When Sheel Davison-Lungley was studying ophthalmology, E.B. Meyrowitz was her dream job. The eyewear specialist, founded in 1875, had a reputation for uncompromising quality and a history of outfitting the earliest motorists and aviators with superlative goggles. But by the ’90s, the brand had passed through a series of owners and its once-storied glasses no longer lived up to the Meyrowitz name. That’s when Davison-Lungley took the reins and set about restoring the brand to its former glory.
At its shop in London’s Royal Arcade, E.B. Meyrowitz is once again frequented by discerning aesthetes in search of exceptional specs. It is perhaps best known for its bespoke glasses—thoughtfully designed to suit each individual, down to the curves of one’s nose—but Meyrowitz’s ready-made frames are just as meticulously handcrafted, using the same top-notch materials. It’s a keenly edited collection that favors timeless elegance over passing trends and, as such, additions are carefully considered.
The latest model to join Meyrowitz’s elite ranks is a rugged, aviator-esque style called ‘The Californian’. As the name suggests, the glasses’ sleek contours and commanding flat top were inspired by bikers on the Golden State’s desert roads. Steve McQueen may have opted for Persol back in his day, but ‘The Californian’ refines that attitude for today’s kings of cool. Available in five shades of Italian acetate, only 20 pairs of the limited-edition design have been produced in each color.
But, are they the shades for you? Much like tailoring, successful eyewear is about much more than just style: fit, silhouette, balance. Choosing glasses requires as much consideration as choosing a suit, which is why we turned to Davison-Lungley for her expertise. Below, her advice on what to look for (hint: it’s not the old X frame for Y face shape routine) to find the perfect specs.
“The outermost section of the rims—the verticals just before the lugs—are one of the first things we look at. It is so important that they correspond to the jawline of the client. Too wide or too narrow and the frame won’t only seem ill-sized, but also out of harmony with one of the most important features of the face.”
“The top line of the rims is also a very significant feature of the frame. It must be sized appropriately, relative to the strength of a client’s bone structure. Frames will take over the face and wear the client if the contours are too thick [for those with fine bone structure] and, conversely, look weak and insipid if built too thin [for those with more pronounced bone structure].”
Skin Tone & Hair Color
“Color should also be considered carefully in accordance with the aesthetic desire and lifestyle of the client. Hues should either contrast or compliment the client’s skin tone and hair color. For something more subtle, complementary colors work best—the neutral tones of buffalo horn or tortoiseshell mottles work especially well for this. For bolder plays, contrasting colors can achieve the desired effect—walnut and maple veneers make a great choice.”
“A thorough analysis of one’s facial composition is key when designing a technically sound and aesthetically beautiful set of spectacles. Without taking into account a client’s lifestyle, however, that new commission may well end up as no more than a cabinet showpiece. It is important to take time to analyze the different settings in which a client will need his glasses and then suggest possible options: a subtler pair for work, something more interesting for the evening and a set which can be subjected to a little more wear-and-tear for outdoorsy activities.”