Notes from the man himself, Philip Brown (aka Mr. Smith)

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Collage of Philip Brown, Owner, Smith's Opticians aka Mr. Smith

KREWE Houston Pop-Up – Tiny House Edition

KREWE Houston Details

Tiny House Location, Hours, Map

Take this opportunity to check out the whole KREWE collection without trekking all the way to New Orleans. Then again, who doesn’t love a visit to NOLA? ūüėČ
Watch our Instagram¬†for updates and notes ūüėČ
KREWE’s Tiny House pictured¬†outside of the New Orleans¬†HQ.

Where is KREWE Houston Located?

Look for the¬†miniature mobile store¬†at 4444 Westheimer (spot¬†H110), on the north side of the new-ish River Oaks District.¬†If you’re not familiar with the area, we’ve included a¬†map below. Don’t let the name fool you, the location is close to the Galleria and more or less behind Target – San Felipe, as you can see.

KREWE Houston Hours

Shop all the KREWE sunglasses and eyewear from February 10 to March 4, 2017

Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 7 PM Sundays 12 Noon to 5 PM

KREWE & Smith’s Opticians

Independent designer eyewear company KREWE has been¬†rockin’ and rollin’ down in New Orleans since 2013. Smith’s began stocking KREWE soon after a¬†Skype chat with founder Sterling & now Fashion Director, Skye, in 2015. The rest is pretty much history.

Want your RX in KREWE? We got you!

Even if you didn’t get your KREWE frames from Smith’s.

Want a heads up next time?

get infrequent news from Smith's Opticians

receive PERIODIC notes

15 + 5 =

FSA HSA Eligible Expenses

Are Glasses Approved as FSA or HSA Eligible Expenses?

Prescription glasses are included on the list of eligible expenses for your health savings account or flexible spending.
Qualifying expenses are listed in IRS Publication 502, which specifically states:

You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay for eyeglasses and contact lenses needed for medical reasons.

Use it or loose it?

The “use it or loose it” statement¬†typically only applies to FSA’s (Flex Spending Agreements) and not to HSA’s.

Check with your account administrator for details.

Resources for Eligible Expenses

Contact lenses, eye exams, and eye surgery are also part of the the long list of eligible expenses (IRS Publication 502).

502 is the¬†document that outlines itemized deductions for medical and dental expenses that you can claim on Schedule A (Form 1040). It’s also applicable to flex spending agreements (aka FSA’s).

See IRS Publication 969 for detailed information on health savings, medical savings, flex spending, and health reimbursement accounts.

– Health savings accounts (HSA)
– Medical savings accounts (Archer MSA and Medicare Advantage MSA)
– Health flexible spending arrangements (FSA)
– Health reimbursement arrangements (HRA)

What are your specific questions on health savings and eyewear?

2017 Houston Holiday Markets

’tis the season to put your overwhelming number of tote bags to good use

Shop Houston holiday markets for well made goods, unique gifts, vintage pieces, jewelry, accessories, and more.

The ultimate¬†list of holiday markets in Houston’s inner-loop, because we know you love more than cool affordable glasses.

Not only are these events full of local artist, makers, collectors, and creatives, but each one is hosted by a Houston small business or historic/cultural organization.

updated regularly through 12/23

Special Thanks

Special Thanks

to local beespectacled beekeeper and owner at Bee2Bee Honey, Nicole, for helping us compile this list.

Her local raw honey is available at the Houston Dairymaids and online (w/ free Montrose pickup).

Here are some examples of what you’ll find

Lux Cups

enamel pins and awesome goodies

El Coqui Cactus

surreal succulents and terrariums

What are your favorite local Houston shops?

keep in touch


2 + 1 =

KREWE’s Brilliant Cat Eye Sunglasses, Octavia

Octavia is large and in charge. These brilliant cat eye sunglasses were introduced to KREWE’s collection in late 2016 starting with four colors:

Octavia’s Unique Colors!
Interstellar to Black 24K (tortoise like pattern with iridescent flecks)
Black with crystal 24K (sleek and shiny black with crystal accents)
Plume to Champagne 24K (feature below)
Magnolia Rose Gold (pearlescent white with mirrored lenses)

While KREWE only lists this style as recommended for a heart shaped face, we’d say the softer angular shape of Octavia is suitable for a round face as well. Actually, we’ve seen this particular model¬†work well with oval and squared faces – so really, we think all shapes should try this out.

Simply put, Octavia is exceptional in optical, not just opulent and unique cat eye sunglasses.

KREWE Octavia, Unique glasses, Houston AllenaThis frame is NOT just diverse in color but also fit.
If you’re looking for the perfect prescription cat eye sunglasses or just oversized unique glasses, we certainly recommend Octavia! This is great choice if frames are always too small and you need glasses for a wide face. KREWE’s page lists the style as part of their Asian fit eyewear collection (aka universal fit), likely due to the longer than average nose pads. (read more on the challenge of finding eyewear that fits: advice for petite faces, big noses, shallow bridges, wide faces, etc.)

Prescription Sunglasses that Aren’t Boring

Love that rose gold mirror lens?¬†Or maybe you envision something a little different like Octavia in black with¬†colorful lenses…¬†You don’t have to sacrifice personal style or lens quality, we’ve got you covered if you’re looking for unique prescription sunglasses or want to achieve the same look KREWE offers with your correction.

Want KREWE sunglasses with your prescription? Message us (you don’t have to be in Houston)


Octavia measures 54-18-140 and features hardware plated in 24K gold for a “luxurious finish and lasting durability”.
KREWE’s Description
Octavia’s oversized silhouette, with its unique metal inlay, makes for a lightweight frame that reimagines the Uptown street’s late 20th-century architecture.


We call Octavia a pair of brilliant cat eye sunglasses¬†because of superior qualities like diverse fit due to the shape and design coupled with unique colors.¬†Bonus: We’ve got a sneak peek at some of the unique and colorful cat eye options¬†in KREWE’s near future, or at least we’re hoping they make it to production. Pics soon, stay tuned.

What are your #Caturday plans? Holi? Art Fair? Brunch?

A post shared by Smith’s Opticians – Houston (@smithsopticians) on

The Reincarnation of a Mid-Century Cat Eye Called Tang – by Victory Eyewear

an iconic mid-century cat eye

We’ve gathered together some archival video and original advertisements for these mid-century cat eye glasses. Plus,¬†where to buy and similar new or deadstock vintage cat eyes.

Manufacturing and Fashion

Behind the scenes with archival mid-century footage (1965). The featured frame is a red cat eye with a strikingly similar appearance to Tang – interesting.[2]

These cuts are from the Max Wiseman factory and include glass lens manufacturing, eyewear hand cut from zyl, lined bifocal assembly, and the consumer end of the optical dispensing process.

  Wow. I bet you didn't know all this went into making you're iconic 50's Glasses #Vintage #Glasses #Fashion #TheFifties #Technology Posted by Vintage et Industrial on Saturday, November 19, 2016

NOW: The Reincarnation of an Mid-Century Cat Eye

Decades after this frame’s debut, Victory brought it back with a slightly softer form. The current reincarnation comes in a growing number of colors and several limited editions. We know the white horn, shown above on our furry friend Frankie, is currently being phased out.

If you’re looking to go bold, make a pop in pastel pink, blue, or mint.

Pop in Bubble Gum Pink Pastel Glasses

Bold Pastel Blue

Marvelous Muted Pink

Stay Cool in Mint - Green Pastel

White Horn, Midnight Blue, Dark Green, Crystal Pink, and Tortoise

We know the white horn, also shown above on our furry friend Frankie, is being phased out.

Versatile Black or Red

Many women choose black, tortoise, or red as a staple to their accessory collection. Not only are these colors versatile and simply stylish, they’re an effortless transition from casual to formal.

Pop in Pastel Glasses

If you’re looking to go bold, make a pop in pastel pink, blue, or mint.

Light muted pink cat eye with pointy tips Mint green pastel cat eye - wintergreen taffy by Victory (Tang) Bay be pink pastel cat eye with pointy tips Baby pastel blue cat eye glasses

this is a go to model for mid-century cat eyes


Send a message to inquire about availability, our current stock, or prescription mail order (single vision only).

Frame Details


SIZE: 46-21-135
FRAME COLORS: Black on Crystal, Black on Tortoise, Pale Rose on Crystal, Tortoise

SIZE: 48-21-140
FRAME COLORS:  Black on Tortoise, Blue, Brown, Green, Tortoise, Red, Black Horn, White Horn, *Blueberry Taffy, *Bubblegum Taffy, *Root Beer Taffy, *Wintergreen Taffy

*Indicates new colors for Fall 2015
Sizes measured in mm

Referenced Materials
[1] vintage advertisements, product images, and frame details as of 2/2017 via¬†and Victory Optical on Instagram[2] video footage via British Path√© – seen & shared via Vintage et Industrial‘s Facebook.

FEATURED IMAGE by Robyn Arouty Frankie is an energetic, fashionable, young adoptable at Pup Squad in Houston (transportation available).

(updated – adopted) Dogs in Glasses: Spotlight on Buttercup!

We just heard the good news! Buttercup has a home in Arlington, Texas!

From the photographer’s Facebook post:

I am living it up in Arlington, Texas! I love my Mom and my 15 year old Staffy brother who was adopted a few years ago through Susie’s Senior Dogs!
Big Thanks to Beth Sparks-Jacques for sponsoring her photoshoot and to Susie’s Senior Dogs for sharing her photo and Great Job Animal Justice League!

An adorable rescue who is ready to find a forever home.

This mature lady (~8 years old) clearly has her own style and likes to accessorize (wearing Olivia). She has also worked toward perfecting her etiquette and confidence with the Texas Dogfather.
You can read Buttercup’s full story in the Facebook comments below and contact the Animal Justice League for more information.

How It Works..

1. Poor, pitiful dog seen roaming the streets catches the attention of an entire neighborhood.

2. Dog…

Posted by Robyn Arouty on Friday, January 20, 2017

Have a full home?

Consider sponsoring a rescue’s glamour shots to increase their chances of finding a special place.

These Dogs in Glasses are out of this World

No, these aren't Photoshoped images of dogs in glasses.

they're professional galaxy glamour shots


Of course we have a huge soft spot for dogs in glasses! Actually, we get a warm and fuzzy feeling every time we spot ANY creature sporting a pair of specs, especially after a ruff day.


As such, we present you with a collection of recent galaxy glamour shots from our bespectacled friend and professional Houston photographer, Robyn Arouty.


adoption and frame details are listed below

All of these QT’s are looking for a forever home right here in Houston.


Not in Houston? Transportation can be arranged, no problem!

get specific information on adoption for each dog

Have a full home?

Consider sponsoring a rescue’s glamour shots to increase their chances of finding a special place.

Featured Frames

Karma in¬†Olivia¬†by Kala ‚Äď made in USA
Maximus in bold red Copacetic by Jonathan Cate

contact us for availability on the following frames:
Precious wearing deadstock vintage Ora
Frankie in Tang by Victory
Vinnie rockin’ kids vintage glasses
Mona in vintage pastel pink cat eyes
Roxie wearing vintage cat eyes with rhinestone embellishments
Pearl shines in Dauphine by KREWE (Matte Champagne with flat gold gradient mirror lenses)

Smith’s Opticians, Now with Online Shopping

The ONLINE selection of glasses is just a representation of what you’ll find in the store.
Think of this website as the¬†boutique version of Philip Brown’s Optical Emporium (aka Smith’s Opticians).

We hope you tell everyone you know, especially the out-of-town folks who always love your specs!

Our physical store will remain home to Houston’s largest selection of glasses with 1,000’s of choices!

Yes, it’s true, Smith’s¬†long rumored website, with online shopping, has arrived!
New eyeglasses, sunglasses, and information are added regularly.
The site is technically still in beta (testing) so please be patient and nice with your constructive criticisms.

Now you can browse some of our favorite independent designer glasses and new old stock vintage, all from the comfort of your home, pj’s, bath tub, favorite cafe, or wherever else you may prefer.

We’ll even mail any of these fine frames, with or without single vision lenses (current prescription required), to you or as a gift, anywhere in the U-S-A.

If you don’t find the perfect glasses on our shiny new website and can’t¬†visit the shop,
send a¬†message and we’ll search high and low.

What!? When did all of this happen?


KREWE Pop-Up at Saint Cloud

Kristin (aka LoveKDot Instagram) rockin' St. Louis and Octavia sunglasses by KREWEWe asked KREWE to come join in on the Super Bowl fun this weekend in Houston!

A few surprises ensure as we team up with Saint Cloud, who is graciously hosting, and MALK, providing yummy refreshments.

It’s also a great opportunity to get your Valentine/Galentine gift all squared away, just sayin’.

Event Details:
Saint Cloud
Friday, February 3rd, 11 AM to 5 PM
5217 Kelvin Dr. – Rice Village
[Facebook Event] | [map]

Can’t make it? Send us a direct message on our Instagram & we’ll see what we can do.

Smith’s Opticians has stocked KREWE’S full collection since 2013.

Stop in the shop or call for inventory inquires if you’re looking to put your prescription in a¬†KREWE frame, need an adjustment, or just want to check them out.

As the brand and products have evolved Philip continues to be impressed, which many of you know is a difficult task.

Keep an eye and ear out for KREWE’S¬†exclusive, custom designed acetate releases and optical relaunch this year.


Where to Find Houston’s Biggest Selection of Glasses

Here’s the official word on the location and fate of Houston’s biggest selection of glasses, Smith’s Opticians, or as we sometimes call it, Philip Brown’s Optical Emporium.

If you popped in for a visit or drove by the shop in 2016 you may have noticed the giant FOR SALE sign on the building.

2016 was quite the roller coaster ride for us…¬†Good¬†thing we are a ‘glass half full’ kind of team!

JohnnyUpsidedown Astroworld Houston 90s nostalgi
RIP Astroworld (by JohnnyUpsidedown)

Wait! WHAT is Going on?

The short answer, a lot – including expanding our selection and launching this very website. Continue to get the general details and read the official story or skip to the outcome.



One day, in 2015, a large board that read “FOR SALE” curiously appeared on the pole of the old neon sign at the corner of Austin and Wheeler.

Talk about an unnerving surprise! In Houston’s real estate market anything is possible and many of you didn’t realize this was a rental property. Moreover, Smith’s has been in Houston’s Third Ward for over 40 years and¬†had never imagined¬†calling another place home!

For awhile it was unclear if the building was actually for sale.

The uncertainty continued for quite some time, literally over the course of several months and into the summer of 2016.

In that time Philip worked diligently to explore the options. While we hoped to purchase the property there were a lot of barriers to realizing that dream and it seemed like just as many to moving.

Houstonia Loreta Kovacic Hidden Treasures in Houston - Smith's Opticians


Philip’s dedication brought an answer in July 2016.
We can now say, with relief, that the location we have all come to know and love will remain the home of Smith’s Opticians for the foreseeable future!


“Wow!! so what’s next?”

There’s¬†a lot of cleaning to do (we started upstairs)

More parking!
It has been years since the building got a fresh coat of paint.
Expanded floor space & selection – even more glasses!
Stay tuned for updates on our store hours and details about any other changes Рlike when we kick off renovations.

Think: “Bigger, Better, Only Looks Fancier!”

¬†We won’t can’t change too much, promise.

Wrapping things up…

Last but certainly not least! We wouldn’t be where we are without YOU! Seriously, we appreciate¬†it!

To keep going strong, as a team, we need your help to spread the word…
tell everyone you know, shout it from the hills – well, we don’t have hills but – from the dives and patio bars to the Petroleum Club.

Read more about the launch of our LONG rumored website with online shopping.

Comming Soon…

Call for Models: add eyewear model to your resume
Why we don’t work on commission or play hard ball with the sales pitch