buddy holly in glassesJ. Davis Armistead changed the face of cool by hiding it behind a thick pair of glasses. Armistead, now retired, was Buddy Holly’s optometrist back when the musician was struggling to establish his identity (and struggling to see).

Holly’s vision was apparently so poor that he couldn’t read the ‘E’ at the top of the vision charts, but the nondescript glasses he wore weren’t helping his image. While watching an episode of “The Phil Silvers Show” (AKA Sergeant Bilko), Armistead discovered the iconic frames that would distinguish Holly and make it hip to be square.

At the Wall Street Journal, Charles Passy says the frames paved the way for other legendary celebrity accessories (Elton John’s goggles and — somehow — Lady Gaga’s meat dress). But Passy overlooked a few other notable credits to the spectacles: Weezer; bizarre literary crime; and, most importantly, a way for un-bearded hipsters to hide their faces.

To read the article and watch a slideshow of other famously four-eyed celebrities, click here.


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– Benjamin Samuel
 is the Online Editor of Electric Literature. He’s about as blind as Buddy Holly.

Photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/40143737@N02/4166647336

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