San Francisco's Finest Optic Shops


If you need an incentive to make an eye appointment, here's one. Fashion's recent love affair with vintage-inspired frames, both prescription and non, have people experimenting for the better. A handsome frame can add a personal touch to any look. Sunglasses are always in vogue, but we're finding that boys do make passes at girls who wear glasses. Have a gander at the city's new and tried and true optical shops.

The Minimalist: Warby Parker Showroom in The Parish Trust

If you're in a New York frame of mind, make an appointment at Warby Parker's showroom within Divisadero's The Parish Trust. The NYC-based industry newbie Parker is reinventing the wheel with stylish vintage-inspired eyewear with a philanthropic twist—the company donates one pair of glasses to a non-profit partner for every pair purchased. Every frame is $95 and has anti-reflective, polycarbonate prescription lenses. A peruse through The Parish Trust's charming antiques shop is an added bonus.

728 Divisadero Street between Grove and Fulton, 888-492-7297

The Adventurer: Fine Arts Optical

For Fine Arts Optical owner Ray Asher, optics are a way of life. He comes from eyewear lineage and has been collecting vintage frames since the '50s. Many of those frames, and exotic bamboo, horn and wood frames, can be found in the spacious gallery-slash-optical-shop. Make a field trip out of it with a friend and have some fun times trying on Fine Arts Optical fabulous retro frames.

888 Valencia Street at 20th, 415-345-1200

The Bargain Hunter: Elan Optical, The Jewelry Center

Elan Optical is a full-service optical store that also does frame repairs. You need to make an appointment to get into SoMA's Jewelry Center, but the trimmed down prices make the effort worthwhile so you might as well schedule your eye appointment too. Half sunglasses, half spectacles, their collection ranges from classic and elegant frames by Jimmy Choo and Alexander McQueen and to vibrant and trendy ones by Miu Miu and Marc by Marc Jacobs.

888 Brannan Street, Suite 194, 415-626-8301

Euro-Centric: Alain Mikli

France's Alain Mikli found a proper home in Union Square last fall, bringing with it a dose of Parisian eclectic. There's no on-site optician, but there are fashion consultants standing by. Sunglasses and specs in an array of colors and styles have an overarching chic to them. A new collection with Jean Paul Gaultier is perfectly timed with the de Young museum's upcoming Gaultier exhibit.

73 Geary Street between Grant and Kearny, 415-989-0373

Fashion Fans: Illori

Up a few doors from Burberry and across from Zara, the small but excellently edited Illori carries designer sunglasses and frames. The friendly staff is well versed in the current trends and will spend a generous amount of time advising you. Sunglasses are the main attraction so bring your prescription for some fresh shades here. The newest styles from Tom Ford, Ray Ban, Prada, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Oakley and many more sit alongside hard-to-find designer frames by Phillip Lim, Derek Lam, Marni and Mosley Tribes. If Chanel is a favorite, call Illori home.

245 Post Street between Stockton and Grant, 415-398-4148

Sam Durbin ( is a California lifestyle writer who honed her blogging skills as Editor of Sam graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, and also writes for 7x7 Magazine, Gilt City and Zagat.

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