Buying Glasses Online with London Retro and Glasses Direct – The Results

Posted in Fashion, Writing.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the first stage of buying glasses online through Glasses Direct. In that post, I had tried some London Retro frames through the Home Trial service (where plain lens glasses are sent for you to try and return) and was trying to make the decision.

With a bit of help from you guys and my Twitter friends, I finally settled on Soho, and chose Queens as my free second pair (an offer available on through Glasses Direct when you spend over £59). The ordering process was initially quite simple – Glasses Direct talk you through every step, and even provide a guide to getting your prescription and understanding it. Entering the values was clear and it was all going so well until I was asked for my Pupillary Distance (PD, aka the distance between your pupils. Duh). This isn’t included on your prescription unless you ask for it, and even then opticians can be a little funny about giving it out. Glasses Direct allow you to choose an average PD but they don’t accept self-measurements, which I found out AFTER I’d downloaded an iPhone app then brandished a shatterproof ruler at Rob and asked him to ‘measure my eyes please’.

After speaking to the lovely people at Glasses Direct, I sent an old pair of frames to them which they used to measure my PD and then returned. No, I have no idea how that works either. But after that, my prescription was sorted and my order was sent to the lab to be made up. Hooray!

Even with my ridiculous ‘complex prescription’ and lack of PD measurement, my glasses arrived a week later. They’re almost perfect – I can see (always a bonus), but I really should’ve chosen thinned lenses rather than regular ones. This is where ordering glasses online falls down for me – although the customer service is excellent and very helpful, there’s no one with you when you’re ordering to advise you. No one to gently tell you those ‘edgy’ hipster frames make you look like Timmy Mallet, no one to say tortoiseshell really suits your colouring and no one to remind you that without the thinning treatment, your lenses look a bit like jam jars and it’s really not worth the slight monetary saving.

Despite all that, I was very impressed with the service from Glasses Direct and I think the designs from London Retro are gorgeous. I adore my new frames – what do you think?



My regular glasses, which are by Ralph Lauren at Vision Express. I wrote about my love for Vision Express here.

I’m wearing a Gap tee and horseshoe necklace from Me & Zena.

Full disclosure – I was given a gift card to purchase a pair of London Retro frames but was not expected to write about them, nor was I paid to write this post.



I laughed out loud at MEASURE MY EYES PLEASE and then proceeded to read that paragraph to Sam. You look amazing in the first pair especially x


Total fabulousness….I was intending to purchase from Glasses Direct and the London Retro range when I finally have enough money to purchase some new ones, so I’m very glad that you boldly went first….

Sounds like it gets quite complicated, and I’d probably end up confused if it wasnt for you and your roundup of how it went for you.

You look great in your choices, and I too giggled at the ‘measure my eyes please’ bit…

Diary of a Tinyholder

for the pd measurement (pupillary distance) just get someone to measure between both your pupils using a ruler. I find vision express extortionate and always buy online now. I have several different coloured pairs and change them like jewellery these days! 🙂

Miss Raj

I know we’re talking glasses frames here, but to go off on a tangent a bit – your eye make-up looks stunning. Your eyes look absolutely beautiful in these shots, so soft. Back on track now, I love the frames. I especially love the second pair which i believe are the Queens? GREAT for a night out when you want something a little more glamourous. Unfortunately I’m yet to find a pair of glasses to suit my VERY round face; so even though strictly speaking I’m meant to wear reading glasses, I run a million miles! Any suggestions? Glad you had a good experience with Glasses Direct.


I love Queens frames, they really suit your soft features and elfin crop. They make me want to buy new glasses!


I have the Soho frames, love the tortoiseshell.
The Queens really suit you, but you suit glasses anyway, both look great on you.



These specs look brilliant, but you are very brave buying offline!
Many opticians won’t give measurements such as PDs because it is too variable. You have a near PD and a distance PD. Your left and right pupil may sit in different places, so say you get a measurement of 60mm, you would divide it by two to get L&R at 30mm, but if you do not have perfectly symmetrical eyes (which very few people do), then your PD could be totally wrong! There are other specialist measurements to consider, such as your Head Width, the bend at the ear tips and the Pantoscopic angle of your specs. The reason specs cost so much in the shops is because a lot of knowledge and work goes into ensuring they are custom made for each patient (if you go to the right opticians!)
Also with a complex prescription, a lens that isn’t thinned down can occasionally cause distortion in your vision, as well ad being uncomfortably heavy!
I am really pleased you had a good experience online, but be wary, not all websites are as helpful! xx


I know this was an old post about London Retro specs, but I am curious as to the long-term toughness of them, as one tends to accidentally fall asleep wearing them. The prices do seem very competitive but I am curious as to the quality of the materials- if they get bent, the hinges go bad etc. I have experienced similar difficulties with respect to high Rx, astigmatism, refused PD, ‘cokebottles’ etc.


Hi B, unfortunately I didn’t wear them for long enough to really test their durability… I’ve had a pair of Tom Fords for 2 years now though, and they’ve been amazing. They withstand everything I throw at them!


Leave a comment