The Return of the Monocle?

Joseph Chamberlain, monocle enthusiast.

Joseph Chamberlain, monocle enthusiast.

While Mr. Peanut still sports one, I thought the monocle would die out with the passing of eccentric British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore. But, apparently, we’re in the midst of a monocle revival.

I had planned to write about the monocle for years, but the New York Times out-scooped me on this story. The article notes that rappers and hipsters have brought back the monocle as a fashion accessory. There’s even an online monocle dealer based in San Francisco.

But what about the monocle as appropriate technology? It’s pretty much the same, after all, as wearing one contact. I have decent distance vision, so I could wear a monocle for closeup vision in my non-dominant eye. If you use glasses try looking through them with just your non-dominant eye to understand how a monocle would allow you to see both close up and distance at the same time. Monocles weren’t an affectation in the old days. I’m sure it would take some time to adjust to, but wouldn’t it be better than having to remember to carry around the hideous reading drug store glasses I currently use?

Kelly considers a monocle grounds for divorce and, I have to admit, she has a point. It’s hard to pull off a monocle these days without also donning a top hat and spats. Contemporary monocle use puts you in the same eccentric sartorial territory as the Monopoly Man and the aforementioned, Mr. Peanut (both of whom, it should be noted, are cartoon characters).

Then again, aren’t we all engaged in unintentional cosplay? Despite getting called “cowboy,” I like the broad brimmed cowboy hat that shades me from the blazing Los Angeles sun. Perhaps tweed and a monocle will become my winter blogging uniform . . .

Leave a comment


  1. Well, they certainly are more eco-friendly than glasses – half the lens material, and no big frames. Easier to fit, no worry about “does this one look better than this one”. Less dangerous (for the wallet) around small children, who hone in on expensive frames like nobody’s business. No broken frames in general that insurance won’t pay for because it hasn’t been a year. No little screws getting lost. No nose slidage or pits on the bridge of the nose. No behind-the-ears headaches when it’s hot.

    PS – here’s an interesting bargaining tool – ask Kelly if she’d trade you monacle allowance for the recommendations in Katy Bowman’s latest about mattresses 😉

  2. Oh, dear. I just got an email with a link to this post from hubby Tom, who is having trouble with just one eye and resisting the prescription lenses he was given to help–now he thinks he wants a monocle. Mr. Homegrown, if a monocle appears, I will hold you personally responsible. Kelly, you and I can set up a sensible household, and they can go live in the Monocle House. We get the cats.

    • I think you just proposed the joint Tangled Nest/Root Simple reality series. Keep in mind that you will be living with a woman sporting a Russian constructivist uniform. Hope you enjoy the straw mattresses.

    • I’m keeping an eye on this. I like the idea of Monocle House. Motto: “All for one and one for all.”

    • Reality show! Yes! Tom, please note that Kelly and I will not allow bad puns in our house. I do look forward to my straw mattress–they would mildew in Seattle.

    • Never fear–we’ll sleep on moss mattresses instead. Or mattresses stuffed with dehydrated blackberries. Or grizzly bear underbelly fluff. So looking forward to my move north!

    • I look forward to sunny afternoons drinking our carbonated mead, eating snacks off of Kelly’s discarded family china, discussing the effects of gee on our wives’ complexions, and ranking our favorite platonic solids

  3. This is hilarious! My son had to get glasses last year but he only needed it for one eye. We joked that we should get him a monocle instead of glasses but we didn’t think we could find one.

  4. You can buy a very stylish monocle at Warby Parker, which has the advantage of being a company that, for every pair bought, will donate a pair of glasses to someone who needs them.

    Plus, the company measures the monocle in furlongs. There’s a free home-try on program, allowing you, Erik, to flirt with a monocles but ultimately avoid divorce.

    • Wait- they make monocles but they donate dual-lensed glasses? What are we to make of that?

  5. Pingback: New is the New Old | Root Simple

Comments are closed.