Here's a secret about designer glasses: Most aren't painstakingly crafted in studios in Milan or Paris. They're pumped out by a handful of companies that essentially just stamp their logo on them. Then they're shipped to opticians who, in the past, with no competition, were free to charge whatever they wanted for them.
Warby Parker—a website that specializes exclusively in stylish glasses—cuts out the middle man and ships prescription frames directly to consumers at very reasonable prices (every pair is $95). The big news is that its new fall collection has just been unveiled. And autumn is a great time to consider new specs.
Why? First, Warby Parker's new line incorporates seasonal hues, with warm yellows and reds in a variety of classic shapes. The glasses have a vintage sensibility while remaining contemporary, meaning you won't look like you stepped out of a Woody Allen movie from the seventies. Second, it also sells sunglasses. Too many guys wear shades only during the summer months when the hot sun is beating down. The new Paley frames in blue marblewood, however, look great when paired with a leather jacket. You can even order the polarized sunglasses with your prescription—because nothing ruins your look more than bumping into things on the street. Bear in mind that you can order five pairs to try on at home before you buy, at no cost. You can also take advantage of the virtual try-on feature, which allows you to upload a photo of yourself and generate a custom image of how each pair will look on you.
Here's the kicker: For every pair of glasses ordered, Warby Parker will donate a pair of less ostentatious glasses to someone in the developing world. It's pretty much a win-win situation; you get a new look for fall, and someone who can't afford glasses gets a helping hand—so what you get is more than what you see.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.