Iconic Eyewear, vintage glasses styles

Some iconic glasses were born to be great and some have greatness thrust upon them. Over the decades vintage glasses styles and sunglasses got so good they made history.

Meet our heroes of vintage eyewear and some of the peeps that made them famous…

Round

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Round frames have been about since the birth of glasses in the 13th century. A timeless classic initially worn by monks, made popular in the 60s by the youth buying or borrowing vintage frames, buoyed by the anti-consumer movement.

John Lennon and Harry Potter have done their bit for round frames, so slip on this modern classic and crack open a crossword.

Aviator

Glorious feminist Gloria Steinem in her 70s aviators

Glorious feminist Gloria Steinem in her 70s aviators

During World War II, the military designed glasses for pilots that enhanced vision and reduced glare at altitude. The US Army Air Corps enlisted eyewear masters Bausch & Lomb who developed the iconic Ray-Ban Aviator in the 1930s.

Aviators had a massive revival in the 70s and again in the 80s, thanks to films like Top Gun, they’ve hung on to their rock star status and remain one of the coolest kids on the block.

Cat Eye

Audrey Hepburn taking a load off

Audrey Hepburn taking a load off

The cat eye was one of the coolest cats of the 50s and 60s. Sunnies or spectacles, embellishments notched up the glamour with adornments of rhinestones, pearls, or flowers. Marilyn Monroe was a huge fan of the cat eye, wearing them both on and off screen. Think Thelma & Louise and Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Wayfarer

Buddy Holly by Michael Ochs

Buddy Holly by Michael Ochs

Bausch & Lomb used unique technology in the 1950’s and the Ray-Ban Wayfarer was born. The Wayfarer gave mid-century modern style with thick jet black or tortoiseshell vintage frames, popular with the literary, beat and art crowd. Channeling Buddy Holly, Film Noir and Michael Caine in The Ipcress File, these beauties are just as fresh today.

Browline

James Dean Vintage Browline Glasses.jpg

You wouldn’t be seen without your Browline glasses in the 50s. They wowed folk with their interchangeable parts that allowed you to customise fit and size. Malcolm X and James Dean cemented their cool. Ray-Ban Clubmasters saw them back in fashion in the 80s and the half rimmed design is still a modern classic today.

oversize

Jackie O style hero

Jackie O style hero

In the late 60s and 70s everything got supersized and we have Jackie O to thank for making oversized sunglasses a thing. They’re perfect for statement making, people watching and blocking out the sun’s rays - we haven't looked back.

heart shape

Lolita heart shape sunglasses via Everett Collection

Lolita heart shape sunglasses via Everett Collection

Lolita's heart shaped shades appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s film poster, sucking on a red lollipop, they never actually appeared in the film (or Nabokov's book) but who cares when sunglasses are this much fun?

Own your own slice of history and check out our latest vintage. What’s your favourite vintage style?

Jo