Me and my glasses

Projecting character and individuality

Owner and optometrist at Seen Opticians, Tareq Moustafa (pictured), tells OT  that there isn’t just one pair of right frames


How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?

I’ve just added four new pairs to my collection in the last few weeks. At the moment, I’m regularly swapping between 12 optical and five sunglasses. One of my latest pairs has the new green Transitions mirror lenses, which I’m trying for the first time. So far, I love the look of them.

I get asked about how many spectacles I own by a lot by clients and some of them think I should own more, but I love to really use each pair, so I’m not a fickle investor in new eyewear. From my collection, there’s actually two optical and two sunglasses that are at least three years old and I’m really not ready to let them go.

Can you describe your favourite pair?

It’s a bold and heavy style in matte navy blue, handmade in Japan by a brand called Jacques Marie Mage (pictured below). Without doubt, it’s the pair that gets the most attention from strangers, which always feels good. As bold as they are, they feel amazing to wear. I’ve also paired them with Tokai bi-aspheric lenses with a custom light tint, meaning I get fantastic vision and style too.

Tareq Moustafa’s favourite pair of spectacles by Jacques Marie Mage

What styles do you usually go for?

I have every shape; round, rectangle, square and aviator. Mainly bold, but the occasional minimal piece. I used to be into colour but right now I’m a little more monochromatic. That said, one of my latest styles is an incredible translucent yellow colour and I love them. I learned years ago not to get hung up on my face shape influencing my eyewear choices and to just pick stuff that I like and project character and individuality.

Who would you pick as your style icon of glasses wearers and why?

Jeff Goldblum. Is that because he wears the same frames as me? Perhaps. I hope I age to be as stylish as him. Also, Michael Caine in the 60s and 70s is an eyewear hero.

How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?

I should have worn them since aged eight. My mum tells the tale that when we were driving home from the eye test I had just aced, I bragged that I memorised the bottom line (pretty clever I thought). She pretty much made a handbrake turn in the street and took me back to see the optometrist who sheepishly decided to do a more thorough test and found I had astigmatism. I didn’t wear the awful spectacles chosen for me till I was in high school and I couldn’t see in lessons. Since then, it’s been full time wear.

I learned years ago not to get hung up on my face shape influencing my eyewear choices and just to pick stuff that I like and project character and individuality


Do you wear contact lenses?

Very rarely. I love wearing glasses.

How important is eyewear to reflecting your personality?

Massively. I change my eyewear depending on what I’m doing and how I want to be perceived. Most interactions are face-to-face so the style I’m wearing is projecting things about me whether I like it or not. Having the choice of styles depending on situation, what I’m wearing or my mood gives me the chance to play on that.

What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?

  • There isn’t a right frame; there are lots of right frames. What is right for work isn’t right for a party. What is right for a Sunday stroll with the family isn’t right for a romantic meal out. Be willing to invest in more styles, over time or in bulk and depending on circumstances
  • Don’t be influenced by someone who doesn’t get the importance of eyewear, even if you’re married to them. No doubt everyone reading this will have seen the negative effect of a “trusted” second opinion by someone who really ought not to have been asked at all
  • If there is a brand name written visibly on the outside of the frame put it back on the shelf and chose eyewear because of how it looks on your face. That will say more about you than the words on the side ever could.