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Fashion Blog

You’ll find all the right looks at JCPenney Optical’s Fashion Blog. Our fashion insiders are blogging about eyewear products that reflect the latest trends and complement your unique style.


  • The Mystery of Optical Illusions

    Written by Annie Raykher | July 13, 2015

    optical-illusion-0Have you ever wondered how an optical illusion works? It has always mystified me so I decided to look into it. An optical illusion is literally the experience of seeing something either differently from how it actually appears or something that simply doesn’t exist! How wild is that? Optical illusions can use color, light and patterns to create images that can be deceptive to our brains. This phenomenon occurs because our brain is simply trying to determine what it is we are looking at and, in the process of attempting to make sense of it, an optical illusion is created. Apologies for the vision puns in advance, but this is something I had to look into.

    I was curious whether people with better vision – i.e. those unfortunate individuals who do not get to partake in the daily fashion endeavor of picking out beautiful specs to match their outfits – were more likely to “see” an optical illusion than someone with vision “problems” (aka opportunities). As it turns out, the two groups actually do see the images in a slightly different way. It is even believed that there are some optical illusions that only people who need to wear glasses can see! So there you go!

    optical-illusion-1For my New Yorkers out there, or anyone following the swarm of social media surrounding #manhattanhenge, I invite you to join me between 8 and 8:30pm tonight to check out a fascinating, live optical illusion known as “manhattanhenge.” Just before and after the summer solstice, as the sun approaches the horizon, there occurs an optical illusion where it appears that the sun sets in alignment with the streets that run east to west on Manhattan’s street grid. It is one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever feast your eyes on and definitely worth pushing through all the crowds to get a glimpse and maybe even capture a photo? See you there!

  • Protecting Your Eyes from UV Rays

    Written by Annie Raykher | May 8, 2015

    My summertime mantra has become something like: protect my eyes from harmful UV rays, look cute doing it and have dinner outdoors at least twice a week.

    Luckily for me, my eyewear obsession, that you have no doubt gotten to know pretty well by now, meshes quite brilliantly with the need to protect one’s eyes from damage-causing UV rays. We have heard over and over again that an abundance of sunlight can damage eyesight over time, so I thought it would be helpful to break it down for you. It is easier to follow the “rules” when you know why they are in place. The three types of radiation to be familiar with are:

    • UVC rays

    • UVB rays

    • UVA rays

    Only UVA and UVB rays can pass through the atmosphere and onto the earth’s surface. UVA rays account for about 95% of UV radiation. These rays are more prevalent and tend to produce long-term damage to cells. UVB rays, on the other hand, are more likely to penetrate on cloudy days and are highly reflective off water and snow (this factoid is precisely the reason I avoid lounging in the pool or beach without proper skin and eye protection). UV damage can cause a host of vision problems. Some examples of long term problems are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract and cancer of the eye and surrounding skin area. Short term problems include hypersensitivity to light as well as eyes that are constantly bloodshot and swollen.

    It seems, therefore, like a no-brainer that you should protect your eyes. The good news – and you will not be surprised by this suggestion in the least – is that if you do not yet have a pair of frames ready to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, you can just hop on over to your nearest JCPenney Optical to chat with an eye doctor about the best option for you (which just might, perhaps, be a new pair!). Some great tips for protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays are:

    • Look for frames with UV-400 protection or CE mark
    • Try to find frames that cover your eyes as much as possible
    • Always carry sunglasses with you wherever you’re going
    • Don’t forget about your kids – they have a highly sensitive lens that makes them more susceptible to UV-related eye damage

    So, in attempt to usher in this beautiful season as quickly as possible, I have devised a list of must-have-shades for summer 2015. Take a look and let me know what you think!

    VIEW THE 2015 SUMMER COLLECTION ›

  • Color Blindness (aka Color Vision Deficiency)

    Written by Annie Raykher | May 7, 2015

    The year was 2001 and my ultimate high school crush revealed that he was born color blind. Sitting in the back of that bus headed from Queens to Brooklyn, I vowed that I would find out just enough to understand what color blindness is to make sure he didn’t think that every outfit I wore was some boring shade of brown or grey. Unfortunately, the week following this announcement, my 14 year old self decided another boy was best suited to become my ultimate high school crush…for that week, at least. Consequently, I never really did look into the meaning of color blindness. And as for my husband – well, he made it very clear to me while we were dating that he had a very discerning eye for color. I learned this tidbit one evening when he commented that it was “interesting” that I was wearing brown boots with black leggings. Wasn’t that a fashion faux pas, he inquired? #majoreyeroll

    Given that this condition affects approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women, I figured it was about time to look into it. First of all, I learned that the term color blindness is a misnomer. It is more of a color deficiency. One who is color “blind” lacks the ability to clearly distinguish between different colors. This limited range of sight gives people trouble with reading certain signs, browsing many websites and taking particular jobs.

    What is color blindness and what causes it?

    Color Vision Deficiency means that you have trouble seeing red, green or blue or a combination of these colors. It is typically an inherited condition, affecting males more frequently than females. It occurs when light-sensitive cells in the retina do not respond correctly to variations in the wavelengths of light. Color blindness can also result from trauma to the brain, diseases, or other age-related causes.

    Inherited color blindness results from mutations on the X chromosome and can start as early as in the womb as well as late into adulthood. The most common form of inherited color blindness is the red-green deficiency. In other words, most people who are color blind do indeed see the world in color. They simply have issues with certain individual colors or color combinations. For instance, something might look green in one situation but not in another. One who has a color vision deficiency might be able to see green but not nearly as saturated of a green as a non-color blind person would see. This difficulty in discernment leads to a number of issues in addition to the ones already mentioned such as shopping for clothing, cars, etc.

    How is color blindness diagnosed?

    Color Vision Deficiency is typically diagnosed in childhood using simple screening tests such as the Hardy-Rand-Rittler (HRR) and Ishihara Color Plates. These tests are used to determine the type and degree of color deficiency. During these tests, the patient is asked to identify the colored shapes or numbers that lie within a jumble of dots. Based on the patient’s responses, the doctor can then detect and categorize the deficiency.

    Can color blindness be treated?

    Color blindness, particularly congenital color blindness, cannot be treated but there are ways to work around the “disability.” For instance, apps exist to help with color detection. You can also ask your eye doctor to prescribe special lenses to help enhance color perception. Finally, feel free to enlist the help of friends/family to assist you with organizing your closet by color so that you memorize the placement of your clothing in accurate color groups rather than struggle daily with worrying about clashing or mismatching all your outfits.

    Here are some more facts on color blindness to help you look cool at your next dinner party:

    • 99% of all colorblind people are not actually color blind. Rather, they are color deficient.
    • Someone with normal color vision can tell about 100 colors apart whereas someone with color blindness can only tell about 20 colors apart.
    • Despite what you may have heard, dogs are actually not color blind
    • If a woman is red-green color blind, then all her sons will be colorblind.
    • When using color correcting lenses, you are wearing two different colored lenses in your eyes.
    • “What color is this?” is probably the most annoying question you can ask your friend who is color blind.

    Test yourself!

    There are numbers in each of the below circles. Can you see them? See the answers below.

    color blind test

    6. The number 9. 5. The number 12. 4. The number 8. 3. The number 16. 2. The number 13. 1. The number 7.

  • When is it time for a new pair of glasses?

    Written by jcpadmin |

    Perhaps I am the wrong person to ask because as far as I am concerned, the response is a clear and simple: often! However, I realize that because neither money nor glasses grows on trees – yes, I have checked multiple times – the following are simple rules to help guide you in answering that question in a more practical manner:

    • You find yourself squinting a whole lot more

    That prescription you got at your last eye exam may be a bit outdated. If you find yourself squinting, leaning away, or struggling at all to see something you once saw fairly well, it’s time to go in for another checkup. If your frames are still ok, you can hold onto them and just switch out the lens.

    • You find yourself “putting your glasses back in place” several times a day

    I remember I was at a meeting at work one day and my specs kept sliding down from the bridge of my nose. I was convinced my face had shrunk. Turns out, it is common for frames to get a bit warped, leading them to fall off your face. You can try going back to JCPenney Optical to get them adjusted. Keep in mind however, that this is only a temporary fix and you will eventually need to get new frames altogether.

    • You notice scratches on your lenses

    There’s a reason you are instructed to use soft microfiber cloth and a special lens cleaner to clean your glasses. Though I try to take extra special care of my glasses, I am often guilty of cleaning them using my shirt, a Kleenex or whatever else I have on hand at the moment. Over time, this strips away the coating on the lenses and eventually leads to scratches and other marks. This, in turn, makes it harder to see clearly during important tasks such as driving. If you start noticing scratches on your lenses, this is a good time pay your local JCPenney Optical a visit!

    • The frames are starting to wear away

    Exposure to the sun and oils on your skin has a tendency to damage the frame itself. As time goes on, the frames, particularly if they are plastic, slowly become corroded and can eventually break! It is best to get a new pair before your frames get to that point and it can happen anywhere, anytime without warning.

    • IT’S TIME TO UPDATE YOUR LOOK!

    This particular rule is, of course, somewhat subjective. I am a firm believer that glasses are your most important accessory. They have the ability to alter and define who you are. In my opinion, it is the sole responsibility of your specs to make you feel like a super star, so if you don’t feel that way, then you know it is definitely time to get a new pair!

  • Welcome to the world Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge!

    Written by jcpadmin | May 4, 2015

    Woohoo the royal baby has arrived! Unfortunately, with regard to her beautiful name, all my bets were totally off, but I can certainly say I will keep these names in my back pocket for future kids I may have. And that got me thinking about how much meaning there is to all our names. Some of us are named after great grandparents, admirable teachers and even close friends and neighbors. Regardless, there’s a fascinating story behind our names that uniquely contributes to who we are.

    So, where does Princess Charlotte of Cambridge come from? I began to delve a bit deeper into the royal family and discovered a fascinating similarity among much of Princess Charlotte’s lineage. Can you guess the commonality? All the members on her father’s side, including dear old dad William, wear glasses! You can only imagine my excitement. Little Princess Charlotte is not only 4th in line to the throne, has an awesome set of handsome-looking parents who offer the world at her fingertips, but she has the opportunity to look even more beautiful than we all know she will be by donning royal specs…potentially even with a crown one day just like her granny!

    Her father, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has been spotted wearing a fashionable pair of eyeglasses on many occasions. Her grandfather, Prince Charles, was photographed in a pair of tortoise shell frames when he addressed a dinner at St. James Palace in 2011. Until then, he was presumed to have perfect vision, particularly given his history as a pilot in the Royal Navy. And last but certainly not least, her great-grandmother, Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second proudly displays her spectacles – together with crown and all! When she wore the Imperial State Crown to address Parliament, she reached right into her handbag to put out a pair of specs in order to read her speech. So, as I had always guessed, a great pair of eyeglasses can go with just about anything…even a royal crown!

    To get the royal looks, visit JCPenneyOptical.com and find your signature look today!

  • Sunglasses Galore! Summer Sunwear Collection 2015

    Written by Annie Raykher |

    Go on, Brighten Your Day with these Sunglasses

    Ah Summer! You are all that I wait for every single fall, winter and even spring. You are the season around which I plan my main haircut of the year (shorter, more fun, and a tad bit edgy) and the layout of my closet (regardless of the season, or the lack of practicality, my summer clothing and accessories are the most easily accessible all year round). The clock is ticking and while we may not feel it yet consistently enough in some parts of the country, summer is just around the corner.

    Gone are the days of the slip n’ slide and the artificially colored popsicles. However, there will always be something about summer that makes me feel like a little kid again. I see it as an opportunity to step out of my heavy boots, multiple layers, and ridiculously patterned socks that I should probably no longer be wearing and into flowy bright colored dresses, statement-making costume jewelry, and of course, new specs!! You can’t possibly recycle your austere winter frames for the spring/summer, now can you?

    It is almost as if JCPenney Optical is my fashionista soulmate because just as I was getting ready to start my hunt for the perfect new pair of frames, they have come out with their summer collection! Complete with gold accents, fun new patterns, and surfer blue tones, I will have a field day exploring. Check them out for yourself!

    VIEW THE FULL SUMMER SUNGLASSES COLLECTION ›

  • Let Mom Shine this Mothers Day With Gifts!

    Written by jcpadmin |

    This year will bring my second Mother’s Day since my precious baby boy came into my life. While I am certainly no pro at being a mommy just yet – nor will I ever be – the profound shift in my reality has allowed me to learn quite a bit over the past year.

    I have learned a lot about what it means to be a mother. This, in turn, has helped me develop a deep gratitude for my own mom and for all the mommies out there. Our moms deserve to be celebrated, pampered and showered with gifts. So, I put together a top 5 pick for some gift inspiration for that special mom in your life:

    I have also learned some things about myself and what it means to me to be a mom. One of the main lessons is to be confident in all that I do for my child and know that all the “helpful” advice out there does not hold a candle to my mommy instinct. I remember going to my sister in law’s bridal shower where several women stated that it was CLEAR AS DAYLIGHT that I would not make it to my due date given how gigantic my belly was. Oh and how wrong, wrong, wrong they were. Good thing none of them live close to me because, towards the ends of my pregnancy, I was in the kind of mood that I would have marched – errr, waddled – over to their house 39 weeks pregnant and given them a piece of my mind.

    One of my favorite comments of all time happened when I was walking down the street with my then 3 month old. He was crying quite loudly and I knew it was because he was in his phase of not wanting to be confined to a stroller. An older man passed by and, despite the fact that I clearly looked like I was in a rush to get somewhere – stopped me to suggest that I perhaps “give that poor baby a pacifier.” Sir, my baby is 3 months old. Did it ever occur to you that I am familiar with pacifiers? And did it ever occur to you that I have purchased every single pacifier on the market but this particular baby hates pacifiers? I smiled politely, of course, and kept walking only to be confronted by a couple more people pointing out that my baby must be crying because he is hungry. So, as a freshly minted mom, even though I KNEW I had just fed my baby 5 minutes prior to leaving the house and I also knew exactly why he was crying, the doubt creeped in nonetheless. Was I starving my child? Had I, perhaps, not tried every single pacifier out there? Maybe I should have worked harder and tried to import some brands from Europe? A good mom would have worked harder.

    I now giggle at the thoughts I used to have and no longer take stranger’s unsolicited advice to heart. I have learned to let the majority of the comments roll off my back, and, more importantly, filter out the ones that are actually helpful and relevant. I have the confidence to believe that only I know what my baby wants and needs. This newfound respect for myself as a mother did not develop overnight. Rather, it came about very slowly, very methodically. If I could turn back time, it probably would have taken me just as long to get here so I offer no advice. Rather, I offer reassurance to all the new moms out there. Know that one day you will possess this strength as well. And until then, try to chuckle at the old lady in the department store trying to fervently convince you that your baby is crying because he needs a diaper change. Little does she know, you JUST changed his diaper. That’ll be our little secret!

    And so, my dear fellow mommies, on this mother’s day, I hope the tantrums will be kept to a minimum, the food pickiness will vanish for the day and the blowout diapers will be directed at daddy. Most of all, I hope that all your kids, regardless of age, will gather together to celebrate the wonder woman you have always been and will always be in their eyes. And, of course, some goodies wouldn’t hurt either!

  • How To Get Rid of Under Eye Circles

    Written by Annie Raykher | April 27, 2015

    I have been suffering from undereye circles for well over a decade. If you suffer from this issue as well, you can usually blame 1) not clocking in enough ZZZ’s (thank you nocturnal toddler who might just never sleep straight through the night), 2) too much caffeine (to combat #1), and stress (a fun reaction to the combination of #1 and #2).

    I have tried many an under eye creams in my day and while some of them are just fantastic, between pregnancy, breastfeeding and just having to re-prioritize where I spend my dollars (diapers vs. $100 eye creams), I have had to turn to more natural, at home remedies to combat this issue. Here are some tried and true at-home methods:

    RAW POTATO

    Potatoes have natural bleaching agents which lighten the dark circles and remove puffiness around the eye area. You can slice cold raw potatoes and hold them on your eyes for 15-20 minutes every day until you see a difference. Another method is to blend several pieces of potato to extract the juice. Then, dip several cotton balls in the juice and hold on your eyes for 15-20 minutes daily. Rinse area post application.

    CUCUMBER

    In addition to functioning as an effective astringent, cucumber, too, has skin lightening agents. Simply slice up a cucumber and throw it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the slices and apply to the affected area for 10 minutes. Rinse area post application.

    LEMON JUICE

    The vitamin C in lemon juice helps remove dark circles and just like a potato and cucumber, a lemon also holds bleaching properties. Place a cotton ball that has been dipped in lemon juice on the affected area for 15 minutes and wash off with water. Repeat until you see results.

    CHAMOMILE TEA BAGS

    Placing chilled tea bags on your under eye circles is a well-known method that has been around for thousands of years. Chamomile, in particular, has a soothing effect and is extra effective in removing under eye circle. Steep several chamomile bags in hot water for a few minutes and let cool. Place cold tea bags on eyes for 20 minutes and rinse area with water.

    Until you are able to nip this problem in the bud, here are some quick pro beauty tips for concealing those pesky under eye bag (*Note* it is best to apply this and all makeup with clean warm fingers in order to help the formulas blend in and adhere to skin):

    • Dab a luminous primer along your orbital bone
    • Blend together a peachy toned concealer with one that has more of a yellow tone and lightly apply under each eye.
    • Using a white pencil, color in the very corners of each eye. This will not only make your eyes appear bigger, but it will also help you achieve the “I sleep 8 hours every night” look.

    If all else fails, thank your lucky stars that you’re a spec wearing fashionista and just throw on your favorite frames to cover up those pesky undereye circles.

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  • Saluting our Nation’s Capital

    Written by jcpadmin | April 16, 2015

    2015 Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.

    cherry blossom festival
    This past weekend, the cherry blossoms in DC reached their full bloom and I got to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival with my family. Every year, our nation’s capital commemorates the gift of the cherry blossom tree given to the United States by Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City in March 1912, thus celebrating the friendship between the two countries. The first festival was held in 1935 and has been a beautiful event every year since filled with parades, family activities, and of course, the most picturesque view.

    While this was my second time going, I couldn’t help but feel enchanted being there. We made our way through the, admittedly, very very busy crowds to get to the tidal basin near the Jefferson Memorial. On our way, we passed the Washington Monument on the National Mall and I felt a strong sense of national pride. The visitors came from near and far, echoing the melting pot that our beautiful country has become.

    cherry blossom festival

    I had some of our frames handy knowing that their beautiful design will pop against the serene backdrop of the cherry blossoms…and I was right! From the super feminine cutouts and patterns of our Lulu Guinness collection to the chic, modern look of our Nicole Miller frames, I finally started to feel like spring is officially here. The soft-hued styles mixed with pops of bold patterns all around me told me it was time to whip out all of my most girly frames! Check out some of the images I snapped while I was there…

  • Realizing the Power of the Third Eye

    Written by jcpadmin | April 1, 2015

    My mantra for beautiful eyes has always been: be healthy, be hip, and stay glassy. I devote a ton of time and energy to upholding that mantra – from healthy eating to staying up to date with my frame look (probably a bit more up to date than necessary). But from time to time, I find that it’s kind of nice to search deeper – to look beyond the outer and focus on the inner.

    The third eye, or the inner eye, is a mythical concept that provides one with perception beyond just ordinary sight. It is not visible but is said to be located where your eyebrows meet. In fact, it is theorized by some traditions that, in ancient times, humans did have a visible third eye. Over time, it sunk in and became what is now known as the pineal gland, which resides between the two hemispheres of the brain and is responsible for regulating our circadian rhythms by responding to changes in light throughout the day.

    In Hindusim, the third eye refers to the gate that leads to inner realms of higher consciousness. If you have ever taken a yoga class, you were probably encouraged to focus on your third eye in order to gain a deeper level of awareness. Truly being able to shut out the “noise” of the outside world to focus within is actually a strength to be valued. It took me years – close to a decade – before I actually understood the meaning of this esoteric third eye. However, once I unlocked the power and strength to really be able to quiet my thoughts as well as the hustle and bustle of those around me, I was able to reach a level of calm I had never experienced before.

    Did you know about your third eye? It has been there all along! We invite you to look deeper within yourself to find what it means for you.

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