Iristocracy: a New and Improved Online Eyewear Experience?

It’s never been easier to order glasses online, with no shortage of options promising cheap frames – prescription included – and quick fulfilment. So when the folks at Iristocracy contacted us, touting a more diverse selection and better customer service, we were intrigued, but skeptical. After all, there’s only so much you can do for a customer through email or a website. As it turns out, Iristocracy completely understands.

Iristocracy.com
Iristocracy.com

Launched online in 2013, Iristocracy boasts hundreds of frames available for purchase, from favourites like Linda Farrow and Phillip Lim, to hard-to-find brands like Erdem, SUNO and Vincent Kaes. While most eyewear sites only sell their own line, the beauty of Iristocracy is in their diverse and well-curated selection. We spotted classic Ray-Bans on the site, but, encouraged to keep browsing, ended up finding frames we liked from Kris Van Assche. A few clicks later, we were discovering Dutz – a collection of minimalist, stainless steel frames from Holland. New glasses-wearers will easily find a pair they like, through Iristocracy’s 11 different search filters (I.e. Face Shape, Personality, Price). Eyewear connoisseurs, meantime, will love browsing through the pages and pages of designer options – akin to browsing the racks at Barneys, par example, but from the comfort of home.

As with many online sites, Iristocracy offers a virtual try-on option and also a physical try-on kit. This is where the site differs from the rest. We used the virtual try-on option to narrow down four pairs that we liked, then placed an order to try them on in person. While most sites send the try-on kit to your home, Iristocracy works with a number of optometrists across the country to not only offer an eye exam, but to also ensure that a trained professional is fitting you for the frames.

Our Retail Try-On Kit
Our Retail Try-On Kit

Here in LA, we were introduced to Dr. Kambiz Silani at Beverly Hills Optometry. Better known as the “Beverly Hills Eye Guy,” Dr. Silani was totally friendly and hospitable, inviting us into his office for a consultation and to try on the four frames we had requested. Though we had selected the frames based on style, Dr. Silani explained the pros and cons of each pair, at least when it came to our prescription, eye history and day-to-day needs. It was an eye-opening (no pun intended) consultation, helping us realize that there’s a lot more to picking out a good pair of glasses than the way it fits your face – or matches your outfit.

It’s the same reason why Iristocracy’s founders say they won’t be filling out prescriptions online. Too many prescriptions are filled inaccurately online and left to chance, they explain, and your eyes are too important for chance. Important measurements like PD (pupillary distance) are also more accurate when done in person.

Dries Van Noten DVN55
Dries Van Noten DVN55

After chatting with Dr. Silani for about half an hour, we had our frames picked out – a chunky, updated aviator style in matte black from Dries Van Noten. Dr. Silani recommended a gradient tint – non-polarized – for the lenses, and made sure our prescription was up to date. Then, it was time to take them to the lab.

A week later, we were back at Beverly Hills Optometry to try on our new, customized Dries Van Noten shades. Dr. Silani adjusted the temples to fit our head, and gently tweaked the nose bridge to rest more comfortably on our face. It was these personal touches (not to mention the initial consultation) that helped us see the difference in what Iristocracy is providing. It’s easy enough to find a cool pair of glasses online, but it’s the in-person experience that really ensures that you’re getting the best pair out there for your eyes. Through Iristocracy, we were able to shop from hundreds of fashion-forward pairs of frames, and also get referred to an eyewear specialist to look after our vision and health. It’s the best of both worlds and truly, a new and improved view of buying glasses on the internet.

As for us, we’re getting a ton of compliments on our new Dries Van Noten frames, and may have just made a new BFF in the Beverly Hills Eye Guy. It’s safe to say we’ll be seeing more of him and Iristocracy very soon!