By Amos Kwon
on 9.13.11
Photo by Renae

For those of us who continue to don eyeglasses, whether for practicality or for fashion, purchasing them has always been a rather painful (and expensive) process. Once you get through the eye exam, you’re faced with choosing a pair of not-so-offensive frames from a veritable wall of them, while not voiding your wallet of every precious cent. Enter Warby Parker, started by a group of four friends who decided that purchasing eyeglasses should be decidedly easier and less-expensive. We decided to give their ordering process and eyewear a thorough going. More photos and a full review after the jump.

Instead of trudging into local optometrist to try on frames, only to feel sheepish asking for multiple pairs of frames while the grumpy attendant looks at you and smirks as you try to pull off your best intellectual look, you can simply request the Home Try-On Kit from Warby Parker by selecting up to five frames from their easy-to-use website. We didn’t get too adventurous with our selection, but we did the full five, ranging from two-tone to basic black. In only a few days, they arrived in a tasteful black box with “Warby Parker” embroidered in gray on the lid. Inside were five carefully wrapped eyeglass frames. With no one watching this time, it was easy to try them all on in the comforts of home. And though making a final selection was not that simple, Warby Parker gives you five days to choose before sending them back using their prepaid label.

Though it’s clear not all frames fit all faces, the selection that came to us certainly felt well-made and were all quite comfortable. The resin frames range in color from clear to tortoiseshell to straight black, and you can choose from the thinner, more debonair look to the downright bookish. Our final selection for the purposes of the review were the Pierce frames in brown, which we found to be a nice blend between sophisticated and scholarly. We mailed the trial frames back and went on to choose the Pierce frames on the website, entering our prescription information and the all-important pupillary distance number, so we wouldn’t end up looking cross-eyed. That’s never stylish.

In less than 10 days, the glasses arrived in a slick gray graphic box and a very expensive looking ivory eyeglass case. Getting new glasses every couple of years always proved to be an arduous task with oftentimes less than stellar results. This seemed almost too simple. It really did come as a surprise that the glasses fit extremely well the very first time, and the anti-reflective lenses were flawless. Cost? A mere $95. That’s peanuts compared to the bank account raid-like average eyeglass purchase. As long as you have your prescription and pupillary distance number, Warby Parker is, in our opinion, the easiest way to acquire a stylish pair of specs. No hassle, no huge expense and a process that took less than two weeks from front to back.

The best part of it all is that Warby Parker goes beyond just selling you some inexpensive and classy eyeglasses by donating funds to nonprofit such as Restoringvision.org. In fact, for every pair you purchase, a pair of glasses will go to someone in need. We can’t think of a better way to spend our money. Warby Parker even provides free shipping and free returns. Atticus Finch you ain’t, but your new specs will at least make you feel just a bit wiser.

Buy Now: $95

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