60 pairs of specs to match her mood, outfits

Ms Catherine Ho, who likes glasses with round frames, has spent between $600 and $1,000 on each pair of glasses.
Ms Catherine Ho, who likes glasses with round frames, has spent between $600 and $1,000 on each pair of glasses.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The two pairs of spectacles that Ms Catherine Ho has bought this year are nothing compared with her eyewear collection at home.

The 44-year-old has 60 pairs of spectacles from brands such as Belgian eyewear brand theo, American brand Oliver Peoples and British luxury eyewear brand Cutler and Gross.

Much of her stash is brightly coloured, in shades such as orange, yellow and fluorescent green. Several frames are made of atypical materials such as wood from recycled skateboards or leather.

The businesswoman, who owns a fashion and tech accessories distribution company, has a prescription of about 550 degrees and wears a different pair every day, sometimes even switching to another pair midday.

"It depends on my mood. If I feel more 'rock', I will wear my Chrome Hearts pair. If I am dressed more formally and business-like, I'll reach for my Oliver Peoples glasses as they are more classic," she says, adding that she started wearing spectacles at the age of nine.


Chrome Hearts, a Los Angeles brand, is known for its Gothic-style accessories.

The bachelorette, who is in a relationship, reckons that she has spent between $600 and $1,000 on each pair of glasses.

"It's very shocking when I think about it," she says with a laugh.

She used to dislike wearing spectacles.

"My classmates used to tease me and call me four- eyed girl," she says, adding that she switched to wearing contact lenses in secondary school.

It was only in her mid-20s, when she started working, that she realised spectacles could be cool.

Her first funky pair of glasses was a rectangular orange pair with lenses the size of postage stamps.

"They were very different from regular spectacles. That was when I realised that glasses could be cool," she says, adding that the purchase marked the start of her collection.

Spectacles with round frames are her favourite and she has 30 pairs in that style as she thinks the design suits her face shape.

"I just like to dress up and I don't wear a lot of make-up, so spectacles are like make-up to me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline '60 pairs of specs to match her mood, outfits'. Print Edition | Subscribe