Special thanks to Christopher Cloos for partnering with us on this post, Primer readers save 20% off their order with code Primer20.
I’ve worn glasses since I was nineteen, and while I actually enjoy wearing glasses, I absolutely despise choosing the glasses. Case in point, I was eligible for new frames over a year ago, but I can’t find a pair that I like more than the ones I already have. And yes, I know I could just get the same pair, but I like to mix it up.
If you wear glasses, you know what I’m talking about. I go to the closest shop, try on a few pairs, and realize…I can’t see. So I snap a few selfies, and boy are they flattering. I send the selfies to my wife, who promptly responds “nah” because somehow I always look like I’m trying to create an online dating profile for people attracted to awkward men. Also, I can’t help but wonder How many other people tried on these display frames today? Hello, I’ll take the wayfarers with a side of staph infection.
Luckily, augmented reality (AR) has become a viable option for online shopping, and innovative brands like Christopher Cloos have brought this reality to the world of sunglasses (and prescription glasses for guys like me).
Christopher Cloos creates men’s and women’s glasses with an aesthetic that puts a modern twist on classic frame designs: All of the glasses come with CR39 polarized lenses and spring hinges and use cutting-edge biodegradable plastics. They’ve even collaborated with Tom Brady for some of their designs.
If you're new to the Cloos brand, they've built an impressive business the old-fashioned way: Over a period of 18 months they’ve developed partnerships with 500 retailers, literally going door-to-door, mostly with opticians who understand what quality frames should be. Now they're also in large retailers like Nordstrom and Amazon.
The icing on the cake is their augmented reality try-on that doesn't require a special app. Just go to their site from a mobile device and tap Virtual Try On. How accurate could it be? Surprisingly so.
Check out Andrew comparing the AR try-on with the real sunglasses.
Cloos sunglasses sell because they are a premium product. We’ve talked about the virtue of a throwaway pair of sunglasses, but once you’ve found a style you love, the buy-once-cry-once upgrade is worth the extra cash. Cloos will be the last pair of sunglasses you need to buy.
Three factors set Cloos glasses apart from the rest:
1. The whole line is biodegradable. And I mean they’re completely biodegradable from the lenses, to the packaging, to the frames and cases. In fact, if you turn in any pair of used glasses (yes…used, old glasses), they’ll recycle them for you and give you 20% off your new pair.
Let’s talk for a second about why acetate frames are a big deal. Anything made from plastic is essentially oil-based. It’s not biodegradable; it’s brittle, and it’s not helping the cycle of sustainability (especially in the production process). Acetate is a partially plant-based material, made from wood pulp and cotton fibers. For their Cloos x Brady collection, Cloos uses biodegradable M49 Mazzucchelli, an Italian-made acetate which is 68% plant-based, using wood that’s been sustainably harvested, reducing greenhouse gasses and allowing for consumerism with a conscience.
2. Free shipping, returns, and perfect style guarantee. When you order a pair of glasses, Cloos ships worldwide for free and offers free returns and exchanges, so you can make sure you get the right pair for you. In fact, they guarantee you’ll find your perfect style and fit, or you can get your money back. If you’re feeling futuristic, Cloos offers a virtual try-on for each of their styles using your phone's camera. Go to the website from a mobile device, click the virtual try on button, and instantly see yourself wearing the glasses you want to try. In short: It’s easy, and it’s cool.
Oh and if you need a prescription, you can upload it to their website, and they’ll make the prescription lenses for you. This is a legit one-stop shop.
3. Did I mention Tom Brady? Love or hate the guy, he’s got style.
Here are a few of our favorite pairs:
The Pacifica is part of the Cloos x Brady collection, paying homage to The GOAT’s Pacifica Beach roots. Made with stainless steel arms and biodegradable acetate, the Pacifica is the epitome of the Cloos design philosophy: Classic modernity meets sustainability.
The Paloma is a unisex style with rounded frames and a color that will literally match any outfit you put together. The translucent acetate has a summer vibe that almost insists on a mojito and a pair of espadrilles.
If you want something a little more year round, then the Paloma in bourbon might be the better choice. It’s the minute details that make the Paloma stand out: the small dots above the rims, the cutout over the nose, and especially the springed hinges.
→ Check out the full line to try virtual try on and use code Primer20 to save 20%