With the new semester starting up, it’s important to make a lasting impression on everyone you meet. Whether you’re trying to catch the eye of a new classmate or stand out to a potential employer, the perfect fashion piece can set you apart from the rest. Fashionable eyewear cannot only make you more memorable, it can enhance your confidence. With the right pair of glasses, you’ll find yourself sashaying down the street, signaling to the world that you’re smart and sexy.
SEE Eyewear, located at 437 State St., embodies style from the moment you walk in. The entire store is furnished in black and white, allowing the colorful frames to speak for themselves. While the sophistication of the store may intimidate your wallet, it is relatively friendly to a student budget. SEE Eyewear has been featured in the magazines GQ, Glamour, Elle and InStyle. This past November, Madison became the most recent location for one of SEE Eyewear’s approximately 30 stores.
SEE Eyewear puts out every frame they have on their shelves, and their ebony-clad associates encourage potential customers to experiment with new styles. Their job is not to judge if you try on a thick, boxy frame clearly not meant for your face, or if you reach for the crazy, bedazzled cat eye pair sitting next to it.
Trying on a pair of glasses isn’t a commitment — they allow you to pretend to be a fabulous 1960s era movie star or a snobby art critic for just a few moments. Sometimes, fashion is about playing with a new look. Whether you’re trying a new hairstyle or something less permanent, glasses are always interchangeable. If you’re someone who already owns one or more professional looking frames, SEE Eyewear is the perfect place to purchase a more hip, fashion-forward pair to round off your wardrobe.
SEE Eyewear has a style for everyone, but discovering your personal fashion “dos” can be difficult. If you’re nearly incapable of making decisions like me, the staff has no qualms with helping you narrow down the vast array of options into a more manageable candidate pool of frames. They encourage you to take your time — after all, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to selecting the perfect pair of glasses. Though it may be tempting to buy those vivid orange glasses you could admire all day, the sky blue version you overlooked could be just the thing to brighten up your face and draw attention to your eyes, without leading to buyer’s regret later on.
According to Vice President of Marketing Susan Berryman, SEE Eyewear loves locations like Madison because of its proximity to the University of Wisconsin. Berryman said people were urging the company to open a store in Milwaukee instead, but SEE Eyewear saw the appeal of a large campus in the state’s capital city. Madison is already home to many other trendy stores, so SEE Eyewear fits right in.
“Madison is vibrant, there’s a sophistication level that appealed to us,” Berryman said.
Although chic and trendy, the most expensive frame you’ll find at SEE Eyewear only approaches $400. Unlike many optical stores, SEE Eyewear frame prices include the cost of lenses, which can be a couple hundred dollars on their own. However, if you want any sort of coating on the lens, which is recommended, that’ll be at an additional cost. For those blessed with excellent eyesight, SEE Eyewear can sell you frames without prescription lenses. Or, you can protect your eyes from UV rays with any of their stylish $99 sunglasses.
Another aspect of SEE Eyewear’s business model that sets them apart from other optical stores is that, while they work with top eyewear designers all over the world, they reduce costs by avoiding the middleman. Some of the designers that created the frames SEE Eyewear sells have worked with companies such as Chanel and Prada. In the Madison store, you’ll find two different styles by an Israeli designer, each hand-painted and available in three colors. Additionally, only 100 pairs of each color are ever made per style, decreasing the chances of spotting someone else on campus sporting the same pair of specs.
“We want to stay exclusive,” Berryman said. “We handpick the collection and only order a few of each style.”
For many college students, fashion is also limited by funds. If you have insurance, check to see if it can be used to reduce your out-of-pocket expense. Otherwise, be sure to ask about their college discount — you can get 10 percent off with a current student ID.
Though SEE Eyewear’s pieces are by no means cheap, they are significantly friendlier to the college student budget than many other options in the industry. When you consider the fashion, the value of frames from SEE Eyewear increases. If you venture into SEE Eyewear’s immaculate, expertly arranged store on State Street, you’ll love the quality of the pieces and the expertise of the staff. Whether you decide to go home with a pair of your own or not, SEE Eyewear will inspire you to make a style statement of your own.