As a relative newcomer to pince-nez, I thought to myself "What has surprised me the most about pince-nez eyewear?" Unlike most people, I never really questioned the security of wearing this eyewear. Somehow I had a feeling it was quite secure on the nose. My biggest shock was the necessity for wearing nose pads.
These little silicone slip-on, "boot" pads make a world of difference with both comfort and security of pince-nez. I've had the opportunity to wear several versions of hoop springs and fingerpieces, with and without nose pads. I doubt if I would be able to wear any of the pince-nez without them. Silicone provides an excellent grip while still maintaining a soft feel. Also, nose pads are particularly helpful with perspiration.
As you can see in the picture below, these nose pads slip over the nose guard like galoshes on shoes. Hence the name boot pad. Gently stretch the nose pad before placing it on the nose guard. Be careful in this process as it is possible to rip them.To put them on, hold the the nose guard with one hand and place the wide part on one end of the nose guard. Then gently pull over to the other end of the guard. Usually, you will want to place the wider part of the nose pad at the top of the guard. Use your judgment.
By placing the pads on the nose guard, you are slightly narrowing the bridge opening. This is especially evident on a fingerpiece. The pads are quite thin and this shouldn't be a problem as the nose guard can usually be corrected if necessary.
How long do nose pads last? About three to four years with regular wear.
It is possible to wear pince-nez without the pads and find a good degree of comfort and security. This is found quite often with cork-lined nose guards. Other situations involve a combination of comfortable nose guards and an expert fitting. In most cases, you will want to wear the silicone nose pads.
This was the easy part. The hard part is finding this item. The nose pads pictured at top are no longer made, as Danbert is no longer in business. Part II will address how to find this elusive item which is the essence of life for pince-nez wearer. If any readers have leads on where to find the silicone boot, slip-on pad, please write to me.