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Should You Go Cheap on Eyeglass Frames?

In the film Fight Club, Tyler Durden says, “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [stuff] we don’t need.”

Yeah, Durden is right. Not a one of us needs a pricey pair of eyeglass frames — or logo’d handbags, shoes, and trench coats for that matter. But we might want them, just the same. The daily challenge for a budget fashionista is deciding which pieces to splurge on. Below I’ll cover factors to consider when deciding if eyeglass frames are spend-worthy or better as a budget purchase.

Smiling woman wearing eyeglasses with text of post title.
Source: Canva.

Price ranges for eyeglass frames

Let’s start with the frame landscape. You can spend a lot or very little on eyeglass frames. For example, you can buy:

  • Face A Face glasses for $475 to $620 a set. If you’re looking for interesting, colorful frames to express your individualism — and you have a healthy budget — this brand is a distinctive choice.  
  • Gucci, Prada, Tom Ford, Tiffany & Co. and similar brands are available from various retailers for $200 to $500. With these, the logo is usually the selling point. Styles range from mildly interesting to ho-hum.
  • Midrange brands like Warby Parker price themselves in the $100 to $200 price range. These brands emphasize customer service and quality. I own a pair of Warby Park sunglasses and they are quite nice.
  • No-name frames from discount online retailers start around $20 and range up. Discount retailers usually have dozens of styles, ranging from traditional to bold and quirky.

So, you have options at all price points. To settle on your spending sweet spot, the factors in play include how you want to show up to those around you, your commitment to style, how often you wear glasses, and your budget.

How you want to show up

Your personal style probably changes from day to day, depending on your mood, the weather, and your calendar. But there’s probably one style that’s your go-to, and that’s the vibe that should influence your purchase of eyeglass frames.

There are many factors that influence a person’s personal style, including how they want to be perceived, the value they place on appearance, societal norms, personal preferences, and self-expression.

Courtney Morgan, Licensed Therapist (LPCC) and founder of Counseling Unconditionally

Here’s a look at a few popular styles and what each may say about the type of glasses you’ll love. 

Classic and elegant

You love luxury and logos. You tend to make your statement with rich textures and meticulously crafted pieces, rather than bright colors and patterns.

As a luxury enthusiast, you may not be happy with budget eyeglass frames, even if they’re designer copycats. This is a time to hunt for a bargain on the logo’d frames you crave. With a well-timed sale, you can keep your cost below $200. Then keep those glasses in a hard case wrapped in a soft cloth, so they last as long as possible.


You’re eclectic style-wise if you’re happy to team an embroidered thrift store jean with a floral blouse from White House Black Market. You probably enjoy borrowing from all style categories to create your own unique look. You may also have perfect vision, but like to wear fake glasses for the look.

My advice to you: Spend as little as you can on frames because you’re going to want more than one pair. Shop the discount houses for fun frame that show off your quirkiness.


Oversized athleisure is your world, along with big, bold logos.

Chances are, you gravitate towards large, rectangular frames or aggressive wrap-around styles. You can find these on the cheap if you can handle wearing a generic frame. Otherwise, you may need to buy the real deal from, say, Loewe or Givenchy.


Flowing floral dresses, lace elements, and pastels are pillars of the romantic style. You don’t always dress like you’re walking in a field of sunflowers, of course. On casual days, you might slip into a lightweight blouse paired with denim shorts and flat-soled sandals — with your hair pulled back into a loose bun.

A cat-eye shape aligns perfectly with your feminine style. Fortunately, you can find a range of cat-eye frames at all price points. So, you can go budget, assuming you don’t also have a love for logos.

Your commitment to style

Maybe you love the expensive look, but you’re not obsessed with it. You can live with mixing and matching logo’d wear with some basics you bought at Old Navy, for example.

This is where a bit of self-reflection points you to the right decision. Decide how flexible you are with respect to style. If you’re very flexible, there’s no need to buy pricey frames. On the other hand, if you buy cheap frames and hate them, you’ll eventually buy pricey ones, too. That costs you more money and angst vs. splurging from the start.

How often you wear glasses

If you only reach for the glasses when your eyes need a break from contacts, keep your shopping limited to lower-cost options. You’re not going to see them on your face often enough to crave something more.

Fulltime glasses play a bigger role in your life and your look. They’re practically an extension of your face. Take this decision slowly. Shop all price points and bring in some friends to help. Set out to find a frame you adore for lowest price possible. You still may end up spending a lot, but you’ll be happier about the decision if you gave the cheaper options a good look.

You may want to see: Different face shapes and the frames to flatter them.

Your budget

Budget is either your first consideration or your last. It’s your first consideration if:

  • You have trouble paying bills monthly.
  • You’re not saving to an emergency fund monthly.
  • You’re not saving for retirement monthly.

If any of the above are true, opt for low-cost eyeglasses — even if your style brain is urging you down a different path. Fend off the buyer’s remorse by committing to revisiting the frame choice once you get your finances in order.

Final thoughts

You should go cheap on your eyeglass purchase if your household budget is constrained. If you can absorb a $300 purchase without losing sleep, then you have more flexibility. Let your style and your commitment to that style be your guide. 

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