come in a large range of colours to match with your outfits.

Whatever look you’re going for, we have you covered at Retropeepers. Who knew that a pair of spectacles could mean so much?

Brown, M. J., Henriquez, E., Groscup, J. (2008) ‘The effects of eyeglasses and race on juror decisions involving a violent crime.’ American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 26(2), pp.25-43.
Casidy, R. (2012) ‘Discovering consumer personality clusters in prestige sensitivity and fashion consciousness context.’ Journal Of International Consumer Marketing, 24(4), pp.291-299.
Guéguen, N. (2015) ‘Effect of wearing eyeglasses on judgment of socioprofessional group membership.’ Social Behaviour And Personality, 43(4), pp.661-666.
Leder, H., Forster, M., Gerger, G. (2011) ‘The glasses stereotype revisited: Effects of eyeglasses on perception, recognition, and impression of faces.’ Swiss Journal Of Psychology, 70(4), pp.211-222.
Photo credit Tony Smith Photography. The model is Miss Velvet Fox.

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