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I Tested 6 Online Prescription Eyewear Retailers on My Hunt for the Perfect Glasses

Welcome to 2024, where the style set has identified the must-have accessory as.... spectacles. Not that they ever left (hello, just ask Jenna Lyons), but glasses have become more of an "It" staple among the cool and influential, like Bella Hadid, Devon Lee Carlson and Gabbriette, who have all ditched contacts for a variety of fashionable frames of late, with the Bayonetta style being especially popular.

Call it the "geek-chic renaissance" or trace it back to Miu Miu's viral "sexy librarians" of Fall 2023; whatever the impetus, now is a good time to be a purveyor of eyewear, and Warby Parker is just one of many options for reasonably priced spectacles (especially stylish ones).  There are almost too many, to the point that it can feel impossible to choose from behind a computer screen. Are those DTC brands as good as the advertising makes them out to seem? Do virtual try-ons really work?

As long as you have an up-to-date prescription on hand, there are several brands and services that will deliver frames right to your mailbox, at a range of price points. So, as a fashion-forward four-eyes myself, I set out to determine which of them are a worthy investment. I reviewed the five most popular ones based off of data from Trendalytics, as well as my own market research: Quay, Warby Parker, EyeBuyDirect, Bailey Nelson, GlassesUSA and Coco and Breezy.

For background, I've needed glasses since I was a kid (-1.25 in both eyes), so I have years of ocular shopping under my belt, but, being overly conscious of my outfits from a young age, I turned to contacts as soon as I was old enough. As I've matured, I've learned how to use eyewear to punctuate a look. And now that glasses are extra trendy, I personally won't be returning to contacts for everyday use anytime soon.

Also worth noting: To order your frames, you'll typically need a digital copy of your up-to-date glasses prescription, as well as your Pupillary Distance, or PD (the distance between pupils, which is important for lens effectiveness). No worries if you don't have that on hand, the brands below also provide instructions on how to measure that at home.

Without further ado: Read my thoughts on the six leading eyewear brands, below.

Coco and Breezy

<p>Coco And Breezy Warrior-104 Frames, $249, <a href="https://cocoandbreezy.com/collections/optical/products/warrior-104" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:available here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">available here</a></p>

Coco And Breezy Warrior-104 Frames, $249, available here

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I was most excited to review this unisex, independent and Black women-owned label, and it exceeded my (high) expectations. The brand has a vast selection of unique, colorful frames to choose from. (Minimalists can shop elsewhere.)

My two choices were admittedly more on the simple side of the collection: The Warrior Aviators ($249) had a nice weight to them, thanks to the gold-plated colt and high-quality craftsmanship (even the nose pads are gold) that I can only compare to my immortal pair of gold Chrome Hearts glasses; the Journey sunglasses ($269) were just as meticulously crafted, with sturdy hinges and strong acetate, but the tasteful 3D gold stud detail at the temples really was the chef's kiss.

The checkout process was easy: Add eligible frames to cart, upload your prescription when prompted, and choose your preferred lenses (from standard plastic to impact-resistant to ultra thin, priced accordingly between $130-$300) and shipping method (the free option arrived in a few days). I also suggest making a customer account to track your orders. It's obvious the twin founders put thought into every detail of the brand, and their own artistic taste shines through, making both pairs completely unlike any other frames I've tried and well worth the steep price.

GlassesUSA

<p>GlassesUSA Muse Karri Frames, <s>$84</s> $59, <a href="https://rstyle.me/+xN6MjIbF5fySktpYZsKtyQ" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:available here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">available here</a></p>

GlassesUSA Muse Karri Frames, $84 $59, available here

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If you're looking for designer frames, GlassesUSA.com carries premium brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent and Prada at generous discounts. (Read more about the business model here, if you're curious as to how.) As a devoted Miu Miu fan, I chose a pair of oversized square sunglasses from the brand ($526) and immediately fell in love with their movie-star shape and, more importantly, the crisp clarity of the lenses. The real hero of my order, though, was a pair from GlassesUSA's own collection: the Kari Muse ($84), which I'm crowning the "Ultimate Bayonetta Frames," as they allow you to affordably achieve that Y2K look. I love that the hinges aren't exposed and there are no nose pads, meaning there's no hair snagging when I push them on top of my head. (My hairline thanks me.) Plus, the subtle flash of the red interior feels instantly cool.

To add to cart, select your frames and one of five lens options: non-prescription, single vision for $49, near vision for $49, progressive (for distance and reading) for $169, or bifocal for $99. I chose single vision and uploaded a copy of my printed RX, but you can also fill it out online manually and submit it after purchase via email. Next, you can upgrade your lenses to "lite and thin" for $58 or "super thin" for $98 (I went with the included "basic.") For sunglasses, you can choose lens color (tinted, extra dark, gradient, polarized or mirrored), add-ons (like blue light or scratch-resistant coatings) and an optional insurance plan. Because I had a comped code from the brand, I chose the priciest express shipping, which arrived in three days from ship date. Insider tip: The brand often has generous discount codes (download Honey) and save your prescription to your account for faster checkout next time.

Quay

<p>Quay Jezabell Rx, $125, <a href="https://rstyle.me/+Ef4RddUj8uT1Hprnlk9_mA" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:available here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">available here</a></p>

Quay Jezabell Rx, $125, available here

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Many know and love the Aussie brand's trendy frames and celeb collabs (most recently, with NY-based designer Danielle Guizio), but few are privy to its prescription lens offering on many of its styles: Quay fills single vision prescriptions from +4 to -6 and astigmatism corrections of +/-4. Quay also allows you to renew your vision prescription online via Visibly for $25 and all orders conveniently sync with the tracking app Shop, if you have an account.

I've had these two frames the longest — nearly two years — and despite consistent wear, I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality and how both under-$200 pairs have held up. Both frames actually are scratch-resistant, as promised (tested by the bottom of my purse), and the lenses feature a high index, meaning "thinner" and "lighter" lenses compared to standard polycarbonate, giving a more opaque effect, which create that vintage look to the sunglasses that I was hoping for.

The Jezebel ($125) is a silhouette that I turned out to love more than expected. (Circular wire frames can be intimidating, but Emily Ratajkowski helped influence me.) The dainty gold metal frame has proven to be sturdy and durable; plus, they're so lightweight, I can completely forget I'm wearing them with zero temple pressure or headaches, even with all-day wear. Both pairs also come with added blue light-blocking technology which, for me, is a must, and the brand's four-in-one glasses case was a game-changer for travel.

Bailey Nelson

<p>Bailey Nelson Keats Sunglasses, $189, <a href="https://baileynelson.com/collections/sunglasses/products/keats-sunglasses/?variant=black" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:available here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">available here</a></p>

Bailey Nelson Keats Sunglasses, $189, available here

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First, we must discuss the adorably retro Keats sunglasses ($189), which unexpectedly 180'ed my view on the '50s silhouette: The curved points and subtle size compliments my face more than any other cat-eye I've ever tried. (The amount of compliments from strangers I get when I wear them... Priceless.) Similarly, the artsy Marshall ($95) has also become a favorite. The frames are sturdy — tight arm hinges firmly hold their "opened" position until you manually close them, as opposed to loose arms that fall closed when taken off.

The order process was also straightforward: Choose your lens type, enter or upload your script, select lens thickness, add-ons (coatings, transitions, etc.) and, lastly, check for coupons. Comparing multiple eyeglasses at once has also allowed me to notice minor quality details, such as lens clarity; despite providing the same prescription across the board, something about my Bailey Nelson lenses felt extra sharp. My exact Marshall glasses have since sold out, but you can find similar styles here.

Warby Parker

<p>Warby Parker Ames Eyeglasses, $145, <a href="https://rstyle.me/+akxG6yqgO1pEpU-UUtOlGw" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:available here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">available here</a></p>

Warby Parker Ames Eyeglasses, $145, available here

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Warby Parker has become a staple to both professional and fashionable four-eyes alike. (Emma Chamberlain has been wearing them since age 14, apparently.) Now, having tried the brand for the first time, I can confirm the hype: Unlike the other brands listed, Warby Parker does have several brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. where you can try before you buy and get an eye exam, but staying home is just as easy. The user-friendly buying process online was super simple to navigate, just specify your lens type and buy. You can also update a recent prescription from home using the brand's Virtual Vision Test for $15 via its app.

Knowing that Warby is beloved for its quality and affordability, I chose two classic silhouettes that I can envision myself wearing forever. The Ames ($145) feels delicate but sturdy; I accidentally dropped them on concrete, and they made out without a scratch. (The brand does offer an extra resistant selection for rough wearers as well.) The Drew sunglasses ($95) block 100% of UV rays (the eyeglass lenses allegedly do, too) because the sensitive skin around our eyes is the first to show signs of UV damage — a big reason why I prefer oversized sunglasses.

Eyebuydirect

<p>Arnette Cold Heart Square Black Eyeglasses, $128, <a href="https://rstyle.me/+c4fS_T5NC7ZKrqRPM81SjQ" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:available here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">available here</a></p>

Arnette Cold Heart Square Black Eyeglasses, $128, available here

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Eyebuydirect was the most straightforward in terms of placing an order (entering my RX and personal information was extra fast and easy) and also had the most customization options as far as lenses (there were four options for just blue-light add-ons). Plus, you can turn any glasses frame into sunglasses and vice versa.

Using the handy Virtual Try-On, I chose a pair of thick acetate eyeglasses and classic Wayfarer sunnies. There's a substantial amount of Arnette, the eco-friendly eyewear brand beloved by cool kids, on the site; which I've been meaning to try, and I'm glad I did: The chunky frames are classy and modern, plus the most versatile of the bunch — for that reason, they've become my daily go-to's for work, play and everything in between.

The sporty sunglasses, on the other hand, are high-coverage and super darkening (which my light-sensitive eyes love); however, it's worth noting that the sunglasses prescription felt a little off, almost as if my eyes couldn't focus properly when looking from short to far distances, and vice versa. This could've been due to several factors, but, thankfully, EyeBuyDirect was happy to take them back and swap the lenses out, which seemed to do the trick. Now, they, too, are go-to's for outdoor activities (hiking, dog walks, snow days, etc..), which was a pretty big hole missing in my collection previously.

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