Why Bailey Nelson Should Be Your New Go-To for Stylish and Affordable Glasses and Sunnies

As someone who is extremely nearsighted but just can't be bothered with contact lenses, I'm always on the lookout for ways to simplify the process of shopping for glasses—especially ones that look great without costing an arm and a leg.

The last time I went in to get an eye examination, I felt compelled to buy two pairs of glasses in order to get a discount on the exam. That left me with one pair I never wound up wearing and another that I liked the look of but felt cheap and frequently broke, requiring me to get very good at understanding their spring-lock mechanism to fix. That's why, when the folks behind Australian eyewear brand Bailey Nelson reached out and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their process for prescription glasses, as well as the stunning glasses themselves, I leaped at the opportunity. Here's what you need to know.

The Brand

Bailey Nelson is an Australian eyewear brand that makes it super easy to shop for glasses and sunglasses, with or without prescriptions, from the comfort of your own home. With more than 100 styles to choose from, they offer a lot more variety than other online glasses retailers, with options that also happen to be a lot cuter, and for very reasonable prices.

Their glasses start at $149 (including prescription lenses) and come with 1.5 index single vision lenses, anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coating and a carry case and cleaning cloth for no additional cost. Other options are also available, such as blue light filtering for $50 and transitional lenses for an extra $125. Customers just need to pick their style and color, note their prescription type and share the Rx and pupillary distance, as well as the features they want for the glasses, to add them to their cart and make a purchase.

Shipping is free for orders over $150, and customers have 30 days to make any returns, exchanges or repair requests if they decide they're not satisfied with the glasses. You can also add a prescription to any pair of sunnies for just $25.

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The Experience

My experience with Bailey Nelson really started with picking out my ideal frames. Since I started wearing glasses in high school, I'd mostly stuck to thick black frames with a squared shape, but after trying out round glasses a couple of years ago, I found that they suit me much better. After browsing Bailey Nelson's rounded styles, I decided to go with a set of wire-framed glasses this time around, choosing the Ambrose glasses in Rose Gold, available starting at $179.

Bailey Nelson ambrose rose gold website image

(via Bailey Nelson)

While I sent all of my preferences for my glasses via email, my experience was largely the same as it would have been if I'd ordered them through the website. I simply shared the style and color I wanted and sent along a copy of my prescription. Of course, if you don't have a glasses prescription from the last two years, you'll actually need to have an in-person exam done and get a copy of your new Rx before you can order online through Bailey Nelson.

Bailey Nelson ambrose rose gold website images in different angles

(via Bailey Nelson)

That left me missing just one thing—my pupillary distance, or PD. This wasn't the first time I'd ordered glasses online, and one of the big differences with Bailey Nelson was the way they had me measure my PD. Even though this measurement is necessary for making a pair of glasses, it's not actually included on my eye prescription. Other online companies had me hold a credit card against my forehead and snap a selfie with my pupils visible so that they could calculate it for me, which actually continued to leave me in the dark about my PD.

Instead, Bailey Nelson actually has a handy tool that works with the camera on your phone or computer to calculate your PD—and it actually tells it to you! It turns out my PD is 59.5 mm, and I was finally able to supply that information for my glasses.

13 days after my order was processed, my glasses were ready to go and the shipment was processed—though I will admit that it took me a bit longer than expected for my glasses to actually arrive, due to a couple of factors. Firstly, this was at the end of November and start of December, meaning the shipment coincided with holiday shipments. Second, the glasses ship from Canada, and for some reason, they traveled from Vancouver, just north of where I am in Washington State, down to Los Angeles and got stuck there in customs for more than three weeks before they finally got sent back north to me.

And during this wait, the team behind the brand also pitched me to review some of the brand's sunglasses. Now, I get requests to check out new sunglasses all the time, but unfortunately, because my eyesight is terrible, it really only makes sense for me to get prescription ones. They were kind enough to also send me a pair of prescription sunnies, and for this, I did something a little different from my old chunky black sunglasses and aviators and went for their Archer sunglasses in Light Grey Crystal, with rounded clear acetate frames. These glasses start at $169 (with an extra $25 fee if you want them as sunglasses).

Bailey Nelson archer light grey crystal website image

(via Bailey Nelson)

It wasn't long after I put in my sunglasses request that my Ambrose glasses came in, and I was instantly obsessed. The metal frames were super lightweight while feeling quite sturdy, and while sometimes a new pair of glasses can make me feel a bit woozy, I didn't feel like I had any adjustment period for these. The metallic pink of the rose gold was also striking and chic, and I especially loved the unique shape of the frames. Unlike my other circular glasses, they're not completely round, with flat tops to the frames leading with curved angles into the mostly circular shape below. I really like the way they frame my face and make me feel like I'm not hiding behind them, and while I planned to swap between the Ambrose frames and my previous pair, I've pretty much exclusively worn my new Bailey Nelsons since they arrived.

Bailey Nelson ambrose rose gold glasses in person

The Archer sunglasses came in a much more timely manner over the Christmas weekend, and I was also an instant fan of them. Its frames are actually quite similar in shape to the pair of everyday eyeglasses I was wearing previously, but I could feel in the weight and construction that they felt better-made and slightly more durable.

Bailey Nelson archer crystal sunglasses in person

The frames are a style I'm already quite comfortable with, but the transparent frames also feel like they open up my face a bit. Of course, they also work wonders, allowing me to see clearly with a dark grey tint that keeps out the sun's harmful rays. I've also put these babies on a couple of times during migraine attacks, and they've worked wonders. Basically, both pairs have since become my go-tos, and I've been directing anyone who compliments them directly to Bailey Nelson.

Bailey Nelson archer light grey crystal website images in different angles

(via Bailey Nelson)


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Bottom Line

Bailey Nelson may not be the cheapest place to get your prescription glasses online, but there is a clear difference in the quality of their frames and lenses, as well as their variety of choices, that makes it worth the jump from "dirt cheap" to "super affordable." I can tell they don't cut corners, and it makes all the difference. It's incredibly easy to order online with them, though you'll need to have an eye exam or recent prescription before you do.

While my first pair of glasses didn't arrive super quickly, that seemed to be a one-off occurrence, as the second pair didn't take long at all, and both pairs fit and worked like a dream, and look even better. My Ambrose glasses are probably my favorite pair of glasses ever, and the next time I need a new set, I'll definitely be returning to Bailey Nelson.

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