“I think glasses can really elevate an outfit”
Chantelle Znideric, award-winning personal stylist, on her favourite frames, her style icon, and the confidence-boosting effects of style
24 August 2023
How many pairs of spectacles/sunglasses do you own?I own 10 to 15 pairs of spectacles and sunglasses. As a personal stylist, I love to express my style and personality through my glasses. I think glasses can really elevate an outfit. You can change them up and look at different colours, so I think it’s a really exciting way to accessorise.
Spectacle wearer since: age 11. Number of frames: 10 to 15
What frame shapes, colours or styles do you usually go for?When I was younger, I went for quite small glasses and rectangular shapes, but over the years, I’ve come to love the big frames. I’ve got some lovely red Celine frames, which are quite big, thick plastic frames. I have a pair of ‘Halley’ frames by Bird Eyewear, which I wear all the time because they’re just so light and go with everything. I’ve got Transition lenses in them, so they’re perfect to wear in the day when it’s sunny, and I do a lot of driving so it's really cool just to have one pair for everything.
How long have you worn spectacles for? What prompted you to go for your first sight test?I remember when I first started secondary school, I was 11 and I was sat at the back of the class because I didn’t want to be seen, but that meant I couldn’t actually see the board. I thought, I probably need to go and have an eye test. At the eye test they confirmed that I needed to wear glasses. I was quite excited to start wearing frames.
Can you describe your favourite pair?I’ve got so many glasses. I went to have a look at all of them [before the interview] and found a pair of Gucci sunglasses, which I bought when I was probably about 18. I was really excited to find those. That Y2K style is back in. I put them on and thought: I’m actually going to wear them again. Loads of memories came back: what I used to wear with them and what my hair was like. All these styles eventually come back into fashion.
Who would you pick as your style icon when it comes to eyewear?My favourite style icon is Iris Apfel. She has such an amazing style, but her glasses are like her signature. I love that she is very playful, she wears bold colours and bold prints. Her glasses are like an extension of herself.
What does vision and eye health mean to you?I think having good eye health is so important. A few years ago, I went for a regular eye test in Guilford. They found that I had really high pressure in my eyes. So literally on that day, they called the hospital and I had to go in immediately for them to have a look at my eyes in more detail. That was quite a shock, because you just automatically think that your eye health is going to always be in good condition. It was quite scary and unexpected. I ended up needing treatment. Since then I’ve tried to do what I can to look after my eyes.
How important is eyewear in reflecting your personality?People want to express their personalities so I think it’s really fun to be playful with your glasses. Some people might be in quite a corporate job in a serious or a senior position, and they might not have the flexibility to play with the frames that they wear. So it’s quite nice to have different frames to reflect the other sides of your personality and your life. I always look for frames that can go with everything, but you can play around with the size of the frames, textures, and embellishment details. I think it’s important, and fun, to experiment with different frames.
What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?
- Look for interesting neutrals that aren’t black. If you’ve got maybe a softer skin tone, then navies are really good: blues, browns, and tortoiseshells, or even burgundy is quite a rich colour that you can play with that will go with many other colours
- Think about what suits your face shape. If you’ve got a rounder face shape, then more angular frames are a better option, equally, if you've got like an a more angular face shape, then rounder styles suit you
- Finally, be conscious about your signature style. If you’ve got more of a timeless classic style, you may want to be a bit more dramatic with your choice of frames. If you’ve got more of a casual look, you could go for maybe a softer colour, or for evening, you might want to go something bit more dramatic. You can play on the different colours or the weight of the frames. It’s just thinking how you can elevate your signature style.
Top trends and the importance of styling
What are the key trends you see for the next 12 months?I love the big 70s frames. I see a lot of pastel frames, I think that's also very relevant to some of fashion now. Taking note of the embellishments on frames, I think they’re going to be quite big in the coming months. I think it’s the right time to have some real fun with it.
You’ve previously spoken on the life-changing effects of menopause. Would you mind sharing your experience, and how this comes into your styling work?
I work with many females that are going through perimenopause and menopause stages. I started my perimenopause when I was about 37. It was really quite early and it was very hard to get a diagnosis really because the doctor said: “Well, you can’t be going through menopause because you’re too young.” I knew something was wrong.
So I can understand when I work with my clients, because they are going through the same thing. They may have just lost their way in terms of their style, and they don’t feel like themselves. I had a client a couple of weeks ago, who is going through it and she really wanted to feel more confident and buy clothes that suit her body shape and the way that she is now. It really sticks out in my mind, because I could see her confidence change throughout the session. I think with glasses, it’s the same: if your eyesight is deteriorating, you may be a bit worried about wearing glasses. Helping people find the right frames is really rewarding because it can change their look, reflect who they are as a person, and give them the confidence to get through their daily lives feeling like themselves.