Movies once had us believe that a nerdy guy or girl could become hot simply by taking off their glasses. Wham! Bam! Who knew right? Eventually, the nerd in time begat the hot-nerd. No longer was it necessary to remove ones specs to be stunning. You could be both.
Comic books meanwhile convinced us that all you have to do to disguise your superhero identity is hide behind a pair of specs. Fake mustache, wig, mask? Nope, not needed. Just look at Superman. He even fooled investigative reporter Lois Lane for decades simply by popping on a pair. Wham Bam! He’s Clark Kent. I’ve long had a crush on Clark (Superman, not so much) and TV personality and writer Dan Levy has always sort of reminded me of him. At least he did when I watched him on MTV banter on about this and that while I sipped Peanut Butter daiquiris (my own personal Kryptonite.) So when I hear he’s hosting a soiree to launch his own eyewear line I jump at the chance to fawn over him again.
Down the cobble stone road of The Distillery District to Spectacle Eyewear we go. The store is bustling with guests. Some wear glasses and some don't. I wonder, which ones are secretly superheroes and which ones are secretly hot? Some chat outside on this warm, almost autumn night, while inside others including Greta Constantine designer Kirk Pickersgill, fashion blogger Anita Clarke and actor Adamo Ruggiero are trying on frames while drinking complimentary beer and wine. Drink in hand I look for a pair to put on my face. The entire west wall of this airy optical shop features pair after pair of Dan’s new line. As I wait to chat, I search for the perfect pair for Clarke, my fictional fiction boyfriend.
“I’ve gone as Clark Kent for Halloween before,” Dan admits as we chat amidst the rubbing shoulders, clinking glasses and prying eyes of others. “But I wanted it to be sexy. I bought an extra small white button down [shirt], unbuttoned all the way to my waist with my Superman shirt underneath. It’s the transition Superman. It had to be, and let's be honest, people get real desperate for sex at Halloween.”
So which one would Clark wear?
“I would say the White Halls which are the frames that I’ve been wearing the most. The thick ones. They’re a contemporary spin on the Clark Kent look.”
I like them thick. The five styles are named after streets in the Toronto neighborhood where Dan grew up. I’ve never heard of single one of them.
“I grew up in Rosedale.”
Of course. Through Spectacle Eyewear all optical styles are available as sunglasses which come in an extended colour choice, and all are unisex. The Whitehall, which Dan recommends for my man Clark are bold, chunky and bit funky. The duo toned McKenzie, my next favourite, is slightly more delicate with its round frame and thick square arm joints. While the Powell is sleeker and lighter with eyebrow like upper framing, the Cluny and the Birch seem a bit more on the feminine side. But hey, if Superman can pull off red underwear in public, Clarke should be able to rock any frame.
“We’re expanding. So the bigger the line gets the more city streets will be named.”
The Jane and Finch?
“Maybe the Jane glass, yes,” Levy laughs. “The Parliament glass will have some hood to it.”
Maybe one for the gay village? The Church. I picture bright pink translucent frames with squishy rubber ends to hug your ears tight. It would sell out for sure, much like many of the lines in the real DL Eyewear line, which have only been in select stores and online for less than three months. Could this, like those kooky Kardashian's or those odd Olsen twins, be the start of the Dan Levy marketing empire?
“At the end of the day the only reason I did this is because I know about it. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was nine. I’m not one to put my name on something I don’t believe in and I certainly don’t want to be associated with brands that happen to come from people who have been on TV. Ultimately it was a selfish reason. Glasses can be very costly. I wanted to create frames that were fashionable but didn’t necessary cost you a months rent.”
$95? Pretty good.
“People are starting to realize that glasses are an accessory. No longer are the considered nerdy.”
Unless you’re a hot nerd. Like Dan.
“They are now a part of peoples wardrobe. We want people to be able to match them to their outfits, which is part of the reason we made the price point so low. We want people to play around with them. To own more than one.”
I like at least two.
“People should customize what they’re wearing on their face with what they're wearing on their body. This was the antithesis of this collection.”
Like shoes? Is Dan’s obsession with glasses as bad as fictional character Carrie Bradshaw in Sex And The City?
“I have about 40 pairs of glasses. I thought if I’m going to spending my money on something I wear every single day, I might as well spend them on glasses.”
I decide on a pair but hold off on a second, until the collection expands. I usually don’t care about size, but most of the current frames feel just a bit too small. I need something bigger on my face. Clark Kent might agree.