Monocles – Manhattan (US)

Monocles have supposedly been on the verge of a triumphant come back for years now. In Berlin, monocle sales rose unexpectedly by 25% in 2012. South Africa experienced similar growth in 2014, and in 2016 annual sales in Sweden almost doubled (from eleven to twenty).

But these incidents turned out to be no more than brief forays into fashion idiocy. The reality is that the monocle has never regained the popularity it once enjoyed back in the early 19th century, owing largely to the fact that they make you look like a bit of a dick.


In those bygone days the monocle was a symbol of wealth and status, and it endowed the wearer with an air of refinement. For others, a monocle was a highly practical accessory; shortsighted chefs, for example, commonly wore a monocle to quickly refer to recipes without fear of it plopping into the soup.

In later years the monocle was adopted by a smattering of celebs, such as late TV star-gazer Sir Patrick Moore and former champion boxer Chris Eubank, and on-screen characters like Batman’s waddling adversary the Penguin, ventriloquist dummy Lord Charles and err…Mr Peanut (see below).


But for the rest of us normal folk the monocle is naught but a dusty fashion relic best consigned to the past, along with pipes and walking canes.

Well hold on to your top hats – it seems that monocles have resurfaced yet again! This latest offensive is being fought on the streets of Manhattan, where there have been numerous sightings of squinting hipsters endeavoring to clench a single corrective lens between eyebrow and cheek, wafting from coffee shop to coffee shop as they try desperately to avoid any surprising situations, since such a scene would run the risk of sudden eyebrow raising and hence loss of purchase on lens.

What the modern monocle wearer may be interested to learn, however, is that squinting is entirely unnecessary when it comes to keeping one in place.

Here’s how they should be installed:

Lift your eyebrows in mock surprise, sit the lower ‘gallery’ of the monocle on the top of your bewhiskered cheek, then lower your brow to rest on the upper gallery. You can then go about your daily business and glean the respect you duly deserve.


And if it should fall out (following a surprising incident involving, say, a dog and a string of sausages), don’t fret; that’s what the chain’s for.

There are rumours abound that a new high-tech monocle is being developed by Google with the goal of providing augmented reality to the wearer. Think ‘Google Glass’ only less cool, if that is indeed possible.

But if this questionable trend does start to become more prevalent then at the very least it will prove one thing; in fashion, anything is possible.