Meyrowitz sunglasses with tailoring; Paying for good advice
The harder it is to know whether something fits well, or suits you, the more valuable expert advice is. And the more valuable it is to have it in person.
(It’s one reason some categories, like accessories, work better online than others, such as knitwear.)
I’ve found over the years that this particularly applies to eyewear.
I’ve commented before on the tiny margins for error there are with glasses - when having pairs made at Bourgeat and General Eyewear for example - and recommended that readers work from a ready-made pair as a result.
But the importance of expert advice was brought home to me strongly a few weeks ago, when picking a pair of sunglasses to wear with smarter outfits.
My favourite pair of sunglasses are in the Starsky model from Meyrowitz (shown above).
The frame is narrow enough for my face and small pupillary distance, and the style is unusual without being showy.
But I find it doesn’t suit suits. It looks a little too sporty somehow, and out of place with tailoring.
I couldn’t figure out why, however. This was frustrating. As anyone that has been reading PS for a while will know, I always want a logical reason for anything (even if there isn’t one).
And so I went to Sheel at Meyrowitz in the Royal Arcade seeking an explanation - and a pair of sunnies to go with a suit.
Sheel is an expert, but she wears it lightly. She will give extremely knowledgeable, personalised advice, but modestly.
So she will explain how one frame suits me more (despite being big) because the sides slope inwards more than others, running parallel to the edge of my face.
Or she will point out that although a frame has an unusual, flattened topline, this is largely hidden when I wear the because it sits on top of my eyebrows.
With the search for a more sartorial pair of sunglasses, I had assumed I’d want something with a finer, more delicate frame - even metallic - and in a sharper overall shape.
This didn’t prove to be the case when we started trying pairs on. Although large and with a thick frame, the Hardy style above was classic enough to sit nicely with a suit.
It still suited my face because of the points on slide-slope and topline mentioned above.
And the high-contrast tortoiseshell made it seem more classic and traditional: the same model in a dark or mid-brown didn’t seem so dressy.
(Which, again, is the opposite of what I would have thought - usually in clothing higher contrast patterns are more casual.)
We must have spent an hour trying on different options, with me looking at myself in the mirror wearing them, looking at Sheel wearing them, and Sheel taking pictures of me wearing them looking at her, so she could point things out on the photo.
Throughout, she would always qualify her opinion by saying, ‘But it’s your decision of course - you have to wear them ’: flattering my idea that I could make a good decision on my own, and making me carefully consider each piece of advice.
A helpful reminder was that my pupillary distance (the distance between my eyes) mattered considerably less with sunglasses than with opticals, as others wouldn’t be able to see whether the eyes were in the middle of the frame or not.
The Hardy we ended up with was great, and just required some small adjustments to fit the arms perfectly around the ears.
I’ve worn them consistently since, with great pleasure and confidence.
If you want to buy a pair of socks, you don’t need this level of advice. But with glasses, or the proportions of a jacket, it is invaluable.
I also think it's central to the question of price and value. A good price for glasses shouldn’t just consider the material and the handwork, but the advice that comes with it.
Indeed, I don’t think it’s too big a generalisation to say that this is how all retail will survive.
If part of the price you pay for something is the cost of the retail and the rent, then it should come with highly qualified staff.
I’m quite happy to pay a premium for Meyrowitz or anyone else, if I can walk in anytime and get this level of detailed, personal, experienced service.
An expensive shop filled with people that can barely show you where the till is - as many department stores are today - seems like a monumental waste.
These ready-made (and handmade) frames from Meyrowitz cost £595. Bespoke versions of frames are available from £1200.
The London store, by the way, has no affiliation to the stores of the same name in New York or Paris. Indeed, Sheel now does trunk shows around the US herself- details of her schedule here.
Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man
Can you provide fabric derails for this Dalcuore jacket? Apologies if I missed it in another post. Thanks.
This is actually my Solito jacket – it’s seasonal Caccioppoli so no longer available I’m afraid
Are you shure? I too thought it must be the Dalcuore jacket, from the June 29th post.
Yes, this is a different one – actually quite different in brightness and texture
I was refering to the second picture, where you are standing among some men and wearing a denim shirt.
Oh I am sorry – yes, that is the Dalcuore one.
does the price include prescription lenses?
You may wish to look at the title of this as, on your website, it appears as “paying for goo…..”
And good goo it is too.
Yes, depending on the size of the screen, the title cuts off at one point.
I agree with the need for good advice and personalized service. I have a small head and the large, chain eye wear stores have almost no frames that fit my face.
A couple of independent stores with great service have been fantastic in finding frames that fit and suit my face.
Hi Simon, very nice. Would you wear these with a navy buinesss suit whilst working in London?
Good point – I think that might be too formal, and would require something finer and perhaps in metal or a dark, uniform acetate. Then again, I was wrong last time.
I think it needs a bit more context before you can opine.
Tie or no tie? City or St James’? Chestnut or black shoes? Lace ups or slip ons? Etc Etc
Good point – a more casual take on a suit might be fine
Unusual glasses. They have a certain apian quality that is striking and curious, but also vaguely disturbing.
I was wondering why all those bees kept following me.
Sheel is truly the epitome of all that is required of an expert in a very specific, highly specialized yet narrow field. I’d highly recommend her & EB Meyrowitz as a truly worthwhile and delightful experience. You also get a pair of unique glasses that should last a lifetime!!
You should look into Paris’s Maison Bonnet who does bespoke real tortoiseshell frames though at quite a dear price.
Thanks, and yes I know them. They just opened a new shop in London
Have you tried Opera Opera in Covent Garden?
Hi Simon. You’ve written positive reviews for Maison Bonnett and E.B. Meyrowitz, though you seem to focus more on the end product for the former and the experience for the latter.
How do you think these two bespoke brands compare? Cheers.
I think both are very good, but I’d say the offering is slightly different, in that Meyrowitz was mostly aimed around the styles they have on offer, and tweaking them for your face. That can be a good thing, but obviously is also a little narrower.
Bonnet is really focused on just bespoke, so coming up with something more original – and has hundreds of frames as a result. It is less design led.
If I had to pick, I’d say Bonnet was a better fit and a better make. But it’s small differences.
I hope that’s helpful
Very helpful and informative indeed. Cheers and keep up the good work!
Not sure if this is the right place for this question, but can you comment on Jacques Marie Mage sunglasses and opticals? This brand has been very popular on social media recently.
I don’t know anything about them I’m afraid, although that last phrase always puts me on warning!
If you or anyone else has some information (other than a pretty flashy website) let me know
I’ve handled some of them, and they look great – there’s a range of models from flashy to understated, and they seem well made (claim to be handmade in Japan). However I’m not an expert on judging quality or value. I was hoping for your view, as someone who has tried several top eyewear brands.
Thanks, good to know.
Well I haven’t tried them, but I’ll keep an eye out.
It’s also something we should probably try and add to the Guide to Quality