Pair Eyewear Needs an S: It’s All About Multiple Pairs

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A selection of top frames and a base frame from Pair Eyewear
A wide range of colors from Pair Eyewear, and you can choose them all! Image: Pair Eyewear.

The PR rep who sent me the info about the Rocketbook Color Notebook this summer has been paying attention. That article was all about my compulsive-artist daughter. But I’ve since written about how my daughter’s artistic flair takes a definite bend toward fashion, and I’d previously written about her desires to see glasses respected as fashionable.

So who better to spout an opinion on a new children’s eyewear line that lets her change her glasses frames to coordinate with her outfits every day?

Pair Eyewear opens up its online shop this week,* offering specially-designed children’s frames with magnetic top-frames of various colors that can be switched out depending on your** mood. First, choose your base frames from five different shapes and three different colors (black, basic tortoise, and either blue or gray tortoise depending on the shape picked). Then add as many top frames to your order as you want and/or can afford. Each base shape currently has ten different top frames that fit it. You could, theoretically, if you wanted to buy all the top frames for your base, have eleven pairs of glasses to choose from each day instead of one.

See why Pair Eyewear is a misnomer? Clearly, it should be Pairs Eyewear.

Three pairs of round glasses in black, pink and blue polka-dot, and blue and white horizontal stripe
My daughter wants Serra in black as a base, with top frames in Polka-Dot and Navy Striped. Image composited from Pair Eyewear.

Surprisingly Affordable:

I have never bought glasses from anywhere but the optometrist’s office, so I had a lot of questions. First, is this covered by insurance? The answer is “not quite, but maybe yes, depending.” While Pair Eyewear isn’t a part of any insurance network, if your vision insurance covers out-of-network providers, your insurance will reimburse your purchase if you submit the receipt after the fact, and HSA and FSA funds can be used at Pair as well.

Even so, base frames including lenses start at $125, and each additional top frame is $24.95. So if you don’t go overboard with top frames (do you really need eleven pairs of glasses?), it’s comparable to children’s frames that don’t switch magnetically. And if you choose standard one-week shipping, that shipping is free.

Plus, there’s another reason why Pair is really Pairs: for every base pair you buy, Pair Eyewear will donate a pair to a child in need. So that’s two pairs for the price of one even if you don’t buy any top frames, and even if you probably will never meet the other recipient.

Not as Hard to Mess Up as I Suspected:

Secondly, I wondered, what’s it like to buy glasses without the help of a trained optician? I’m used to someone saying, “nope, wrong shape for your face” or “too big for your prescription” or “that color makes you look washed out; here, try this instead.”

Pair Eyewear has a few steps in place to make up for this. First, before you choose your base frame, you can get a set of cardboard versions of the five frames that you can try on at home, and hopefully seeing the shapes on your face will tip someone in the family off to which shape actually looks best on you. Second, there’s a thirty-day no-questions-asked free return policy—yes, even for prescription lenses.

I also wondered about getting the prescription right. Children’s vision should be checked annually once they have glasses, so you aren’t likely to buy new frames in between check-ups, and once you’re at the optometrist, you’re more likely to choose new frames simply as part of your appointment. But Pair makes this a little easier, too. You can simply snap a picture of your written prescription, including pupillary distance. Or if you don’t have the written prescription, Pair will call your optometrist to get it for you. Being phone-phobic, I think that’s awesome.

Oh, and if you, like me, think glasses should be considered a true fashion accessory and not just a medical aid, and you know a kid who would love this kind of adjustable flair even though they have perfect vision, Pair Eyewear will also sell you frames with non-prescription lenses or sunglasses instead.

So my young artsy fashionista is already asking when her pairs of Pair Eyewear will arrive, and we haven’t even ordered yet.

The Pair Eyewear website seems pretty easy to use, so pop on over and see what you can see.


*Currently only shipping to the US.

**I use the word “you” throughout this article to refer to both the potential buyer and the potential wearer, but unless you have a relatively small face, the latter “you” is really “your child,” as these frames are designed to fit children between the ages of 6-14.