What I Wore: Zenni

This article may contain affiliate links; if you click on a shopping link and make a purchase I may receive a commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Banana Republic, and Nic + Zoeshirt | skirt | glasses

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Banana Republic, and Nic + Zoe Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Banana Republic, and Nic + ZoeShirt: Banana Republic (this year's version) | Skirt: Nic + Zoe | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: Love,Cortnie (similar) Necklace: Belleza Mia Jewelry | Bracelets: Gorjana, Rebecca Minkoff (similar), c/o Pura Vida, c/o Joseph Nogucci | Glasses: #206416 c/o Zenni Optical

It's hard for me to accept compliments, and hard for me to compliment myself.  I was raised to be demure so I don't look like a show-off.  But looking back at my 40+ years, I'm pretty proud of the woman I have become and the life I have created for myself.  Success is different for everyone; once I stopped trying to fit someone else's idea of success is when I began to soar.

After college I walked into an Express store to shop away my feelings and left with a job application.  I was working at a place that was exhausting mentally and physically and though I hadn't even thought about changing jobs, when the manager told me they were hiring I said I was interested.   Two interviews later, I was a management trainee at the Laurel Mall Express.  I had worked retail before and always loved how fast-paced and unexpected it was.  The sales goals excited me and challenged me to constantly improve.  As I moved into management, then merchandising, then training, I most loved mentoring a shy teenager into an educated and excited selling machine.  I moved up the ranks, changed stores and companies, and received many awards for my leadership.

When Karl and I got engaged I began questioning my life in retail.  I loved it, I succeeded in it, but the hours were tough.  At the time Karl worked nights and we could easily go a whole week without seeing one another.  But I was an English major who wrote her papers on a Brother word processor and hardly knew how to use a computer, how could I get an office job?  My best friend helped me create a resume in Microsoft Word and showed me how to focus on the positive skills I had.  I went on some pretty demoralizing interviews, but found a company who appreciated leadership skills over MS Office skills and gave me a chance as well as an opportunity to learn a whole new world.

That was 2004.  Now in 2016, I'm the one helping friends build their resumes as well as build websites, social media platforms, and blogs.  I have a technical job, and manage a team of very well educated intelligent people, helping them grow within the company.  I taught myself HTML to make a “bio” on The Knot, and then learned more coding to design a blog to my liking.  I watched YouTube and Lynda.com videos, borrowed books from the library, and made Google my BFF.  I taught myself MS Office, multiple Adobe products, social media, blogging, business writing, and more.  The primary technology I use at work I taught myself out without training, just trial and error and now teach it to others both inside and outside my company.  On my flight to LA the other week, the man next to me asked what I did and when he heard asked if I went to school for computer science.  “No, I was an English major, I'm completely self taught.”  I built myself and my life and I use what I have learned to help others, mentor others, influence others, and inspire others.

zenni opticalI think of the strong female leaders that helped me get to where I am today.  Barbara, the manager at the shop I worked at in college who taught me you're only as strong as your staff and how to do business travel right.  Beth, my regional visual manager at Express who taught me to dress for not the job you have but the one you want and you can never be overdressed or over educated, especially in the workplace.  Nancy, my coworker at that first office job who taught me you're never too old to start over or learn something new, and that you can be soft and sweet but still be a badass and lead a team of self-proclaimed tough guys.

Being a woman leader isn't about a corner office or an impressive title on a business card.  Women leaders are everywhere, in every situation in life.  They're not just in office buildings and Capitol Hill.  They see the big picture for success – for themselves or others – and have the courage and strength to get the job done. Zenni Optical recognizes the positive impact strong women make in our lives and honors their strength through the gift of stylish and affordable eyewear so that everyone can see and appreciate these achievements and talents clearly.

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Nic + Zoe, and Banana RepublicZenni Optical is the pioneer in online prescription eyewear business; since 2003 they've helped people find fashionable glasses and sunglasses for $50 or less – price includes single-vision prescription lenses. With their curated collections and literally thousands of frames to choose from, Zenni offers the most options for affordable premium prescription eyewear for women, men and kids.  I've been using Zenni Optical for a long while (see this post where I'm wearing another style of their frames), and am honored to partner with them for this post and provide this fabulous giveaway!


  1. Sophia
    June 26, 2016 / 3:20 pm

    I love all the colored frames! I refuse to buy black frames, because it feels like it would be a missed opportunity to add some unique style and color. I think I would pick these purple ones (#788417) but I also love the cat-eye tortoiseshell ones! The ones you are wearing look so good- but sadly, sold out now!

  2. Poorva
    June 25, 2016 / 2:52 pm

    I love these purple cat-eye glasses!

  3. ymsiri
    June 24, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    Hijust a quick question. How do you tie the front of your cambry shirt without it’s back looking so lumpy or should I say bulky..

  4. happyenchilada
    June 23, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    I’m finally to the point where readers just won’t cut it..I’d love the Stone Rectangle Eyeglasses in blue

  5. Michelle Halpern
    June 22, 2016 / 12:42 pm

    Frame #238917 in Purple, SO cute.

  6. Marmendy Welker Thompson
    June 21, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    I loved reading about you! I love Zenni—super affordable and great quality. I would love a pair with a pop of color like #104517!!

  7. Denial Renae Nichols
    June 21, 2016 / 11:51 am

    I LOVE Zenni’s!!!

  8. Naomi
    June 21, 2016 / 11:47 am

    I loved this post! I would choose Vintage Square Keyhole Eyeglasses 208916. I also worked in retail as a manager and loved the fast pace and “something different every day” but found I aged out around 30 or so—just too physical and demanding emotionally. I also transitioned to a white collar office job that I love–I always like reading about your adventures in retail it brings me back!

  9. Michelle B.
    June 18, 2016 / 4:50 am

    Love the blog! While I’ve ordered from Zenni for my husband in the past I’ve never ordered anything for myself. After wearing glasses for almost 40 years I would hope that I can figure out by now what styles might look good. lol! I’ve been wanting blue glasses for the longest and #195316 look sharp! #125416, #196716, and #531216 are cool, too! 🙂

  10. Emily
    June 16, 2016 / 5:56 am

    I love this skirt on you but has the hem come down in parts? 🙁
    I feel like sometimes it’s hard for women to be proud of their own success – there’s always a “yes, but”. Not sure if this stems from lingering sexism in the workplace (the number of people that assume I’m my boss’s PA when I answer his phone line!) or our own tendency to downplay our own achievements. Either way you’re a badass and you should be really proud of what you’ve achieved both here and in your day job!!

    • June 16, 2016 / 7:29 am

      Yep while walking to this place for the shoot my heel got caught in my skirt and pulled out the hem. 🙁 Easy to remedy but it showed in a few shots! Thanks Emily!

  11. Rachel Griesmer
    June 15, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    I would get the acetate full-rim frame with spring hinges #636425.

  12. Will G
    June 15, 2016 / 5:13 am

    I like these Class Black Rectangular Eyeglasses 228721.

  13. steve weber
    June 14, 2016 / 10:05 pm

    I would get frame #193918 for my GF

  14. Hannah Barth Bonaparte
    June 14, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    Three cheers to you and being who you are! I must have been drunk when I got my last pair of prescription sunglasses (shown in my profile picture…). They’re totally the wrong shape for my face, and I’ve been planning to get a pair of aviator sunglasses once my insurance is up for a new pair. I love Zenni’s “sleek aviator sunglasses” in tortoise shell as well as the “square eyeglasses” in tortoiseshell – for when my regular glasses are up for renewal too!

  15. Michele Carvalho
    June 14, 2016 / 7:08 pm

    I like Frame #7805725. I love tortoiseshell frames!

  16. Georgia Mom
    June 14, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    I needed to read this today. I DO have a degree in computer science but that was 25 years ago and I’ve been a SAHM for 14 of those. Thanks for the inspiration & motivation to re-learn my rusty skills & refresh my resume. Going to check out Lynda.com tonight.

  17. Janet
    June 14, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    Which frame would I pick — #292916 looks cute and accomodates progressive lenses. I just noticed they claim to be men’s glasses? I was searching women’s. Well, something like them would look cute!

  18. Patty Smith
    June 14, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    I have been looking at your “loveCortnie” bags for quite a long time. I finally purchased one, and I love it. What a great bag. Thank you for turning me on to it.

  19. tgchi13
    June 14, 2016 / 12:19 pm

    I think my current prescription sunglasses are older than my eyeballs but, sweetbloggermomma, choosing only one will be an effort! (Don’t hold me to it, but I’m thinking Acetate Full-Rim Frame 301117 in purple 🙂 )

    Love this post Allie ~ strong women unite <3

  20. Suzedoo
    June 14, 2016 / 11:18 am

    I like the Stylish Rectangular Eyeglasses 103121.

  21. Vubbieful
    June 14, 2016 / 5:42 am

    Wow, I enjoyed reading that. Very good inspiration.

  22. Giovanna
    June 14, 2016 / 2:47 am

    Are you aware that your contact form is no working properly? 🙁

    • June 14, 2016 / 4:31 am

      To contact me? No, I didn’t! I had some blog issues yesterday that may have broken in the process I’ll try to remedy that today. Thanks for the heads up!

  23. Jo
    June 13, 2016 / 8:06 pm

    636425! They are so different and retro cool!

  24. mrsmchappell
    June 13, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    I would love the purple Round Acetate Eyeglasses 104617 as sunglasses! They look so fun!

  25. Giuditta
    June 13, 2016 / 7:31 pm

    This is one of those times when I’m glad a sponsored post sent me to a great new source. I’m really having fun looking around the site and now want to update my glasses style. Really liking the Oval Eyeglasses 7805416, but it’s hard to decide!

  26. June 13, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    something colorful and fun, since the only time I use glasses is at work!!

  27. Roberta Johnson
    June 13, 2016 / 4:08 pm

    I have brushstroke skirt envy. And I have a hankering for red frames to go with my imaginary skirt – #105418, please!

  28. Dee
    June 13, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    Love the tortoiseshell full rim glasses!

  29. baby cake
    June 13, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    I would get the Cat Eye #205625. Also, You look lovely in that skirt!

  30. Pedantica
    June 13, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    I love Zenni! I would try frame #193918!

  31. Charlene
    June 13, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Oh, yes, I’d like the glossy black round ones, please! Thank you.

  32. Charlene
    June 13, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    I’ve been needing a new pair of glasses like forever, so this would be perfect for me. Thank you, Zenni Optical and Allie.

  33. Gretchen
    June 13, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    My to do list is getting forgotten as I play around on the Zenni site. And it keeps reminding me that eyeglass stores at the mall are so overpriced.

  34. Hallie Fry
    June 13, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! I think I would like #4418625 – love the blue earpieces!

  35. Ann Huston Mills
    June 13, 2016 / 11:44 am

    Glasses can be an incredible fashion accessory like good jewelry.

  36. Mary Gonzales
    June 13, 2016 / 11:27 am

    Allison, you are an inspiration for all the great work you are doing to mentor young and and old (me, 63) to the power of a positive attitude and perception. Thank you, Mary

  37. Pam S.
    June 13, 2016 / 11:09 am

    That was an inspirational post! I have found a group of supportive women at work. It’s been wonderful to help each grow in our careers, offer advice, act as sounding boards, and all-around support system. I’ve never had that before and it’s amazing. I love that your blog is supportive of women. It seems like that should be a no-brainer but sadly, it’s not. Also, I’ve been wearing Zenni glasses for the last few years. I love them! It’s an affordable way to take a risk with frames. I would enjoy a backup pair of aviator sunglasses.

    • Pam S.
      June 13, 2016 / 11:22 am

      Also, I finally pulled the trigger on ordering that denim shirt. It was on sale $10 off and eligible for a 30% off code. I have a couple of long skirts that I can style the way you’ve demonstrated. I’m excited!

  38. susan r
    June 13, 2016 / 11:00 am

    Wide ranging rectangular

  39. karabooiloveyou
    June 13, 2016 / 10:58 am

    I’ve been enjoying glasses from Zenni for a few years now. I am constantly receiving compliments for my glasses and am known for having “funky” frames. I think my next pair might be 184634 in green.

  40. June 13, 2016 / 10:20 am

    I’ve been trying to update my glasses lately since a reader suggested it—so I like the Round Sunglasses 1130116!

  41. Lisa Philbeck
    June 13, 2016 / 9:51 am

    Oh gosh I need new glasses! I can’t wear my contacts any more due to allergies. This would be awesome. You look great BTW and are so inspirational.

  42. Lacy
    June 13, 2016 / 9:51 am

    I’m looking at the cat-eye frames for a new pair of prescription sunnies. I wear glasses daily–it took two laser surgeries to get me to a point where I could see with only thin lenses–so I’d love to update my glasses wardrobe!

  43. brazenspider
    June 13, 2016 / 9:40 am

    I’d love to try style 4419526 – blue tortoiseshell!

  44. koshercurry
    June 13, 2016 / 9:40 am

    As someone with a small face, I think the Kids’ Square Eyeglasses 7806825 in tortoiseshell might work out for me! (Hope springs eternal :))

  45. Heather O.
    June 13, 2016 / 9:31 am

    Loved reading this post and hearing more about your personal “backstory.” I love the 111716 style in blue. I think they would make awesome sunglasses!

  46. Katherine
    June 13, 2016 / 9:13 am

    Lovely homage to strong ladies!
    As for the specs, I like the vintage cat eye glasses in tortoise shell.

  47. Sydney
    June 13, 2016 / 9:10 am

    I would go with something with color! I just had an eye exam and am looking to get a pair of glasses to wear when I do computer work.

  48. LindaR
    June 13, 2016 / 8:37 am

    Great looking specs!

  49. Colleen
    June 13, 2016 / 8:37 am

    Love ZenniOptical. Browline Eyeglasses 195421

  50. Patricia
    June 13, 2016 / 8:21 am

    Hard to pick out a frame without trying on, but I liked ##184625 in tortiseshell. Love that skirt on you. That’s a powerful look!

  51. Ramona LaChapelle
    June 13, 2016 / 8:04 am

    Oval Eyeglasses 7805418 in red, please.

  52. June 13, 2016 / 8:00 am

    I have been absolutely *IN LOVE* with the idea of a pair of emerald-green frames for the longest time now (think Sally Jesse’s glasses, only green). It’s been such a touch task to find a pair in that color that is both affordable and complimentary to my face.
    Zenni has a number of frames on their site that look like they might fit the bill — I’d be excited to try some on! Style #s 121924, 206024, 449224, and 4414024 in particular caught my eye!

  53. Nicole c
    June 13, 2016 / 7:17 am

    As a successful woman myself the role of mentoring the next generation of powerful women falls to us. I am so pleased that you are taking up the moniker with aplomb.

    • Jo
      June 13, 2016 / 7:50 pm

      I really need a new pair of glasses! I like

      636425! They are so different and retro cool!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital