If you’re in the market for some chunky plastic glasses (whether you’re just going for the geek chic look or you actually need them to see), Made Eyewear is a new site that lets you get customized glasses. Like Warby Parker, Made specializes in plastic frames and offers both virtual and at-home try-on options. However, with Made you get to select frame color, change out the temples, and even get custom engraving.
First things first: when you visit the site, you’ll be greeted by photos of painfully hip prettyfolk wearing glasses (including some woman in a bra who apparently doesn’t quite understand the concept). Don’t worry—they let me use the site, too, so you don’t have to be a young model. Browse the frames, with names like James and Skylar and Peggy. As near as I can tell, the gender of the name also indicates the gender of the frames—with the unisex frames having ambiguous names like Jamie.
Then you get to customize the frames. Pick a color for the front and each temple (they can be different). There are several options for the fronts (sometimes more depending on the frame), and about a dozen for the temples. Not personalized enough? You can add engraving on the temples for $5 per side: skulls, leopard print, flames, or even some custom text. Sadly, though, you don’t get to pick the font—it’s sort of a boring sans serif font.
The base frames are $84. Decide on prescription lenses ($5) or sunglasses options (non-Rx free, $30 for Rx), progressive lenses ($60), high index ($60), anti-reflective coating ($10), and scratch resistance (free). Put in your prescription and pupil distance (PD), and you’re all set.
For some of the frames, you can try them on virtually using your webcam. They also can be tilted funny, depending on how the camera is interpreting your face. I noticed, for instance, that raising my eyebrows made the frames bigger for some reason.
If you’re looking at several frames, you can also compare two of them side-by-side.
Of course, the whole virtual try-on thing isn’t perfect: the frames don’t always match up to your head, and you also can’t tell how they feel. Plus, if you’re like me and you need glasses to even see your computer screen, you can’t see the images while you’re “wearing” the glasses because you have to take off your actual glasses. That’s where the at-home try-on program comes in.
Pick up to three frames you want, customize them and enter all your prescription information, and then click the “Add to Home Try-On” button. Made Eyewear will send you a package with the frames you picked, with your prescription lenses already made up. You’ve got seven days to try them on and see what you think. Don’t like them? Put the pre-paid shipping label on the box and ship ’em back. Keep the ones you want, and your credit card gets billed for those. Shipping is included so you don’t have any extra charges.
That’s a little different from Warby Parker, which just sends you non-prescription frames to try out, and you always have to ship the tester frames back to them. With Made Eyewear, they’re your glasses when they arrive, and you just pay for the ones you keep. Plus, when you’re trying them on, you can see yourself in the mirror even without putting in contact lenses.
I did have a little trouble getting my prescription right. I’m pretty near-sighted with astigmatism, and the first time I tried to measure my PD it wasn’t correct, so the first batch didn’t work at all. Made suggested I use this link for measuring PD, and that seemed more accurate. However, I also found that the dark frames exacerbate the Coke-bottle effect of my lenses, something that’s a little better with my current rimless frames. In the end, I ended up keeping the sunglasses but returned the two others, which my kids vetoed. (They don’t like change.)
Despite the fact that I’m not replacing my current glasses with a pair of Made frames, the overall experience was positive. Being able to try the glasses on at home, with prescription lenses, is something I can’t even get at my optometrist’s office (at least, not without being stuck paying for them). The process is pretty quick overall and returning unwanted frames is a snap.
For more information, visit the Made Eyewear website.
Disclosure: Made Eyewear provided the frames I tried at no cost.