One nippy Tuesday morning, Oliver H. Gerry swung open a set of doors inside the Grand Avenue Temple in downtown Kansas City. It was January 23, 1912, and that unfurled entranceway symbolized the first day Gerry Optical was open for business. In the 100 years since, professionally trained technicians have prepared eyewear to complement the styles of countless clients, including President Harry Truman and Senator Nancy Kassebaum. Today, each of the store's nine locations carries between 800 and 1,200 frames from brands such as Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, Prada, and BCBG, and the flagship store on 75th Street also houses its own grinding lab to quickly custom-craft lenses and fix cracks after cartoon eye-popping mishaps. To honor its deep community roots, Gerry Optical gives back by partnering with Lions Clubs International to provide discount eye exams and eyeglasses to underprivileged families.
Eyeconic Eyecare packs a peeper-pleasing punch thanks to high-tech eye attention from Dr. Michael Hawk, and a sprawling selection of more than 800 frames. For less-than-picky peepholes, the shop stocks basic frames (starting at $83.99) and single-vision lenses (starting at $75), and visionary visages can vie for fashion-forward focals from brands such as D&G, Versace, Calvin Klein, Coach, and Prada (most frames run from $120 to $160; Prada and Versace can run up to $250). To avoid untimely bat transformations in light-loaded moments, vampire-bitten eyeballs can shade themselves with a pair of Eyeconic's sunglasses. Nonprescription shades (starting at $83.99) sit alongside sun-shielding specs from Ray-Ban and Oakley ($100–$180).
With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.
Insight Eyecare Specialties equips patients with major brands of both European- and American-designer frames in various styles and colors. Each set of peepers is matched up with eyewear that provides the right look and fit while maximizing visual clarity. Browse top-flight designer frames such as Prada ($249–$349), Coach ($209–$369), and Versace ($219–$299) or alleviate a droopy brow with Nike ($209–$249) and Guess ($149–$209) eyewear. Insight Eyecare also boasts a selection of single-vision lenses ($65+) and assorted shades for shielding eyes against falling drops of sun. With frame materials ranging from titanium and stainless steel to plastic, customers can find blinkers to fit all budgets and lifestyles, whether they’re looking for glasses to wear occasionally or for a durable pair that can withstand territorial duels with bighorn rams.
Featuring a veritable fashion week of designer frames from Prada, D&G, CK, Armani Exchange, and more, as well as styles for children and inner-children from Nike, Disney, and Nickelodeon, In Vision converts playground and workplace shouts of “four-eyes!” into a fetching badge of pride. Led by doctors Heather Webster, and Lianne Innes, In Vision Eye Care Center offers an encyclopedic frame selection alongside all the services and expertise of an optometric practice, including a $50 eye exam for Groupon holders who need to freshen their prescriptions or simply want a professional diagnosis of their eye color. With today’s Groupon, spectacle-sporters can substantially defray the cost of their next set of frames (starting at $135) and lenses (starting at $75), leaving them with a spare set for the glove box or an emergency fire starter for the camping gear.
The owners of The Swag Society, a group of fashion-conscious beauty and apparel stylists, send their expertise to clients in the mail once a month. They do so by asking clients to fill out a survey about their lifestyles, habits and hobbies, and occasions they find themselves dressing for. With that info, they put together a completely personalized box of products that includes make-up, jewelry, and other accessories, and send it out to the client.
While the first box's contents are immediately useful, they are more meant to help clients pursue a long-term strategy in which each box is a mini lesson plan in what styles and fashions flatter best. After a year, the team reports that most clients have a huge collection of make-up and accessories appropriate for most every occasion, with the possible exception of an alien invasion, since its impossible to predict what color flag our new overlords will fly.