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Balzare all’Occhio: Italian Style and Eyewear

Balzare all’Occhio: Italian Style and Eyewear

The Italian expression balzare all’occhio means to attract someone’s attention, to be noticeable. Italians are known for having a great sense of style, and their eyewear is no exception. Italy has a long-standing tradition of producing high-quality glasses, combining elegant design with cutting-edge technology.  From classic frames to bold sunglasses, there’s a wide range of options to choose from.

Whether you want to express your personality or protect your eyes from the sun, Italian eyewear offers timeless style and superior quality that never goes out of fashion.

Eyeglasses Were Invented in Italy

18th century Scissor Spectacles. / Wikimedia

History shows us the evolution of eyeglasses and their importance in society.  First used solely as an instrument to help people with vision problems, eyeglasses now come in different colors and styles and are both functional and esthetical.

As far back as 70 AD Roman philosopher Seneca noted that objects viewed through a glass globe filled with water were magnified and more distinct.

The first known pair of eyeglasses used to correct vision was likely created in the 1280s by a monk in Pisa, Italy, who hoped to keep his invention a secret. It was Alessandro della Spina, a Franciscan friar, who is widely credited with having made copies of this technology and sharing it with the world.

Scissor spectacles with handles to hold to the eyes were first manufactured by Salvino D’Armate in Florence in 1284. The lenses corrected hyperopia and presbyopia and had metal frames and handles.

Between 1284 to the 1400s, artisans in Venice, Italy created crystal working guilds and eyeglass lens standards. Eyeglasses were shipped around Europe by the end of the 14th century.

Italian Style and Eyewear

Italian celebrities such as Arisa, Marco Giallini and Dargen D’Amico are often seen in glasses, which have become signature fashion accessories for their looks. It is hard to imagine any of them without glasses. 

In 1981, Italian actress, Sophia Loren was the first female celebrity to launch a designer eyewear collection. She was already known for her sophisticated style and recognized that women wanted eyewear to represent elegance and beauty and to evoke glamour and femininity.

Sophia Loren in oversized tinted glasses / Wikimedia

Unsurprisingly, many other Italian celebrities and fashion designers such as Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Persol, Dolce & Gabbana and many other designer fashion brands offer a selection of stylish eyewear.

How Your Eyeglasses Help Others See You

Considered a fashion accessory as important as shoes or a scarf, eyewear is a great way to show off your character and style. Eyeglass form and color have been connected to personality or perceived traits. Although scientific proof is limited, these associations are generally based on anecdotes and surveys.

A psychological study by the University of Vienna evaluated how glasses affect facial recognition and impressions. Four investigations examined how full-rim and rimless glasses affect facial perception, identification, distinctiveness, and stereotype attribution. Another study assessed wearers’ self-image in different frames.

Key conclusions from both studies:

  • Glasses affect the perception of intelligence and trustworthiness.
  • When asked to match personality traits with frame shapes, candidates matched round frames with artistic creativity, rectangular frames with serious personalities, cat-eyed frames with carefree, whimsical personalities, and rimless glasses evoked trustworthiness.
  • They also found that candidates when describing a person they had met only once, remembered eyeglasses but not eye color or other features such as a beard.

    Remember, these are generalizations. Everyone should be themselves without preconceptions.

Choosing a Frame for Your Face

Illustration by Depositphotos

Selecting the perfect eyeglass frames that complement your face shape and enhance your overall appearance requires careful consideration of several key elements.

Firstly, understanding your face shape is crucial. Certain frame styles will suit you better than others, whether you have a round, oval, square, heart, or diamond-shaped face. For instance, rectangular frames often flatter round faces by adding angles and definition, while oval faces can easily pull off various frame shapes.

Secondly, considering your skin tone can help you choose a frame color that complements your complexion. Warm undertones often pair well with earthy tones like tortoiseshell, while cooler undertones harmonize with silver or black frames.

Lastly, think about your personal style and lifestyle. Frames come in a range of materials and designs, from classic to trendy, so selecting a style that aligns with your preferences and daily activities is essential.

Shopping for Eyewear

Shop for eyewear at Serravalle Designer Outlet

Before choosing a frame and style, it is recommended to do a complete checkup and vision test with an optometrist. Once you have determined the kind of lenses (corrective or protective), you are ready to choose a style.

Almost every Italian designer has an eyewear brand; Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Persol, Dolce & Gabbana and more can all be found at Serravalle Designer Outlet located just one hour from Milan. Define your look with quality fashion brands and save up to 70% on clothing and accessories.

Serravalle Designer Outlet

Serravalle Designer Outlet offers an unparalleled shopping experience with its vast selection of designer brands, convenient location and discounted prices.

There are over 230 stores at Serravalle Designer Outlet offering up to 70% off luxury brands, restaurants, and special services such as hands-free shopping and immediate tax-free refund for non-EU visitors (now available for UK residents).

Tax-free shopping in Italy

Tax-free shopping in Italy offers non-European Union (EU) residents the chance to save on purchases through the VAT refund system. You can apply for an immediate refund in the  Serravalle Designer Outlet tax refund office.

Serravalle Designer Outlet
Via della Moda 1
Serravalle Scrivia 15069
Tel.  +39 0143 609000

Oct 12, 2023 United Nations World Sight Day

We join the United Nations in observance of World Sight Day. Each year, the second Thursday of October is dedicated to eyesight and to advocating awareness of blindness. UN World Sight Day is an initiative to work toward preventing avoidable blindness and vision impairment as well as promote inclusiveness for people affected.

Featured image by Andrew Lozovyi / DP

Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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