5 of our favourite affordable glasses brands

Jenessa Williams

Needing glasses is an expensive necessity that can get very frustrating if you don’t find a pair you like—here are five of our favourite inexpensive brands

Whether you’re in need of a new prescription or simply fancy changing up your look, glasses are an accessory that can be quite tricky to buy. The wrong shape can completely mask your face, but the right one can show off your personality, jazz up an outfit and of course, significantly improve your eyesight!

Glasses can be a very expensive investment, but slowly but surely, an array of brands are beginning to introduce stylish frames at a very affordable pricepoint. A newly appointed reading-glasses wearer, I trialled five frames in the quest for my perfect pair, all priced under £100. 

 

Iolla

Based in Scotland, Iolla (translating to ‘Sight’ in Gaelic Language) are a glasses brand with charity at the heart of their ethos. Teamed with the organization Orbis, the company donates to help provide eyecare and optometric training to professionals in under-resourced communities. 

At a set price of £65 for single vision lenses with anti-glare and anti-scratch coating (no extra cost for thick prescriptions), they offer a great selection of minimal and retro-influenced styles. Having spied them on some of our favourite social media influencers, I went for the Somerville frames in Taupe Crystal. Although the thick setting was a little too strong for my face, the quality feels fantastic for the price - the perfect option for those who want to keep a couple of styles on their bedside table without breaking the bank. 

 

Bailey Nelson

Founded in Bondi Beach in 2012, Bailey Nelson are a touch of sunshine in an occasionally dull optometry market. Now with boutiques all over the world, their on-trend glasses and sunglasses cover all personalities, from a Capote-esque horn-rim to Hollywood-style cat eyes. 

While a regular Bailey Nelson frame retails from £105, they offer regular sales, including our chosen frame – the Archie, at just £50. For me, it was love at first site – the flat top compliments a rounder face more than a traditional oval pair, and the colour adds just a touch of fun. Lightweight without being flimsy, they wear as easily as the ordering process suggests – simply pick your frame, email your prescription and await your post. Keep your eyes peeled for a sale, or check out our favourite full-priced styles Bronte and Helena

 

Retrospecced 

Doing their bit for the environment, Retrospecced is the branchild of mother and daughter team Tracey and Lucy. Driven by a desire to offer new life to old glasses, their company has teamed with Vision Aid Overseas to refurbish old frames, with 20% donated to eyecare around the world. With vintage and ethical shopping such an enduring trend, why not get a piece of the action?

In love with all things 80s, I opted for a large bronze round plastic frame, and was pleasantly surprised at the results. Although they make quite the statement, they proved highly comfortable thanks to the teams reshaping, and retailed at a fantastic £29 for standard lenses. An undisputed bargain, and an amazing company for those who like to make a statement with their look, with both vintage and designer styles on offer.  

 

Peep Eyewear

A fellow vintage-upcycler, Peep Eyewear operate on a similar theme to Retrospecced, with the option to add lens of a wide variety of colours. Their sunglasses selection is a must for 70s-inspired fashionistas, but with our eyes firmly pinned on opticals, I chose the Roux by Morel, a sophisticated pair made a little more interesting by their cheek-skimming rounded shape. Retailing at £69, they fit securely and comfortably, a great option for everyday wear. I’ve got our eyes on a rainbow pair next…

 

Glasses Direct

One of the best-known on the market, Glasses Direct have made a name for themselves with their extensive catalogue and handy ‘Free Home Trial’ feature. Simply order up to four frames without lenses to try at home, and then pop back in the postbox after a week before deciding if you’d like to buy. 

Starting at as little as £20 all in, Glasses Direct has some great options, but it’s worth bearing in mind that you do get what you pay for. Our choice of the ‘Charlie’ frame (£89) was a similar shape to some of our other selections, but felt decidedly delicate on the face, with the hinges in need of a little tightening. Good for those who like to wear glasses for fashion or have a ‘just in case’ pair, but probably not the place to shop for regular use.