We're enamored of the simple premise behind London-based Archibald Optics: peruse the company's online catalogue and request three different frames (which will be sent to you at no charge); try on the various styles at home (or, for that matter, wherever you may find yourself); ask friends and family what they think of your selections (and perhaps snap a few pics to share on Instagram); then provide Archibald Optics with the name and style number of your final choice, specific bespoke requirements and, of course, your prescription. Your customized specs will be made in Japan and shipped directly to you.
We had the opportunity to test at least part of this process: we enlisted the help of a "real guy" model (that's Nick, above), and ordered a set of frames we thought would complement his great features. Then we dressed him up, overhauled his grooming, and took some pictures. In the end, we liked the Abebe frame (top) the best: its masculine lines flatter Nick's face, and its shades of honeyed tortoise work well with Nick's coloring. (Fun fact: the frame is named for Abebe Bikila, famed barefoot champion of the 1960 Olympic marathon.) Like its namesake, the Abebe was far-and-away the winner–the two (distant) runners-up were the Fergusen (above, left) and the Ayrton (above, right). As for Archibald Optics itself? Service like this outstrips the competition.
Photographs by Noël Sutherland. Grooming by Davide Marinelli/MUZE Salon. Produced and styled by Mark Grischke for Fashion As a 2nd Language