With her sand-coloured slacks, coral dress shirt and black leather shoes, Jada D'Aversa was dressed to the nines for her first day on the job as a preschool teacher in Toronto this summer.
But she wanted to be a perfect 10. So she slipped on an accessory that would add spark to her outfit, a pair of "flasses" - or fake glasses.
Found on the shelves of American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and H&M, flasses are typically meant for play.
But a growing number of college and university grads who are entering the work world are using the non-prescription glasses to polish off a professional look and score a strong first impression on their boss and colleagues.
"They wear glasses, they must be smart," said Ms. D'Aversa, 32, who graduated from teachers' college in July. "It's the first thing they see before you open your mouth. If you're nervous, it's a good way to mask that. I don't have to speak, the flasses speak for me," she said, sliding her flasses to the end of her nose on a café patio.
Although Ms. D'Aversa started wearing flasses for fun, she quickly learned they bring out her bookish side.
"It's a more introspective version, a more studious version, of myself; someone who thinks a lot," she said.
Micheal Mason from Ottawa wears flasses to his job as a retail manager.
"I'm 22, right? I wear the fake glasses to change my look. I feel more mature, a little older or a little more professional when I'm wearing them," said Mr. Mason, who hopes to sport his flasses in an office setting after graduating from Carleton University this spring (he also wears them to job interviews).
It is not only the 20-20 crowd wearing flasses. Some with a prescription do as well. Dana Dallal, 23 and a recent Ryerson University graduate in Toronto who now works at a jewellery boutique, wears her contacts behind frames too fragile to fit her prescription.
Others turn to flasses after having laser eye surgery. Jon Fiddler, a 29-year-old student and research assistant at the University of Toronto, wears them in and out of the office.
"I think it liberated me to think about glasses as more of a fun accessory as opposed to something I was saddled with," he said.
For style consultant Cori Burchell, flasses are a suitable accessory for the workplace - depending on the style.
"The best thing is to err on the side of being a little conservative for the first day," Toronto resident Ms. Burchell said. "I would choose a more generic style of frames rather than a dress-up item like cat-eye glasses, which are more of an evening thing."
Flasses may look like glasses, but Darren Pelcz, a 27-year-old manager at Spectacle eyewear shop in Toronto, notes the difference.
"You can tell by the UV coating on glasses. There's a greenish or purple hue to it. If there's a lot of fogging, either they're really crappily made ... or they're flasses," he said, adding that a farsighted prescription magnifies the eyes, while a shortsighted one shrinks them.
"Glasses are a medical device. If you're whipping [them]off and still reading things, you might have an imposter on your hands."
But Jeff Fernandes, a 33-year-old optician at Spectacle, points out that more clients are ordering flasses with an anti-reflective, UV-coating lens so they look more like glasses.
While Ms. D'Aversa will fess up if asked about her flasses, some of her closest friends such as Roberta Latour, a 24-year-old makeup artist, didn't know she wore them until now.
"She never told me - they're fake? I always thought they were real," Ms. Latour said. "I want to try them on now."
Special to The Globe and Mail