May 9th 2024

The Social Cues and Body Language of Wearing Glasses

The Social Cues and Body Language of Wearing Glasses

Beyond their status as a fashion statement for some and a necessary part of life for many others, glasses are often used both consciously and subconsciously as a way of expressing one’s emotions. Eyeglasses are often used as an important form of nonverbal communication, to emphasize one’s point of view as well as a habitual representation of a person’s innermost emotions.

Eyeglasses have so many applications, from subtle expressions of human emotion, an outward sign of self-expression, and, in many cases, a necessary facet of a person’s day-to-day life. WebEyeCare’s blog offers a wide array of tools and learning supplies for those who want to learn more about eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Your Personal Style

Johnny Depp posing in stylish square tortoise color glasses and hat

The style of glasses a person chooses to wear can speak volumes about that person’s perception of themselves and the world around them. The type of glasses someone chooses provides an immediate statement about themselves. Glasses are often seen as a sign of intelligence, giving the impression that people can trust what you tell them. Glasses can also be seen as a sign of a person’s high status, based on anything from the types of frames that person chooses to logos on the frames.

There are a wide variety of different factors many people take into consideration when deciding what type of glasses suits their appearance best. The impression a person wants to give off is often a major consideration with factors like personal style and how the appearance of a pair of glasses matches with a person’s facial structure and appearance. WebEyeCare has a plethora of resources available to find the right frames for your best look, like our guide on How to Care for Your Eyes and Look Cool Doing It.

A Smart Look

Scooby Doo's Velma in smart looking square glasses

Glasses are a classic way the world of pop culture depicts its smartest characters. From the classic bookworms like Scooby-Doo’s Velma Dinkley to more modern depictions like Kirsten Vangsness’s portrayal of Criminal Minds’ Penelope Garcia, glasses are often seen as an outward symbol of a person’s intellect. In many cases, glasses-wearing people are likely wearing glasses due to their own impaired vision but the depiction of glasses in media is often that of the smartest around.

This perceived intelligence is something that has persisted in both the general conscious and pop culture for years and, according to recent studies, may not be unfounded. Several studies, including one from the Gutenberg Health Study in 2012, have linked the need for eyeglasses to higher levels of education in their wearers. While the link between glasses and heightened intellect may have seemed a work of fiction and generalization in the past, glasses do give off a strong impression of a person’s intellect at a first glance. A pair like these Dolce & Gabbana 0DG1290 can make anyone look like they have all the answers.

How A Person Carries Their Glasses

Classic rounded sunglasses hanging from front of t-shirt

Another subconscious way many people express their own style through eyeglasses is how they choose to carry them when not being worn, particularly with sunglasses. Many people will wear their sunglasses propped up atop their heads, giving the person a playful, youthful appearance.

A person latching their glasses or sunglasses into their shirt collar can also give off a cool, carefree appearance. Alternatively, a neck strap or necklace attachment can give a person easy access to their glasses at a moment’s notice, giving them a smart and savvy look even if it’s not the most stylish. With a pair of Ray-Ban RB3549 sunglasses, you can pull off a look that will be sure to wow anyone and everyone.

How Glasses Can Define a Person’s Look

Zooey Deschanel wearing bold black keyhole glasses as her character Jess Day in New Girl The glitz and glamour of Hollywood are no stranger to bespectacled big names and many celebrities have made glasses a core part of their image. Take, for example, Zooey Deschanel’s role as the bubbly teacher Jess Day in 2011’s New Girl. Deschanel frequently wore glasses while portraying Jess Day, so much so that the specs became an iconic facet of both the character and Zooey Deschanel herself.

Deschanel wouldn’t be the first celebrity to integrate glasses as a fashion statement, joined by other Hollywood staples like actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.

Glasses have been used to capture a wide range of appearances in western cultures from a playful, carefree vibe like Deschanel’s to the dorky nerds of the world like Rainn Wilson’s portrayal of The Office’s Dwight Schrute. You can rock your own personal style and capture a look that gives you a flair like Zooey Deschanel with a pair like these Michael Kors MK4034 glasses.

Body Language Can Speak Volumes

Woman in white shirt against gray background with crossed arms looking up in thought

Subtle actions a person takes can tell a number of things about a person’s inner feelings and the emotions they are going through. Simple actions like a person crossing their arms can represent a vast range of emotions a person might be going through, from a feeling of insecurity to a sense of social anxiety or stress.

Alternatively, a person sitting with crossed legs can give off an entirely different impression, one of confidence and assuredness. The subtle ways a person moves and postures themselves can give deep insight into a person’s view of themselves, the people around them, or the situation they find themselves in.

Many of the most subtle movements and displays of emotion can be portrayed with glasses as a medium for expressing themselves. These actions range from simple things like how a person wears their glasses to actions like cleaning the glasses. These actions can range from subconscious expressions of a person’s inner turmoil to active tactics in both negotiation, competition, and everything in between. Glasses have many different ways of allowing a person to express themselves on a level much deeper than the surface appearance.

Focused and Fascinated

Man on computer wearing rectangular black bold framed blue light blocking glasses

Glasses can often play a much more nuanced role in defining a person’s engagement in both a conversation or their work. One common gesture comes with a person pushing their glasses up their nose to their eyes. The act of raising the glasses shows that a person is wholly interested in whatever topic they are pursuing or discussion is taking place, which uses a simple movement of the glasses to express that interest. Glasses have often been used to give off an introspective appearance, giving a person or character a focused look or the impression of being deep within one’s thoughts.

A More Skeptical Skew

Young woman wearing blue round wire frame glasses with cityscape background

Glasses can also be used to give off quite the opposite impression as well. Many use the lowering of glasses to relay skepticism and distrust at things another person is saying. Glasses can be used to display a wide array of body language cues through lowering your glasses, giving off a smug or uncertain look. It’s a trope that we often seen in many forms of pop culture media and stands as a staple form of expression for those who wear glasses.

A person lowering their glasses can also give off a very different feel. The action can take on a more confrontational tone, giving a sense of scrutiny through their spectacles. They can be used to express doubt at a person’s actions or words as well as expressing one’s own disagreement with the points being made during a discussion. Glasses are a commonly-used tool in negotiations due to the wide versatility of impressions spectacles can give through the most subtle of actions.

Emotions Behind Eyeglasses

Hands cleaning blue wayfarer style glasses with white glasses cleaning cloth

In many cases, glasses can provide a perspective into a person that their facial expression may hide from their outward appearance. Glasses can often be used as a window into a person’s true feelings and many ways a person uses their eyeglasses can express these hidden thoughts. When nervous, many people will subconsciously begin to clean their glasses as a means of distracting themselves from their inner turmoil. Cleaning one’s glasses is a common manner of nonverbal behavior that gives the other person a sense of their nerves and uncertainty.

Similarly, many who wear glasses will use cleaning their glasses as a tactic for stalling in a discussion. Attempting to take the pressure off themselves, cleaning their glasses allows the person to remove themselves for a moment to collect their thoughts. In a similar way, many glasses wearers will opt to remove their glasses and place the tips of the glasses’ arm into their mouth to relay being deep within thought. Glasses can express a wide variety of emotions through simple expressions and gestures, and there are plenty of different ways to express feelings through them.

Emotions and How We Express Ourselves

Older white man with goatee in suit jacket slightly smiling at the camera

Among the many men of science to discuss the connection between body language and human expression over the years, few were as renowned in the study of human emotion as Paul Ekman. Ekman, a psychologist who has received accolades both from the general public and scientific outlets, studied human emotion and nonverbal expressions with one of his most well-known studies being the concept of “universal emotions.” Ekman’s research dictates that humans display universal facial expressions for seven different emotions: anger, contempt, disgust, enjoyment, fear, sadness, and surprise.

Many of these emotions can be displayed through nonverbal communication using glasses, as we’ve previously explored. Glasses can be used to display anger and contempt in ways like lowering one’s glasses out of skepticism or enjoyment through the raising of one’s glasses for a topic they find particularly interesting. Many different emotions can be expressed through the use of glasses as a medium for portraying a person’s feelings.

Obscuring Your Eyes

Professional poker player wearing aviator style rounded grey tinted glasses during a game

If you’ve ever watched a professional poker match, you might have noticed that many of the world’s best card sharks wear either sunglasses or dark-tinted glasses. Eyeglasses have long been seen as an effective method of obscuring a person’s view and hiding their eye movements from those around them. Poker players often opt for these dark-tinted glasses as a means of masking their vision from other players, allowing them to get a read on their opponents and use this to their advantage.

In a game like poker, being able to read the emotional state of the players around you can be the difference between winning and losing a round. Many factors are displayed subconsciously through a person’s eyes, like their blink rate and subtle movements of the eyes. As such, the best players will often search for means to eliminate eye contact with their fellow players, allowing them to mask the subtle eye movements that may give away their position for any given hand.

The Science Behind the Eyes

Desmond Morris author of The Naked Ape a book about subconscious movements posing with a chimpanzee

For years, psychologists and scientists have studied the connection between a person’s subconscious movements and actions with their emotions. Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape, often uses his work to discuss the evolution of humans and how displays of human emotion have evolved over the years. Morris’s many works over his career take a deep dive into how humans use various forms of body movements to display their innermost thoughts and feelings and how these forms of expression have developed over time.

Among his many studies, Desmond Morris has spoken numerous times about the usage of glasses as a form of subconscious body language. Morris often credits acts like placing the arm of your glasses inside the mouth as giving uncomfortable people a sense of security, akin to something a person might feel as a child.

In his 1994 work, The Human Animal, Morris speaks more about the use of glasses by poker players, as mentioned before. Dark glasses can be used to mask a person’s eye movements and pupil dilation, allowing them to hide vital information from their competition.

More About Glasses

From the wide array of frames for both men and women in our online store to our blog covering plenty of informative and entertaining topics, WebEyeCare is your one-stop shop for everything eyeglasses-related!

Nick Zelver
Nick Zelver

Nick Zelver is the Editor at WebEyeCare. With a professional journey beginning at Optimax Eyewear in Tel Aviv, Nick excelled as the Director of Online Sales Channels, where he spearheaded the development of strategic sales channels and branding initiatives, fostering significant growth in online sales. His notable achievements in the field are underpinned by a rigorous academic foundation, having earned an entrance scholarship to Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).

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