What I wear

Why the robe a la francaise still isn’t done….

Spectacles thedreamstress.com

Yep.  I’m spectacled.

I’ve been noticing for a few months that my eyes ached after I’d been doing a lot of detailed hand-sewing, or a lot of research on the computer.  I tried to ignore it for a long time.  After all, I’ve always had perfect vision, my parent’s didn’t get reading glasses until their late 50s, everyone else in my family has perfect vision…

But I did end up avoiding reading and research and hand-sewing, and reading on the computer, and that wasn’t good.  So finally, last week, after a doing a lot of reading for university work, I noticed how bad I felt, and finally got myself to an optometrist.

Turns out that while my vision is still excellent, I am the tiniest bit long-sighted, and  have a slight astigmatism.  It’s so minor that most people wouldn’t notice, and wouldn’t need glasses, but since I spend hours peering at old newspaper articles online, and teeny-tiny stitches in fabric, I give my eyes a serious workout.

So I need glasses for reading and fine sewing.

Spectacles thedreamstress.com

They just came in yesterday, and I’m getting used to using them.  I can definitely tell that they help with the reading, but I’m still figuring out how to sew and watch TV at the same time.  Having a long nose so that I can let them slide down and peer over the top helps.

Spectacles thedreamstress.com


So, once I’ve totally figured out the glasses, and they stop giving me vertigo as my eyes adjust, I’ll finally be able to get back into the serious hand-sewing of the robe  Ã   la française, and catch up on my blog reading.  Yes.

Spectacles thedreamstress.com

On the bad side, custom glasses in NZ (and they have to be custom because of the astigmatism) are expensive, and having to get these means I can’t get the American Duchess Pompadour shoes which are currently on pre-order.  I just saved up for them and instead I have glasses.  I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that there are still some in my size by the time I save up enough fun money again!

The glasses weren’t as pricey as they might have been.  I tried on every pair of frames in the shop, and amazingly, the pair I liked best was also the cheapest (I usually have the unerring ability to fall in love with the most expensive thing in any shop), but even the cheapest frames + lenses + optometrist appointments runs around $500 here.  The optometrist asked me if I didn’t want to go look for frames at other shops and I said “Are you kidding?!?  I like the cheapest frames – why would I tempt fate by looking around until I like something more expensive?”

Sometimes I surprise even myself with how practical and frugal I can be!

Spectacles thedreamstress.com


If I can’t manage another pair of Pompadours, I’ll have to use my renewed ability for extended detailed hand sewing and challenge myself to make a pair of 1720s appropriate shoes to go with my robe de cour myself…


  1. You look cute in glasses, and I can’t wait to see your finished robe a la francaise!

  2. Aww, I sympathize with having to spend fun money on life things. And I sympathize with how expensive glasses/contacts can be, having a particularly bad prescription and astigmatism myself. They always have to special order eye things for me because they don’t keep them in stock, even in the US. 🙂 Hopefully once you settle in, the joy of feeling better and having good vision will make up for the delay in pompadour-ing. And I do look forward to seeing what you come up with if you decide to make your own shoes!


  3. Spectacles are expensive here too, but being willing to accept a less-than-fashionable style helps with that. I look forward to seeing you surge ahead with work after you’ve adjusted to being a glasses-wearer!

  4. Dear Leimomi,

    Those glasses are N-E-A-T! The narrow frames look very nice on you and should be less of a distraction as you look through them. It won’t take long to adjust, and you’ll find that headaches and general malaise back off, and that tiny threads will pop into crisp clarity. Ah, the happiness!

    I too have spectacles now, bi-focals no less. Darn it, the cheapest frames — which I bought too — did not feature chic narrow frames. Ah well.

    Very best,


  5. They suit you – give you a professional aura. I personally am also waiting for the right moment to get some myself. The ones I use are off the counter ones which are not tailor-made for my eyes…. I hope I will look as lovely as you, wearing mine…..

  6. Hey I say have fun making your own shoes this time around…I will always love and support American Duchess products, but I have to admit, I loved making my own footwear! And I even cheated quite a bit by just covering some, but it’s so exciting to know you’re wearing your own handiwork head to toe.

  7. Your glasses look cute, and even better for being (relatively) cheaper. As a fellow astigmat, I can’t encourage you enough to get used to your glasses and rest your brain. The optometrist who got my prescription all the way up to full correction a few years ago has changed my life! I used to get more and more near-sighted in an effort to see better, and it’s only with good astigmatic correction that my eyes have now stabilized happily. I feel 15 years younger in the eyes, a nice feeling :-). And indeed I can sew much more, and better..

  8. Tav Tögni says

    You look really snazzy in those glasses!

    One weird thing about astigmatism is how it botches the night vision, and not necessarily just in actual darkness but in somewhat poor lighting. You might notice the glasses make it easier to find small things in badly lit rooms.

    • Thank you! I haven’t noticed any problems with night vision (I actually have amazing night vision) but now I’ll pay attention.

  9. I don’t wear glasses myself, but everyone else in my family does, and my sister recently realised – with some shock – that her glasses might be one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive thing she owns, and if she lost them, she’d be in big financial trouble… so I got an idea of what it is like myself. You are lucky that you could settle on the cheapest frames, and they look great on you! She has very thick glasses now and in order not to be completely overshadowed & over-weighed down by them, she had to resort to a very expensive, thinned type of glasses without rims…
    By the way, my mother also had problems with drinking coffee & staring into a screen, which I believe had something to do with being under-hydrated (that’s probably not a term). Obviously, your glasses should be helping if it turned out you do need them; but maybe?

    – I may be under-slept, and thus not thinking quite clearly. Anyway, you do look cute in them!

    • Thanks Hana! The best part is that I didn’t settle on the cheapest frames – they were my favourite by far! I’m still going to take very good care of them though!

      The term is de-hydrated (but the equivalent term for sleep is ‘under-slept’ – thanks English!). I don’t drink coffee, but I probably do drink too much tea, so I’ll have to watch that.

      • Hoho, under-slept exists! One out of two is not that bad. 😀 In fact, it would be “dehydrovaná” in Czech (female form 🙂 ), but as an under-slept person writing in a foreign language, I was glad I remembered the “hydrated” part… 😀

        I’m a lover of black English tea myself, and thus also have to watch myself…

  10. Oh dear, for reading glasses there are special shapes of glasses that are meant to sit far down the nose to allow for tv viewing, looking at people, etc while writing, sewing, etc. I have astigmatism and am near sighted. My eyes are horrible, requiring thick lenses, so I wear contacts as much as possible.

  11. I just had to replace my glasses and count myself lucky that I am a fairly standard short sighted person and can order off the internet nowadays; my previous pair was $400 in the shop and I wasn’t looking forward to spending that much again. Thank goodness I found a pair that fit well for much less than that. No extra’s though, so it’s not coated or one that changes depending on how much light etc. For that I have to save.

  12. Claire Payne says

    I have never seen anyone look so good in spectacles (or as I call them – spectaculars). They look particularly good with that lovely jacket and of course let us not forget what marvellous results you will get with your sewing now you aren’t suffering from eye strain. I’m sure Miss Fissy will approve of your new look.

  13. Annabel Mallia says

    Try varifocals. The lense is graded. The top for distance and gradually gets stronger so that when you look down the magnification is greater. So straight ahead for TV and down for the sewing on your lap. Inexpensive specs can be ordered online from companies such as Zenni; just choose a frame, fill in your prescription details and you will receive them by post in no time. Be careful walking downstairs with your new glasses; it takes time to adjust. Btw they suit you!

    • Yes. I’ll believe, Leimomi, that you don’t want to invest in some more glasses right now, but I had the opposite problem to you (up-close is fine, far away is blurry) when I was younger, so I got bifocals where the top half of the lens didn’t alter my vision and the bottom half had my actual prescription. It made it a lot easier to switch between close-up and mid-range work.

      You do look stylin’ though!

  14. Glasses are so expensive (for what they are glass and metal/plastic). I’m very short sighted – take my glasses away and I can just about see as far as my outstretched arm before it blurs- and have been since I was about 12.
    I searched high and low to find some ’round’ (vintage type) glasses recently just unflattering dull rectangles (the rectangle type really DON’T suit ME). I was hoping with vintage being in and films like gatsby being out they’d have more styles. Only found one shop that had round-ish glasses not a perfect circle but close enough. I dread having to go searching again next time.

    • Oh! They had three pairs of round vintage glasses at the shop, and I desperately wanted one of them to suit me, but they all looked ridiculous. So they do exist! You can also buy actual real vintage frames, and have your lenses put into them. I’ve got a pair of vintage frames and if I’m ever extremely rich I’ll have that done – or maybe just have clear glass put in. My optometrist showed me a pair he’d just had done for a client.

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