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Vintage-Style Glasses: There’s a Pair Out There for You

Vintage-style glasses are back in fashion, and they’re as stylish as ever. If you’re wondering if a pair might suit you, the answer is probably yes!

But what exactly are vintage-style glasses? And how do you know which ones will work for you?

Let’s define what vintage-style glasses are so you know what you’re looking for. We’ll also explore some classic vintage-style eyewear shapes to help you choose your next pair of new glasses with a vintage twist. You’ll be joining a long list of celebrities who’ve rocked the look through the decades. Who wouldn’t want to be known for classic styles like these?

What Are Vintage-Style Glasses?

Retro vintage-style eyeglasses are new designs based on popular vintage frame shapes. They add a retro twist to your modern look, while giving you all the vision enhancement you need to go about your day with confidence.

Retro glasses come in a wide range of shapes, with some of the most popular being round, rectangular, and cat-eye. They may be one color like classic black, a pattern like tortoiseshell, or a multicolor mix.

One thing is for certain though: Vintage eyewear is classic and timeless. Sure, trends come and go — but if you ask us, you can count on a few specific styles to stand the test of time. The aviator and wayfarer, for example, are two retro eyeglasses shapes that have become iconic and never go out of style. However, these are just a couple of examples of timeless frames that can elevate your look and introduce a vintage element into your favorite outfits — the list doesn’t end there.

Best Retro Vintage Glasses Frames

Vintage style glasses: woman happily wearing eyeglasses

While it’s hard to pin down exactly what shapes are defined as vintage, these are all strong contenders.

Round Vintage-Style Glasses

The very first glasses — dating all the way back to the 13th century — were round, so this shape is possibly the most vintage frame shape of all.

Round glasses — and their variation, oval glasses — lend a sophisticated, intellectual look, made especially famous in the ’60s and ’70s by celebrities like John Lennon, who wore his wire-rim glasses in countless photos. The round-glasses trend is still going strong in this millennium, as demonstrated by Steve Jobs, Zooey Deschanel, and more.

Round glasses look good on more angular face shapes, softening strong lines. When it comes to vintage glasses, retro round eyeglasses can help give you a bookish, intellectual appearance that’s also undeniably cool. When you wear round or circle glasses frames, you pretty much instantly give off the impression of a brooding, mysterious introvert.

Rectangular Vintage-Style Glasses

Rectangular eyeglasses were originally considered quite masculine. Horn-rimmed and browline vintage eyeglasses with thick frames were very popular in the ’70s, and still give off a chic geek vibe today. Nowadays though, finer and lighter rectangular frames are also available, which suit both men and women. Think Jennifer Aniston or Justin Timberlake, who’ve been seen sporting rectangular glasses that enhance their looks.

Rectangular vintage-style glasses compliment faces that are on the round side, balancing out the curves. This frame shape is also the key to most vintage sunglasses styles, like the iconic wayfarer. If you want a pair of retro frames that keep your eyes protected from the sun, try a rectangular style in tortoise with one of our Sun Top frames. With our wide selection, you’re sure to find the perfect vintage frames for glasses.

Cat-Eye Vintage-Style Glasses

Vintage cat-eye glasses have been around since the 1920s. This distinctive, extremely stylish shape sweeps up at the temples, adding interest to your face. Not that the style icons who’ve famously worn them — from Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn in the ’50s and ’60s through to Anne Hathaway and Beyoncé today — need any help in that department. From dainty versions to oversized ones, they’re feminine and gorgeous.

Cat-eye glasses suit most face shapes, and they work really well as retro sunglasses too. Cat eye sunglasses will make you look like an actress in the ‘60s — these vintage-style sunglasses have a classic all-American look that really never goes out of style.

What to Wear With Your Vintage Eyeglasses

One of the best things about vintage-style glasses is that they go with anything. You might choose to embrace a retro ’50s look with a pencil skirt and sleeveless top, a ’70s vibe with flared jeans, platforms, and a ruffled shirt, or some ’80s denim or leather with big hair.

Or go ahead and wear your vintage-style glasses with your modern power suit or T-shirt and jeans. You decide. No matter which style you choose, you can count on these glasses to complement your look — without distracting too much from any other elements of your chosen style.

One of the best parts of going for a vintage style for your glasses is that they’re tasteful. Yes, modern oversized glasses are trendy and cool, but they’re a little bit louder than the vintage look (although they still have their own unique charm). If you want to go for something that feels more understated and timeless, reach for retro frames.

Where to Get Your Vintage-Style Glasses

A great place to get your vintage-style glasses is Pair Eyewear. Pair caters to different types of prescription lenses, from reading glasses or single vision options to progressives (the new bifocals). Best of all, our unique range of best-sellers allows you to style your glasses to suit your personality and activities.

Start by choosing from our range of Base Frames, which are made from hard-wearing cellulose acetate.

Tip: Use our size guide to find your best fit, plus our Virtual Try-On feature to explore which Base Frame best suits your face shape. The Virtual Try-On allows you to take a photo of yourself, then experiment with different Base Frames to see what looks good on you.

One of these round styles may work for you:

The Twain is our narrowest round frame and works well for petite faces.

The Reese is slightly wider but also suits smaller faces.

The Soto is a classic, medium-size round style.

The Otis is our widest round frame, and works well for wider faces.

Or if you have a rounder face, a rectangular style may suit you better:

The Larkin is a good rectangular style for smaller faces.

The Finley and The Casper are medium-size rectangular glasses.

The Kirby is our biggest rectangular frame and suits wider faces.

Or for some truly feminine style, try one of these vintage-inspired cat-eye options:

The Ella is a very dainty look for a petite person.

The Wanda has a wider lens width and works well for an oversized look.

Once you have your Base Frame, select one or more stylish Top Frames to give you the retro look you want. Our Top Frames are only 2mm thick and extremely lightweight. They clip magnetically to the Base Frame, giving you the option to switch the styling of your glasses at a moment’s notice.

You can also choose Sun Tops, which instantly change your normal glasses into sunglasses. Our Sun Tops are 100% UVA and UVB resistant, providing just as much protection for your eyes as traditional sunglasses.

Try one (or more) of these retro style Top Frames:

You can never go wrong with a classic Black Top Frame.

The Tortoise is another classic retro color that works for many people.

To get that serious ’50s style, try the Charlie Brown Plaid or the Striped.

The Rainbow Tie Dye or the Rainbow Mermaid Sun Top gives you that free-living ’60s look.

A two-tone Top Frame like the Cobalt Split mimics a ’70s browline style, with darker upper frames. Or try the Woodgrain for a back-to-nature look.

Go big or go home in ’80s style with an eye-catching Lime Green Top Frame or a Rose Gold Sparkle Sun-Top.

You can also choose to add optional extras like blue light filters — this is important if you spend a lot of time online — or light responsive lenses, which automatically darken to shade your eyes as you move outside. And if you have a complex prescription, you may find our ultra-thin and lightweight Premium Plus lenses more comfortable than normal lenses.

Then, before you check out, select one of our handy accessories, like a Glasses Case, which holds a Base Frame plus two Top Frames, or an all-in-one Cleaning Kit, which contains everything you need to keep your glasses sparkling clean.

For any questions on products, lens add-ons, or caring for your Pair, see our FAQ page.

Vintage Eyewear Adds Retro Style to Your Modern Look

Woman smiling at the camera

Vintage eyeglass frames give you a classic and stylish look that never truly becomes outdated. Select your vintage-style glasses from Pair Eyewear now and you’ll be able to achieve a look that brings together retro and modern elements.

Choose from round, rectangular, or cat-eye frame shapes in a colorway you love, and pair them with your favorite outfit. Clear vision plus vintage style: It’s a winning combination.


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Primary Sources: The 1970s: Fashion | Libguides