No one resents aging more than Baby Boomers, a generation notoriously enslaved by popular culture and trendiness. Each new gadget, every fashion wave is devoured by this bunch, in frenzied attempts to avert maturity, both physical and social. Tramp stamps, body piercings, tattoo sleeves and soul patches – all emblems of youthful rebellion – have been instantly diluted and made mainstream, when adopted by zealous middle-class parents.
Thankfully, Hipsters have one last weapon in their arsenal, a fashion item so universally reviled by their elders that will never make the generational leap. Oversized glasses, a trend widely embraced by young Hollywood, appeal to commercially successful performers, such as Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher, in magically transforming them into sophisticated intellects. Quirky oversized glasses suit indie girls like Rashida Jones and Zooey Deschanel. The large scale helps them appear even smaller and cuter than they are.
As trendy as they may be, oversized glasses are the fashion equivalent of kryptonite to older folk. Though ironic and charming when perched across young features, they hold the power to turn elegant, mature visages into Stalinesque technocrats or dour prison matrons. More importantly, oversized glasses hold potently negative associations for mature adults. Here are examples of oversized glasses wearers that put Baby Boomers to shame:
Nat David: No one screams Doddering Old Fart like comedy legend Shelley Berman, as Larry David’s father Nat, on the HBO hit series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Interestingly, if Larry’s glasses were one half inch larger in diameter, he might fall into the same category.
Woody Allen: Woody Allen’s success in the 1960’s was a victory for every undersized intellectual wearing thick, horn-rimmed frames. Suddenly, these schlemiels were perceived as hip, romantic heroes, both on-screen and off. While 40 years later, Allen continues to sport his trademark lenses, he is no longer a man others wish to resemble — physically or socially.
Uncle Junior: Uncle Junior Soprano, as portrayed by Dominic Chianese Jr., was a treacherous villain on HBO’s hit series, “The Sopranos.” Junior’s specs amplified his brutal attributes, while simultaneously infusing them with comical absurdity. Though most gangsters have swagger, Uncle Junior is arguably the least cool gangster of them all.
Dorothy Michaels: Feminist firebrand Dorothy Michaels, leading “lady” of the film, “Tootsie” (1982), was a tour de force for actor Dustin Hoffman. While this endearing character is fondly remembered, Baby Boomer women have absolutely no desire to emulate her striking fashion sense.
Burt Reynolds: Burt Reynolds rose to fame in the 1970’s, as a macho “good old boy” in a series of comedy/action films. These days, a middle-aged man in oversized glasses, like Reynolds’, resembles a Hollywood has-been, warily concealing the evidence of too much plastic surgery. Sorry, Burt.
Dame Edna Everage: Dame Edna Everage, the alter ego of Australian comedian Barry Humphries, is a study in deliberate bad taste and flamboyant excess. Along with her gargantuan eye wear, Dame Edna is best known for a lightning-quick wit and robust sexuality, though no middle-aged woman wants to resemble an elderly drag queen, Possums.