June 2013
August 28, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

Like a lot of folks, I’m fascinated by the rise of wearable technology. My Nike Fuelband has replaced my colorful Nixon watches as my timekeeper of choice.

My daily goal is 3,000 Fuel Points. On this day, I happened to torch it.

I wear it everyday, mixed in with costume jewelry as well as the real stuff.

In Vogue’s September issue, Chloe Malle writes about the Fuelband as fashion’s hottest accessory.

When I see others sporting one, there’s a tacit understanding that we’re part of the same fitness-tracking tribe.

Wearable tech also includes smart socks, sensor tattoos, heart rate rings. The list goes on.

And then, of course, there’s Google Glass. I wasn’t one of the early adopters  (a.k.a. Glass Explorers) who got a chance to plunk down $1,500 for the beta.

Rise of the Cyborgs? Google co-founder Sergey Brin. (Photo via cnet.com)

Similar to the way Alice’s Looking Glass transported her to a strange alternative world, what you see through Google Glass will be amazing—directions, news headlines, stock quotes to name a few of the endless possibilities in a new augmented reality. I’ll let everyone else get all frantic and huffy about the safety and privacy implications.

What’s really important is if Glass will become stylish enough for mainstream fashionistas like me. There are rumors that Google is partnering with Warby Parker to design hipper frames. And a recent New York Times article described how Google’s all-female Glass product team is working to make it a coveted accessory.

For now, I can’t help but still think of them like this:

From the classic ’80s movie “Sixteen Candles.”

Or this:

Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Geordi LaForge.

And here’s how I imagine they feel on your face:

Cliff wearing some kind of x-ray vision contraption in “Sixteen Candles.”

I’m pretty sure the Googlers will succeed in delivering an elegant version for the mass market. However, there’s one big psychological barrier that makes me hesitate to jump on the bandwagon: my self-image is so closely tied to the black Versace frames I’ve been wearing since 2006. My previous eyeglasses were Prada that had a rose-colored metallic bar across the top and rimless lenses. (I scoured my files for a photo but, alas, couldn’t find one!) While working as a marketing manager at an architecture firm, a male colleague mentioned that my glasses were very “granny.” OMG!! Really?! I thought they were avant-garde! Was I offended? Slightly. But looking in the mirror one day, I had to agree. If only I could get some of the quirky cool associated with architects and designers to rub off on me.

Daniel Libeskind. In 2003, he won the competition to be the master plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. (Photo via daniel-libeskind.com)

Pritzker Prize winner Kazuyo Sejima of the Japanese firm SANAA. (Photo via vimeo.com)

Interior Design magazine editor-in-chief Cindy Allen. (Photo via interiordesign.net)

Inspired, I hightailed it to LensCrafters where I found the perfect replacement. More than just a product to correct near-sightedness, my new spectacles changed how I saw the world, and how the world saw me.

Bespectacled me in 2008. (Photograph by Jessica Marcotte.)

With my mom at her birthday dinner in July 2011.

With Andrew in June 2013.

Selfie in 2011. I did stray once. Wanting a change for New Year’s, I bought a light-colored pair of Burberrys. I still have them but they just weren’t the same.

On the few occasions when I wear contacts, do I appear measurably different?

Andrew took this photo of me in September 2007, about two months after we first met. (Not a hint of make-up either. Man, was I brave.)

A rare instance of attending a snazzy party.

Heading out for a run last year. (Notice the chunky Garmin Forerunner on my wrist. I hadn’t gotten a Fuelband yet.)

Certain accessories become a seamless part of you—whether it’s your signature red lipstick, humongous specs, or sleek pedometer. They form your personal brand and make a statement, strong or subtle. If Google Glass can enhance my vision while projecting my geek-chic best, they may be worth a closer look.

Update on Jan. 29, 2014: This article asks if accessories can make Google Glass more stylish. Umm, I’m thinking no.