Society

Fort Worth Eyeglass Aficionado Talks Alpha Kappa Alpha and Her Love of Boxing

Alyce Jones' Adair Eyewear Was One of The First Designer Glasses Stores in Cowtown

BY // 03.30.21

I like to think of this month’s Bomb as a kindred spirit. Alyce Jones and I are both ardent admirers of chic spectacles. She, in fact, opened one of the first optical boutiques in Fort Worth to carry notable designer eyewear 40 years ago. During every encounter I’ve had with her over the past few months, she always shows up wearing fabulous new frames. I actually bought my first pair of Tom Ford eyeglasses at her shop, Adair Eyewear, and have been addicted ever since. (I’m now on my sixth pair.)

Alyce Jones grew up in Fort Worth and was born downtown at the only Black hospital, Dorsey Hospital. When our conversation shifts to her college years, she enthusiastically shares that she was an AKA. For those not familiar, that is the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, which claims more than 300,000 members in the U.S. and other countries around the world.  It had a milestone moment recently when Kamala Harris, a proud AKA, became our country’s vice-president. Sorority sisters, including Alyce, from far and wide proudly celebrated January 20.

I found myself falling down a YouTube hole recently, watching in wondrous amazement line-dancing videos from various colleges around the U.S. In a staccato-like, eloquently enunciated fashion, one chapter sings of the history of the organization while dancing: “In 1908, a story began, Alpha Kappa Alpha spread across the land…” It is the oldest African American sorority and was founded by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle when she approached nine other women at HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) Howard University in Washington, D.C. Alyce Jones joined AKA while attending Boston University. What were those years like? “Well, I could party and have always had flair, so they generally put me near the end for our line dancing,” she says. “It was highly competitive. We were lucky; Donna Summer’s sister was in our sorority, and we would often strut to her hit ‘Last Dance.'” (She adds that she might want that to be her theme song for 2021.)

Alyce received her degree in education and contemplated teaching. What brought her back to Fort Worth? “Boston was just too cold,” she says, “and I was used to the South.” Alyce Jones returned to school to study criminology but discovered an interest in healthcare. Soon she was interning with an ophthalmologist and realized that she had found her passion. A short time later, she had a degree from Tyler Junior College and then opened Adair.

Alyce Jones has been married a little over six years to Edwin Abhiran, a carpenter. She has two children; her oldest, Melanie Jones (the force behind Prim & Proper Gifts), also lives in Fort Worth. Melanie is a single mom with a seven-year-old — Alyce’s only grandchild, named Halston. Alyce’s son, Leonard Jones, just earned his doctorate from University of Washington in herpetology, specializing in snakes.

While perusing some of the photos Alyce brought to show me, I learned that she loves boxing. In her opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful athletic sports.

Alyce Jones (right), 1985

Approximate date of the photo.
1985.

The occasion.
I was with my friend, Gail Jackson Brooks, at the Michael Spinks fight in Las Vegas. Our outfits received a lot of attention and got us in all of the parties, including the ones with all the high rollers.

What you were wearing.
A blue taffeta dress from TD4 by Eletra with rhinestone eyewear and dramatic earrings. The personality of the fighter would often be what determined the look of my outfit; Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali.

What price fashion.
The dress was brought in Vegas for, I believe, $75.

Why this is a Bomb.com picture.
I had such an amazing time that night. This dress was both sophisticated and fun — true fashion at the fights. I went to all the matches for 10 years straight, and I always knew how to put together a chic ensemble that got me and my friends VIP treatment.

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