Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pince-Nez and Reform Dandyism

For those of you who read my other blog, LeDandy (of Northern California), you are well acquainted with the term Reform Dandyism. It is an approach to style that I've finally been able to articulate. In quick summation, Reform Dandyism means dressing to please yourself.* Self empowerment. You are not trying to please others, "dress for success," or impress dates. Reform Dandyism is a simple concept but difficult to achieve as only you know what you really want. There is no formula for your wardrobe as there are with other approaches to style.

So how does this relate to pince-nez? If you want to wear pince-nez, think of Reform Dandyism as an enabling act. It gives you the justification necessary to wear them. No matter how much of a rebel you may be, no one wants to be thought of as a clown or a freak. Lets face reality: you probably haven't seen anyone else wear pince-nez in person as part of their usual wardrobe. This makes you reluctant to wear pince-nez. If you are looking for approval from others to wear pince-nez, you'll never wear them. But if you know they are a part of your intrinsic style, then go ahead and take the plunge. Your desire is all that is necessary. Rest assured that the rimless fingerpiece is perhaps the most modern look of any form of eyewear.

One of the other core principles of Reform Dandyism is responsibility. With self empowerment comes responsibility. You can dress as you like, but you are also responsible for any consequences. What if you work at a place with a Nazi-style dress code and you have mouths to feed at home? You might not want to wear pince-nez at work. Many, many years ago I had a job interview with EDS in Michigan (see LeDandy post, quite funny). I doubt they would approve of pince-nez. Fortunately most places are more relaxed than this repressive employer. Use your own judgment.

I work in San Francisco. Yes, San Francisco is quite a liberal and casual city. I work for a mid-size nonprofit and the dress code is very casual. My boss wears blue jeans and sweatshirts most of the time. It doesn't bother me as I have wide degree of latitude for what I want to wear. Most people wouldn't even notice my pince-nez unless I pointed them out (which I have!). I'm glad to have an environment where I can be myself in terms of appearance.

I've been wearing pince-nez on a full-time basis for the past four months and I love them. I'd never go back to ordinary specs again.
*For a full discussion, please see my Dec. 11, 2008 LeDandy post.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas: LeDandy Style

A wonderful Christmas for LeDandy and family. First of all, many thanks to the readers who have become "Pince-Nez Enthusiasts" as listed in the left hand column. We appreciate your support. And also thanks to the many readers of the Renaissance who have sent emails and offered their own stories. 2008 was a great year and the Renaissance has taken off. 2009 will be even better.

Here are some photos from LeDandy's Christmas 2008. Below is Jon Dean with our Pug and Shepherd/Chow. There is a plate of salami, cheese and crackers which has the undivided attention of the dogs. A little champagne and some Bing Crosby Christmas music set the mood. Our Christmas booty is on display.

Here I am with my boy Leo. A fine young man and full of life. My fingerpiece was the pince-nez of the day.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Renaissance Needs Your Help

And I'm not talking money. We would never ask you for a donation. But what we do need is a little publicity. The purpose of this blog is to assist those who want to wear pince-nez glasses. In order to help people, they first need to be able to find us in a reasonable manner. Unfortunately our Google ranking is very low for the simple search term "pince nez" by itself (#70 at the time of this writing). Most people use the Google search engine and generally will not scan results past the first thirty listings.

So how can you help? It doesn't take much and the Renaissance will be very grateful. Here are some suggestions:

  • Publish a link - if you have a website, you can post a link to the Renaissance. I've heard this is the most powerful way to boost a Google ranking;
  • Become a Pince-Nez Enthusiast - Let the world know you follow this blog. Please see the appropriate section at the bottom of the left hand column. You can even follow this blog anonymously if you desire.

If I didn't get the valuable advice from my good friend with many years of pince-nez experience, I would never be able to wear these glasses. I'd like others to benefit from the knowledge which is included on this site.

If you have any other suggestions for boosting our Google ranking, please email me. Thanks!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why Does One Wear Pince-Nez?

I always thought it was for style, as that is my sole reason for wearing them. The Renaissance welcomes Charles from Massachusetts into the world of pince-nez. He wrote to me a few months ago and expressed a desire to wear this eyewear. Since that time, he has acquired a few antique mountings and will be wearing pince-nez on a regular basis. His reasons for wearing them are totally different from my perspective.

The following is from Charles' email:

"The moment I first tried one on [pince-nez] I became sold on the entire concept. I have avoided getting reading glasses for several years because I find them so uncomfortable. Not only that, but most of them have a certain design flaw. This is the way glasses tend to ride down your nose and need to be constantly pushed back to their proper location. The only real cure is to get the bent wire frames which "lock" them behind your ears--and there's simply no way I'm wearing something like that. It's like the glasses are strapped onto your face. It's the difference between wearing suspenders or a belt, actually. The pince-nez clip on and that's where they stay. There's no fidgeting around with them. And they're great to clean! That's a real bonus. Pop them off, rub-rub, and they're back on your face in seconds. And, they look awesome. I haven't had too many comments on them yet, but everyone I have shown them to gave very positive opinions."

Thanks for writing Charles and keep in touch.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rimmed Pince-Nez

In past articles I've discussed the rimless fingerpiece and hoop spring variety. These are the most common types of this variety. However, there is a significant number of rimmed fingerpieces and hoop springs. Is this type for you? What are the advantages / disadvantages to this particular style?

As you may remember in a prior post, about two months ago I purchased a hoop spring trial fitting set in very poor condition. I was surprised that most of the pince-nez were the rimmed variety.

As for personal aesthetics, the rimmed pince-nez does not appeal to LeDandy. In my opinion, the rimmed frame detracts from the minimalist appeal. But as with Astigs, I learned that some styles work very well with certain people. Michael, a reader of this blog, looks superb in the Astig. Will the rimmed pince-nez suit your face? Only you can tell. Since many pince-nez can be bought for under $20, you may want to pick one up and see if you like it if you are so motivated.

rimmed pince nezThe young man at left, who is no longer young, is wearing a rimmed hoop spring. The big advantage to this style is that opticians prefer making lenses for a rimmed frame rather than the rimless one. However, be sure that the frames have screws for the lens mount. The cheap mail-order reader frames, as seen in my post referenced above regarding the trial fitting set, do not have screws and the lenses cannot be replaced. Also, it may be possible to change the shape of the lens mount from round to somewhat more oval. You will probably want the services of a professional for this procedure if it can be done.

The zyl (plastic) rimmed pince-nez were quite popular and have a distinct look. Zyl rims are almost always found with the round lens. Last year on Fedora Lounge, a young woman posted a picture of herself wearing this variety. Unfortunately she took the picture down but it was very impressive. If you can wear round lenses, you may want to consider the rimmed zyl fingerpiece. It definitely lends a scholarly air to the wearer.

zyl pince nez fingerpieceIf you are interested in the zyl fingerpiece to wear, you must get the one with screws securing the lens mount. This will allow you to change lenses. The picture below is an excellent example of a quality zyl fingerpiece. Note the screw mount blocks used to secure the zyl rims.

zyl pince nez fingerpieceThe young man below is wearing a complete zyl rimmed fingerpiece. The only hint is the fingerpiece end visible on the inner edge of his right lens. After the mid 1920's pince-nez design tried to copy (without temples of course) the latest style of spectacles. The 1920's saw the enormous popularity of tortoise shell rimmed spectacles with round lenses. [this paragraph and photo taken from my friend's Flickr page]

zyl pince nez fingerpiece


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