AUDREY Hepburn, once voted the most beautiful woman of all time, wore a big dark pair in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Buddy Holly was the first rock and roll star to wear them, Michael Caine the first spy to have a pair.
Yet for years, adults didn’t like wearing them and children at school were called speccy four eyes.
Today, they have become a fashion accessory as well as an aid to vision. Stars such as ultra cool Johnny Depp wear them with flair.
Yes, I am talking about spectacles and have found that old adage that boys never make passes at girls who wear glasses is redundant. I mean, who wouldn’t make a pass at Julia Roberts or Nicole Kidman?
Even Harry Potter, the most famous wizard ever, wears spectacles and has become a heartthrob to teenage girls the world over.
I began looking into them (as opposed to through them) after having me eyes tested and getting a new pair. My sight deteriorated with age, although growing up, I knew quite a few youngsters who had the mickey taken because they wore National Health specs.
But attitudes have changed. In a survey, 43 per cent of schoolchildren said their friends were actively positive about the essential eye accessory. They think they make them look clever, trendy and attractive.
One in seven children said they liked wearing glasses because it made them look cool.
And yet as recently as the 1980s spec wearing youngsters were still taking stick.
Adults who were at school in that decade were also surveyed. Seventy one per cent of those who wore glasses said they had been teased at school or had witnessed others being called speccy four eyes.
One wonders why, especially as they have been around a very long time (here comes the history bit).
Reading stones - usually pieces of rock crystal - were developed by monks in the Middle Ages. They were laid on parchment to enlarge the print.
Later, the lens was put into a frame and held by a handle and by the 14th century spectacles had been introduced and were used by the rich and influential. King James II (1633-1701) wore glasses, as did Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). Benjamin Franklin, in the same period, invented the bifocals - two pairs of lenses in the same spectacles.
I have never felt self conscious wearing specs but then, at my age, I’m past self conscious.
My reading glasses are on a cord around my neck. My wife Maria wears hers the same way. The disadvantage of this is that if we embrace with our glasses dangling, we can quite easily become entangled until a passing stranger unfastens us. The advantage is that with our poor eyesight, we still look the same as we did years ago.
These days, medical advances have provided the option to look after our vision with laser surgery and contact lenses, as well as spectacles that are available in designer frames.
What next? X-Ray Specs? So far they have only existed in science fiction but a chap in Japan discovered a side effect when he developed an attachment for his Vodaphone mobile to take photographs at night - the resulting pictures saw through clothes.
It can only be a matter of time before someone adapts the technology and X-Ray Specs hit the market. Through the back door, plain brown wrapper, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say-no-more.