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100 Years of Eyewear: Spectacle Trends Through the Decades

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Eyewear has gone from practical sight-improving apparatuses to one of the largest fashion statements one can make. Sunglasses and eyeglass frames can entirely transform a look all on their own: a simple oversized sweater with a bun becomes ultra-interesting with round, retro-reminiscent metal frames. A black raincoat goes from gloomy to glam with striking cat eye sunnies. Allow us to take you through the decades of the last century and show you how eyewear trends have transformed fashion! 

1920s-1930s: Round frames

If you're looking to mimic the exuberant roaring twenties, look no further than the round frame in both sunglasses and clear eyewear frames alike. Because of no differentiation between male and female styles, the round specs became extremely popular with the liberated female crowd. While the sixties went down in history for being the activism decade, the 1920s were in fact the precursor for freedom championing, especially between the sexes.

The round look was so wildly popular that it perpetuated through another decade and continued through the 1930s. Get the look with with the round, thin-framed unisex Payton and our customer favorite, Blaine

The Payton

The Blaine 

1940s: Browline frames steal the spotlight

Browline glasses weren't just popular in the 1950s--they completely dominated the eyewear business with over 50 percent worth of sales! The combination of metal and plastic was a hit with consumers, who were now looking now for more diversification from their blinkers. The inclusion of different colors, shapes, sizes and materials overwhelmingly had one thing in common, and that's the browline. Check out two popular browline styles WearMe Pro carries below: 

The Winter 

The Rudy

1950s: Cat eye shapes

Popularized in the 1950s by none other than Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn (both in film and in everyday life), the cat eye became a staple in eyewear styles that never quite left the market. The delicate touch of the cat eye that drew attention to the eyes made femininity popular again during this decade. From simple black frames to rhinestones and pearls, the cat eye came in many different variations. 

The Gianna

The Stella

1960s: Geometric shapes, oversized frames, and teashades 

As can be expected given the political and social climate of the 1960s, the decade's eyewear was equally wild and varied. John Lennon, a trendsetter in more ways than one, popularized the round teashades--a style rumored to hide the effects of drug use and were considered a symbol for liberal ideologies.

Colorful geometric frames, as well oversized bug-eye colorful styles, mirrored the uninhibited spirit of the decade's contemporaries.  

The Averie

The Mia

 The Riley

1970s: Rectangular aviators 

While aviators were invented several decades before this one in 1936, the square aviator with a double bridge became the defining eyewear style of the 1970s. Today, this masculine pair is also popular with the female demographic, making an interesting and unique contrast to casual feminine outfits. Think you're bold enough to pull these off? Try the Bobby:  

The Bobby

1980s: The classic Tom Cruise wayfarer 

The wayfarer is another style that became wildly popular long after it was made. Originally produced in 1956, there's no doubt that the 1983 Tom Cruise flick Risky Business defined the decade in the years to come. Coincidence? We think not! In fact, Ray Ban paid for media product placements that caused hundreds of thousands of pairs to be sold in the following year, and many years to come. It may just be the best investment in eyewear history! 

The Ethan 

1990s: Minimalist grunge and mini colorful ovals 

Many of us know that the 1990s were popular for their serious, minimalist, grunge fashion trends. The decade marked the return of round frames, usually in black and other simple, neutral colors. In contrast, small, colorful oval trends were also all the rage in celebrity pop-culture. 

The Benton 

The Andy

2000s: Futuristic and colorful 

It makes sense that the turn of a new millennium would inspire futuristic trends that made us invision what tomorrow might bring. Sleek and colorful (and some would say, rather corny) visions of the future made for similar looking eyewear. Check out our improved-2000s look in the Victoria

The Victoria 

2010s: Clear lens glasses move from unwanted necessity to coveted accessory 

Only nerds wear glasses, right? It's hard to believe that used to be the case, given how much the various styles have infiltrated fashion trends. From round to square; from thick framed to thin--there's something for everyone in this genre of eyewear. They're so cute, we're almost praying for vision impairment! Luckily, we don't have to. Just try these on for size, prescription free: 

Oversized Square Lens 

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