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Eyeglass Styles

Popular Eyeglass Frame Styles

Prior to the early 20th century, eyeglasses were not considered a fashion accessory; people who wore them carried the burden of being looked at as either old, or too smart for their own good (since the belief at the time was that reading too much ruined your eyes). As more and more people have come to require eyeglasses, and various beloved public figures have been phographed wearing glasses, they have not only become acceptable but a fashion accessory and a part of people's personal image.

Like clothing, eyeglass styles and their popularity change over time. Here are some styles of eyeglasses currently in demand:


In the 2010s, 1960s style plastic frames- traditionally referred to as "horn rimmed glasses"– have become the most popular choice of eyewear. Originally popularized as part of the "geek chic" look of the late 2000s by college students wearing intentionally oversized plastic frames, a more toned-down version of the look began to gravitate into the business world within a few years.

While the geek chic look was primarily composed of black plastic glasses, tortoise shell has become a popular color as the look has become more professional. In addition to regular plastic frames, different styles– all updates on 1940s-1960s styles– are currently available:

Fades are plastic glasses that start out a dark, solid color at the top and become clear at the bottom of the frame. The style was popular throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. Many modern fades abruptly shift from solid to clear at the bottom instead of having a progressive fade. This style began to gain in popularity in late 2011 and has taken off in 2012.

Browline glasses (also called combination frames) are half-plastic, half-metal frames. They are ideal for those who like the look of plastic frames but also want adjustable nosepads. The top and arms of the frames are made of plastic, while the bottom of the frame is made of metal. The style was the most popular kind of eyeglasses in the United States from the 1940s through the 1950s and remained popular through the 1960s. They have begun to gain in popularity in 2012. Modern browlines tend to be oval or rectangular in shape instead of round.

Cateye glasses are a type of plastic women's frame that has sharply pointed corners. Older styles had rhinestones or other gems on these points; modern styles are sleeker and more understated than traditional cateye frames.

Mod glasses are a type of plastic women's frame that are similar to cateye glasses, but have bold sides all around to create a "bubble" effect. They are named for– and came from– the "Mod" culture of 1960s Britain, a youth subculture that was interested in following fashion and music trends. They come in a variety of shapes, and were some of the first frames to be offered in bright colors.

Crystal glasses are clear plastic glasses. From a distance, they may give the impression that the wearer doesn't have eyeglasses on at all. They have usually been used as an alternative by people who like plastic glasses but don't want to wear something too bold. Traditionally, they have almost always been round. Modern crystal glasses tend to be rectangular.

Rimless Glasses

Rimless glasses (also called three-piece glasses) are eyeglasses in which the lenses are mounted directly to the bridge and arms instead of inside actual frames. They were the first style of eyeglasses to be considered "cool" when Teddy Roosevelt began wearing a pair. The style has remained popular through the 20th century and never really gone out of style, although the number of people wearing them has fluctuated depending on eyeglass trends of the era. Rimless glasses became exceptionally fashionable in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the application of titanium in eyeglass frame design allowed the already lightweight frames to become even lighter. Because they lack a complete frame, rimless glasses are more fragile than other types of eyewere and require special care.