top of page

A brief history of glasses styles

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Something we have always enjoyed doing at Invision Eyecare is looking back at family pictures and seeing the generations of glasses in family photos.

Some styles are quirky and so unique, they only last for a short while. Others are so iconic, they stand the tests of time.

We wanted to go over some of the more popular styles over the past decade to see if you recognize any of the ones that have stood the test of time.

The Monocle

Despite being made famous by classic movie villains and the “Monopoly Man” the monocle was actually a prescription lens used in the early 1900s.

It was usually worn over one eye (hence the “mono” in “monocle”) and was attached to a chain or some sort of handle.

They were more popular in Europe and faded out once technology in optometry had improved.

So unless you’re watching a classic Adam West version of “Batman and Robin” with the Penguin, you probably won't see monocles being worn anymore.

Round Framed Glasses

In the 1920-1930s, geometric-shaped glasses started to become more popular. The most iconic look of that time was the circle framed glasses.

Think of Indiana Jones or Harry Potter. Just a basic circle with very thin frames and often curled at the end to fit even tighter around the ears.

While this style is starting to make a comeback, most glasses wearers tend to not wear this style since it can sometimes seem too fragile. This is probably what prompted this drastic change in the future generations.

Cat Eye Glasses

If a character like “The Penguin” was wearing a monocle in the Adam West era Batman, then “Catwoman” was definitely wearing the iconic “cat eye glasses.”

This was a more popular style for women in the 1940’s -1950’s and paired nicely with the poodle skirts at the school dances and the boy's broad framed glasses as well. Celebrities like musician Buddy Holly helped made these glasses so iconic, they’re still popular today.

This was the changing of the times when it came to glasses styles. After this generation, glasses mostly maintained their wide, broad style, but had minor changes through the years.

Groovy Glasses of the 1960s and 1970s

With the increase in the broad frame style glasses, and wearers' desire to make a statement, we began to see a lot of unique styles and designs during this era.

Heart-shaped frames, bedazzled frames, Polkadot frames, checkered frames, oh my! We can only imagine how colorful and expressive an optometrist's office was during this time period. Just when you thought frames couldn’t get any bigger, they did.

French Fries Not Included With Cokebottle Glasses

During the 1980s and 90s, the style seemed to get more extreme and tame at the same time.

This was the iconic era of the “cokebottle” lenses. Lovingly named for their giant lenses, these glasses we hard to miss.

They’re also the stereotypical glasses you’d see in the 80s movies like “Toula” from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or “Barb” from “Stranger Things” (#JusticeForBarb!).

Make no mistake, classic styles like the “cat eyes” were still standing the tests of time, they just finally had a lot more competition.

What’s Your Style?

For our generation today, it’s sort of a style “free for all” as people make their own bold statements on the frames they choose for themselves.

Whatever your style is, we’d love to help you find it! Be sure to schedule an appointment so we can get your prescription and your new frames ready so you can be the best you possible!


bottom of page