How Eyewear Trends Have Changed Over the Decades

Spectacles have been around for a long time, but they have not always been considered desirable to wear. In recent years, that perception has undergone a significant change, such that glasses are now considered as essential to your style as the type of clothes you wear. How has this happened?


Spectacle love

The turnaround in the fortunes of spectacles began in the 1960s. This was a decade when fashion designers were some of the biggest celebrities on the planet, and names such as Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin took advantage of the mod trend to bring to market glasses that were big and bug-like. Perhaps one of the most famous of these types was The Eskimo, created by Andre Courreges, which had oversized white frames and opaque lenses with just a horizontal slit in so that the wearer could see. Not just for mods, however, these types of glasses were also favored by Jackie Kennedy Onassis, but she preferred black frames to white. Alternatives to this oversized look were the smaller, round frames as worn by John Lennon, with their rainbow-colored lenses.

Moving onto the 70s, and oversized was still the name of the game with glasses, and this time they did not just come in black or white colored frames, but any color a person could wish for. And while circles were still available, the shape of the frames became boxy, with curves for the edges that rested on a person’s cheeks, and squares for going over the eyebrows.

As the public became more aware of eye health, the technology in regard to corrective lenses also improved, so much so that glasses were being replaced by contact lenses, or in some cases, corrective laser surgery that made wearing glasses unnecessary, such as that carried out by Nashville Eye Care. Back in the 1980s, though, laser eye surgery was expensive and not widely available, and the only type of contact lens was a hard lens, which could make wearing them uncomfortable, so glasses were still necessary. Although still large, frames became a little more streamlined and downright cool, especially sunglasses that were dark and sleek. A taste for vintage also raised its head and saw the return of classic styles, such as aviator frames, and even cats-eye shapes encrusted with rhinestones.

But with the 1990s, glasses took on a rather more subtle look. Glasses became minimalist in shape and size and featured such muted colors as black, gunmetal and silver for their rims. Sporty shapes were very much in vogue and even the round lens frame made something of a comeback.

The new century, however, saw a return to a slightly more adventurous style where big was beautiful. Glasses, especially sunglasses, were now big, black and shiny with bling, perfect for hiding celebrity eyes from the glare of paparazzi cameras.

Nowadays, it seems that anything goes in the glasses department. If you want to play it subtle, then you can opt for rimless so that glasses are almost invisible, or you can make a powerful statement and wear heavy frames that draw attention to your eyes. Eyewear has never been more versatile.