Clear Vision Through the Ages: A Look at Retro & Vintage Eyeglass Trends

When thinking about your favorite pair of prescription eyeglasses, have you stopped to think about how they may have been influenced by current trends? From the shape of the frames to the color and pattern to the thickness of the frames, every element that goes into your designer prescription eyeglasses is influenced, at least by part, by what’s currently in fashion.

Vintage Eyeglass Trends

While it may seem a bit odd to think about, this isn’t anything new. The evolution of eyeglass styles has been going on since the inception of prescription glasses. Popular eyeglasses throughout the ages have been largely influenced by current events, trends and celebrities, from the round eyeglasses of the early 1900’s to the minimalist frames of the 1990’s.

No matter which decade you explore, you’re certain to find a unique eyeglasses style and design that is reminiscent of the period. You may even be surprised to find that your current go-to pair is inspired by one of these retro trends!

If you’re interested in learning more about retro and vintage eyeglasses trends, we have you covered. Keep reading to discover more about the top eyeglasses trends of some of our favorite decades past and find some inspiration for your next pair of designer prescription eyeglasses.

The Early 1900’s: All About the Round Frame

With the invention of prescription eyeglass lenses in the early 1900’s, there was a sudden surge in both men and women wearing frames. The most popular style of the period was a simple, rounded design with a wire frame that served to hold the lenses in place. This style remained popular up until the late 1920’s, when other styles began to take center stage.

Shop Our Favorite Classic Rounded Styles:

The 1940’s and 1950’s: The Age of the Cat-Eye

As the world moved away from the Great Depression and into the Golden Age, there was a noticeable shift in what eyeglass styles were popular. No longer was there primarily a focus on just the utility of the frames, but there was also a focus on what they looked like on the men and  women who wore them.

One of the most popular styles of this age that is still worn today is the cat-eye silhouette, which features a rounded base and a tapered edge that is ultra-flattering on all face shapes.

Shop Our Favorite Cool Cat-Eye Styles:

The 1960’s and 1970’s: The Round Frames Come Back Around

Play on words aside, the round frame silhouette made a noticeable comeback in the 60’s and 70’s for both men and women. This era tended to swing towards a more oversized shape and experimented with different materials, colors and patterns, adding a playful feel to prescription eyeglasses that is still present today.

Shop Our Favorite Playful Rounded Styles:

The 1980’s and 1990’s: The Boom of Bold Frames

With the 80’s and 90’s came more of a focus on personalization and pushing the boundaries with your prescription eyewear. Both men and women sought out more statement-making options that expressed their true personalities and unique senses of style.

The frame styles varied, ranging from cool wayfarer square styles to cute cat-eye shapes to modern rectangular designs with a wide range of materials, colors and patterns to choose from.

Shop Our Favorite Bold Frame Styles:

The 2000’s: Customization is Key

Moving into recent years, we’ve seen trends shift away from specifics and more towards customization. In other words, rather than a particular style of frame or color being trendy, the idea of customizing them to fit the unique needs of the wearer is reigning king.

One such example of the popularity of customized prescription glasses is the ability to upgrade or choose specific types of lenses to suit your needs. No longer are you limited to one type of lens - the world is now at your fingertips! If you are looking for thinner, lighter lenses, you can choose High-Index.

If you’re on the hunt for something to protect your eyes from strain while working all day at a computer, you can opt for blue-light blocking lenses. If you’re worried about the transition from indoors to outdoors and having to swap out your glasses, you can get the best of both worlds with prescription transition lenses.

You can even go for prescription polarized lenses if you’re on the hunt for designer prescription sunglasses! No matter what you’re looking for, the customization options available today will help you create the perfect pair of eyeglasses to suit your needs.


There is no denying the truth in the old adage, “What goes around comes around.” This is especially true when it comes to trends in your designer prescription eyeglasses.

From the simple rounded frames of the early 1900’s to the bold cat-eye styles of the 1930’s and 1940’s to the statement-making chunky styles of the 2000’s, each decade is easy to recognize by their eyewear style of choice.

And in modern times, rather  than focusing on trends, we’ve seen an increase in customization. It’s exciting to consider what the future holds for our eyes!

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