Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by amy
If there ever was a style of glasses that could be considered the epitome of modern eyewear, it might have to be silhouette glasses. Among the many diverse glasses and frames, silhouette glasses exemplify modern style as they’re lighter, thinner, and perhaps more efficient than many other models. Does this mean that other styles of glasses are outdated? Perhaps obsolete? Absolutely not.
Silhouette glasses can be a great choice, but they’re not the only choice. Are you divided on choosing between silhouette glasses and acetate glasses? Maybe you’re considering defecting from the community of silhouette glasses wearers to the acetate glasses community. All jokes aside, considering between the two can be difficult as each side offers quality features. To help you decide, we’ll look at what each side offers and see how we can bridge the two different styles for a smooth transition from one to the other.
What are Silhouette Glasses?
If you’re not yet familiar with silhouette glasses, they’re a type of glasses that offers a lighter and thinner style in comparison to conventional frames. You might be asking yourself, how different can they be? After all, plastic frames seem light enough just as they are—can they get much lighter and thinner? You might as well guess that yes, actually, they can.
One of the first things you’ll notice about an average pair of silhouette glasses is that they’re frameless: most don’t have a conventional frame, and the lenses are almost always rimless. And although rimless glasses are an already existent style, silhouette glasses don’t use metal hinges or screws, which is quite an unprecedented change in eyewear.
That brings us to another defining characteristic: they have no hinges! Even though silhouette glasses have temple arms much like other glasses, they’re not connected to the rest of the glasses with hinges but with minuscule knobs fitted into the side of the lenses. The temple arms themselves are skinny, almost like wire-frame glasses, and the thickest part of the temple arms is the portion that rests behind your ear.
The upside to silhouette glasses is that they’re extremely minimalist. Cutting down on the materials to the essentials and making predominant use of plastic creates an extremely lightweight and utilitarian pair of glasses.
What are Acetate Glasses?
Acetate is a nylon-based plastic, which is strong, lightweight, flexible, and durable compared to regular plastics; it allows manufacturers and craftspeople to have greater creativity and style on the glasses. Whereas color may be painted on a regular pair of plastic glasses, acetate glasses can have laminated layered designs to preserve the color and design of the glasses.
Compared to silhouette glasses, acetate glasses can be considered a more typical or conventional type of glasses. Generally speaking, we’re not going to find enormous differences across different styles of spectacles – but, of course, acetate frames do have some features that depart from those of silhouette glasses. If silhouette glasses are for ultimate lightweight utilitarian efficiency, acetate glasses are for a combination of both practicality and style. And this is not to say that silhouette glasses are not stylish or trendy, but that there is a difference in the level and type of style that silhouette and acetate frames both exhibit.
With silhouette glasses, you have the bare essentials, but acetate glasses are more heavily focused on style, so they need more surface area to exhibit that style. When you look at a pair of glasses, there aren’t many places to put a design or color—the only place to display style on a pair of glasses is on the frame. So naturally, acetate glasses are never rimless, and the temple arms are much thicker than the wire temple arms on silhouette glasses. While silhouette glasses do away with the metal screws and hinges, acetate glasses use them.
If the strong suit of silhouette glasses is minimalist and extremely practical, the victory of acetate glasses is their ability to retain utility without compromising style.
Considering Opting for Acetate?
After hashing out the differences, you might still wonder how to choose between the two or transition from silhouette glasses to acetate. We’ve seen the many benefits of silhouette glasses: they’re more lightweight, simple, and practical than other glasses. But how great are these comparative differences, and do these benefits pose inherent downsides to them? And it’s at this point you might want to consider asking yourself, “Do I need silhouette glasses?” especially if you’re thinking of transitioning from silhouette glasses to acetate.
Drawbacks & Losses From Switching
For starters, silhouette glasses can be relatively pricey—a big concern regarding eyewear. By switching to acetate glasses, you’d lose the need to pay a steep price every time you need a new pair of glasses. A pair of silhouette glasses normally ranges between $250 and $300, whereas a pair of acetate glasses might almost be half that price, ranging between $99 and $150. Considering this, consider what you are paying for with silhouette glasses.
While the lightweight design is quite an appealing basis for getting silhouette glasses, the design poses several difficulties. For instance, because silhouette glasses do not use hinges or screws, removing them with one hand puts a lot of stress on the temple arms. Because the temple arms are locked into the lenses, you must use two hands to take off or put on your glasses or otherwise risk breaking them.
Other difficulties owing to the form factor of silhouette glasses include trying to fit the glasses into your pocket or a non-original case. Since silhouette glasses have no hinges, you can’t quite fold the temple arms as you would on a pair of acetate glasses. By trying to force the temple arms to bend, you place a lot of stress on the glasses and risk breaking them. To store a pair of silhouette glasses, you need the original manufacturer’s case designed to fit them properly.
In transitioning from silhouette glasses to acetate glasses, consider if these aspects are some things you recognize as inconveniencing your use and experience of your glasses. For instance, some wearers prefer that they be able to hang their glasses on their shirts or take them off quickly with one hand, fold them, and lay them flat on the table. Some jobs and lifestyles require these sorts of conveniences, and if you feel that this is something you might need or prefer, then transitioning to acetate glasses may not be a bad idea.
So apart from all the inconveniences listed, what else would you lose by switching? You’d be losing out on the unparalleled innovative design of silhouette glasses.
Benefits & Gains From Switching
You certainly lose out on some benefits by switching to acetate glasses, but think of all the potential gains! Yes, silhouette glasses might be the lightest style of frames ever to exist, but is the difference so great that you can’t live without them? Probably not. After all, acetate glasses are lightweight plastic, meaning they don’t weigh much. Of course, they will be heavier than silhouette glasses, but it won’t be to the point where they hinder your performance of daily tasks.
And while silhouette glasses might express a modern minimalist style alongside their lightweight design, acetate glasses offer a greater spectrum of styles. Acetate glasses are made to exhibit utility and fashionableness, which grants them the upper hand in looks and style. Unlike silhouette glasses, the variety of designs and frames of acetate glasses allows for an immense array of different looks while retaining the primary function of enhancing vision.
On top of all this, transitioning to acetate glasses also grants you greater durability on your frames. As if we haven’t mentioned it enough, silhouette glasses are great for their lightweight design. But the slim design of silhouette frames makes them more vulnerable to damage—something you won’t have to worry about as much by moving to acetate glasses.
The differences between silhouette glasses and acetate glasses aren’t huge. So if you’re seriously considering transitioning from silhouette to acetate, it won’t be too difficult to change. In starting the switch, you might want to start by looking for a pair of glasses online. Searching online gives you a preview of various styles without leaving the comfort of your home, and with some vendors, you can get ahold of try-on kits to see how they fit and feel. Once you’ve done all this, you can take more serious steps into completely swapping to acetate glasses.