MY USUAL rule of thumb with spectacles is to let two World Cups and an Olympics go by before splashing out £250 on a new pair. The fashion in facial furniture for middle-aged men moves slowly and the two World Cups rule lets me see what the managers are wearing and style myself accordingly. So, with the South Africa and Brazil tournaments behind us and the Rio Olympics looming, it's time to start thinking about a new pair.

That's one reason for the change, anyway. The other is that people around me have started using the V-word.

This usually happens when they catch me peering at things with my specs half way down my nose (what I call the Germaine Greer look) or propped up on my head (Al Pacino in Serpico) or hanging from my mouth by the leg (arm?).

The V-word, in case you still haven't cottoned on, is varifocals, an ocular innovation which allows you to follow the map and read the road signs, something I've been unable to do for a while now.

I confess I'm still in what counsellors would call varifocal denial mode, though last week for the first time I did muster enough courage to go into a high street optician and use the word while asking about them. Admittedly I said they were for a friend, but you have to start somewhere right? I'll keep trying, edging ever closer to a confession that I need them, and hopefully by the time the first round of Olympic Beach Volleyball starts I'll be the proud owner of a new set of bins, complete with varifocal lenses.

That's the boring part. The tricky part, as anyone who wears glasses knows, is going to be choosing the frames. Because fashions move slowly, anticipating the direction of travel isn't easy.

Now excluding the free second pair the opticians always talk you into buying, the ones you end up turning into sunglasses, I've only had six or seven pairs of specs in 40 years. I won't describe them all but a few of them are worth noting and to conjure up the right image I'm going to provide a list of names: John Lennon, Janet Street-Porter, Malcolm X and Steve Carrell in Anchorman: The Legend Of Run Burgundy. You get the picture(s), right?

What I do know, mostly from having watched The Apprentice and strayed into the odd hipster coffee bar, is that men's frames went big, plastic and heavy a few years ago and haven't lost much size or weight since. But does that fashion still have some way to travel or did it peak with the 143rd GQ cover showing Michael Caine as Harry Palmer? If the answer's yes, should I gamble on it heading back into Sven Goran Eriksson territory, and frames that are small, oval and metal-rimmed?

I'd look like an absolute Jurgen Klopp for a couple years, but I'd come up smiling in 2018 looking like I'd been surfing the eyewear zeitgeist for years.

It's a chewy one. And even varifocals can't help you see the fashion future.