How to Wear a Monocle
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From Mr. Peanut to hipsters, these circular, fashionable eyepieces have been in style since the 19th century. For those who aren’t familiar with monocles or how to wear a monocle, we’re here to inform you of the best practices for this unique visual aid and statement piece.
If you stumbled onto this article and wondered: Wait, what are monocles for? or What is the purpose of a monocle? — we totally get that.
If you haven’t been exposed to them normally, they probably remind you of the Monopoly Man costume. They are an integral part of his old-school businessman look.
While we can’t ignore the historical relevance of a monocle (they were used by top-societal men and women to aid in reading), these circular magnifiers have become a symbol of the rich.
One of the main problems with monocles is they’re a little intimidating, and most of us don’t know how to wear a monocle. Not to worry!
We’ve compiled some history, expert tips, and suggestions on how to integrate these small pieces into an outfit, plus how to make sure you’re wearing them comfortably and practically.
Read on to learn the dos and don’ts of wearing these jewelry-forward, eyesight-enhancing little numbers, whether it’s around your neck as a statement piece or on your face to increase visibility. We’ll also talk about how to wear a monocle and where to find one, depending on what you’ll be using it for!
What Is a Monocle Used For?
We want to make sure you know the answers to an important question: What is a monocle used for? It’s not just for costumes, they do have a purpose.
Monocles are used to magnify images, much like reading glasses. They add clarity and definition to text and images for anyone who can’t see things close up.
Now that you know what a monocle is used for, you might think: Why do people wear monocles? Well, sometimes reading glasses are too much of a commitment, and you can’t carry magnifying glasses all the time around in your pocket. Plus, if you have a monocle wrapped around your neck, you combine function and fashion all-in-one!
How Does a Monocle Work?
If you’ve ever come across someone who has one of these unique eyepieces, you might be considering: How does a monocle work? Don’t worry, we’ll answer all of your queries about this age-old fashion statement. So hang in there while we explain.
On one side of the circular disc that is your monocle, there are two small, flat platforms called galleries. These little protrusions are, through gravity and tension, how to keep the monocle on your face.
Once the eyepiece is appropriately placed (which is the next concept we will outline when instructing you on how to put on a monocle), it can stay on without fail!
The other part of how a monocle works is the purpose behind wearing one, once you’ve got it on. Monocles are magnifiers for those of us with bad eyesight.
They’re less of a commitment than eyeglasses, especially because you can wear them around your neck or attached to your outfit, rather than toting around a clunky pair of glasses. Easy peasy!
How to Wear a Monocle? Steps To Follow
Next in this bird’s-eye view of how to wear a monocle article, we want to tell you how to put on a monocle because if you have one, you definitely need to know.
And we won’t stop there. Besides getting you comfortable with putting one on (and having it stay there), we want to give some style tips, showcasing great outfit ideas, and the great designs out there.
To inspire you on the many ways to source and style your eyewear, we wanted to provide some suggestions and pictures to increase your range on how to wear a monocle. Below are a few different ways to rock these tiny yet powerful accessories to their fullest potential, depending on what kind of fashion statement you want to make!
First, there’s the classic, old-school representation of a monocle — the exact image you might visualize when thinking of the gorgeous style from the 20s and 30s.
Wearing these eyepieces in combination with a formal Victorian-inspired outfit is a traditional way to sport a monocle and totally fitting of the era.
Next, you’ve got monocles that are more like an accessory rather than for functionality, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be both. While the art deco, handmade style monocles are beyond gorgeous, they might sit a little less comfortably on your face, depending on the way they’ve been crafted.
Even if you don’t use this eyewear accessory in the typical fashion, you can still use it as a magnifier. This means you don’t have to carry around a cumbersome magnifying glass in your pocket or squint to read anything. With a monocle hanging from your outfit, you can quickly focus on any small text with ease.
Your friends may initially scoff at your choice of eyewear, but once they understand the convenience of the monocle, you may inspire them to go get one for themselves.
If your outfit is more on the neutral side, you can always zhuzh it up with a statement monocle. It’s the new way of adding an unexpected piece to your look.
Just like any high fashion accessory, you can source out the perfectly edgy, inspiring, and awesome monocle that doesn’t just provide your eyes with better sight, but style to your wardrobe.
Forget the hairpiece or the big necklace — you just need a gorgeously-crafted monocle, and you’re on your way.
Of course, there are monocles that are less for fashion and more what they were created for in the first place centuries ago — reading! You don’t have to be looking for style when rocking a monocle (although that might be a welcomed byproduct). You can just be a practical, fashion-forward eyewear enthusiast in search of the perfect lens.
Lastly, there’s the most obvious look for the monocle — steampunk. This is one of the more popular fashion angles right now. This strong, powerful, and admirable fashion sense is growing in popularity as we speak.
Adding a monocle to your Victorian-meets-punk look will give you an edge over what other folks are making so their steampunk style is complete.
The most popular monocles to sport for a steampunk look are quite modest, made with delicate wires and a no-frills chain. Not only are there a variety of metals for frames, but a range of colors for the lens, including green, blue, and orange.
These can be worn as costume accessories or be fitted with true prescription lenses.
The first thing you’ll need to do in preparation for putting on your monocle is to pinch it by the little loops on the exterior of the ring, the circle that attaches your monocle to its hanging string.
Then, you’ll need to turn the side that has the galleries on it face up towards your face. Now, you’re ready to bring the eyewear up to your face and get it fitted.
The next step to putting on your monocle is getting the galleries adjusted appropriately, to ensure the most comfortable fit. You’ll want to start by placing one of the two galleries on your cheekbone and find the shelf where the gallery will sit without having it jab into your socket.
That may sound obvious but it can happen. It’s pretty much as uncomfortable as it sounds! Feel free to play around a little, so you can get the perfect location.
Next, you’re going to raise your eyebrow to make as much space as possible to get the second upper gallery to sit underneath your brow bone, kind of the way you might look when you’re super surprised.
Once again, the gallery shouldn’t be digging into your socket, it should be using a natural tension between your brow and cheekbone to sit comfortably.
You also want to make sure the monocle is sitting far enough out from your eye that your eyelashes aren’t brushing up against the lens, as that would add discomfort to the long-term wear of your monocle.
Between the placement and the security of your monocle, it might just take some fiddling to get it just right.
Now, you’ll want to be able to move around without your monocle falling. Can you imagine the embarrassment if it happened in front of all your super-rich elite circle of friends?
Once you’ve got the monocle placed and the galleries feel comfortable and secure, you should be able to turn your head from side to side, up and down, without the monocle shifting, falling out, or rubbing against your lashes. If it does, you’ll need to readjust it until it sits just right.
If everything feels good, then you have nailed it! We’re proud of you for figuring it out. However, having it sit and making sure it fits your face properly are two separate issues.
If you’re experiencing these problems, there are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure it sits perfectly and it’s the right size for your face.
- Are you squinting hard to keep the monocle in? Then it’s too small, and over time, your muscle will be working overdrive to keep that eyepiece in. You shouldn’t have to walk around looking angry, wrinkling your forehead to keep your eyewear in. You wouldn’t do that with glasses, so don’t do it with monocles! You’ll need to size up.
- Is the monocle pulling down the skin of your under eye where the fleshy bit is showing? Is it raising your eyebrow higher than the other one? This might mean the monocle is too big. Even though it might not fall out, having those vulnerable bits of eye showing can be uncomfortable after a few minutes — you’ll need to size down.
How to Make a Monocle Stay On?
Okay, so we’ve gone over how great a monocle can look. But an important question to ask yourself, other than how to wear a monocle, is how do monocles stay on your face when you’re wearing one?
Great questions, and worthy of a detailed response. We wanted to know the same things, so we went deep into the rabbit hole of this eyewear.
It seems like everyone is in agreement the first step is to get one that is fitted personally to you. As we’ve outlined, there are different sizes of monocles — they can be too big, too small, or just right. If it’s the latter of these options, it shouldn’t budge unless you want it to, regardless of whether you’re moving, shaking, bending down, or going about your day-to-day life.
The key to any well-placed, stay-on-your-face monocle is the galleries at the top and bottom of the eyepiece. If each one is resting where it should be (on the brow bone and cheekbone), the monocle should stay on from the natural tension of your skin. Once you get used to placing it perfectly on your face, the rest will be history!
Where Can I Buy a Monocle?
If you’ve read through this article and are now wondering: Sure, this is great but where can I buy a monocle? Well, we figured you’d ask, so we did a little digging. Whether you’re looking for a monocle to suit some artsy needs, practical eye-glasses needs, or to aid in a complete fashion look, there are a few great places to locate a monocle:
- Reading Glass World
- Nine Life
Is a Monocle Comfortable?
The short answer? It should be! Wearing a monocle should (and can) be as comfortable to wear as any other type of traditional eyewear. If you need a monocle to help with your eyesight, you can get one fitted for the perfect size and style by most eyewear providers.
There are plenty of different types out there to suit your needs, much like regular glasses.
However, there are a lot of gorgeous and less practical monocles out there that are uber-stylish but are a little less flexible when it comes to wearability.
We’re talking vintage styles or steampunk fashion statements. If you’re going to wear a handmade art-deco piece on your cheekbone, it might not sit as well as a mass-produced modern style.
Luckily, most eyepieces come on a string or chain, which makes the question of how to wear a monocle a pretty easy answer. As a versatile accessory, it can be worn as a necklace, on your face, or around your neck when you’re not using it (and if you want to sport it as a super cute fashion accessory).
It’s a win-win! Monocles are an easy item to wear.
The biggest question you need to ask yourself is what you want to do with this eyepiece and how to wear a monocle that’s come into your possession. Is it the right size and does it fit on your face? Is it for fashion or functionality, or both? Then you can wear it appropriately, comfortably, and practically, without having to compromise style.
Well, we enjoyed the heck out of digging into the deep, colorful, and fashionable world of the monocle. We hope you loved learning about these awesome and powerful eyewear accessories as well as how to wear a monocle properly.
Regardless of the interesting history and new-age obsession with monocles, we had to wonder if we would wear one?
While researching their legacy and how they’re worn, it’s safe to say we were beyond impressed with how persistent and manageable the art of wearing a monocle has remained throughout time.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and that certainly applies to these eyepieces. They’re practical, tiny, and cool, and that’s all there is to it.
If you’re asking yourself whether you’d rather carry around reading glasses or a magnifying glass instead of wearing a monocle around your neck, well, we think we know the answer.
It makes sense that you’d opt for a monocle, regardless of whether it’s to sport a handmade, vintage fashion statement, or to assist with visuals! Monocles make more sense.
The final verdict on whether you should wear a monocle? Heck yes. We may not own a monocle yet, but if there’s one thing this overview has done, it’s inspired us.
Whether it’s to see better, to be less burdened by more cumbersome eyepieces, or to rock a gorgeous, vintage, and traditional accessory — there’s no wrong answer. It’s all good!
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