Circle Glasses Frames: Retro Chic for Everyone

Fancy some circle glasses frames? If so, no one would blame you. Worn by musicians, academics, politicians, and spiritual leaders alike, stylish circle frames span the intellectual and creative worlds, fitting perfectly into both.

Let’s take a look at the origins of this trendy and versatile frame shape and learn why it’s still so popular today. We’ll also clarify what face shapes are best suited to circle glasses frames and share where to choose a gorgeous pair of your own. With a level of style and charisma beyond compare, retro never looked so good!

Where Did Circle Glasses Frames Originate?

Although polished rock crystal and glass spheres were used much earlier, the first eyeglasses were invented in the 13th century in Italy, most likely to help monks read. These were simply round frame fronts (as we know them today) made of metal, wood, or horn, with convex lenses to magnify written words. Temple arms and nose pads were only developed several centuries later, so early eyeglass wearers had to hold their specs in place or perch them precariously on their noses.

Over the next few centuries, eyeglasses evolved dramatically, especially with the development of the printing press in the mid-15th century. Books became more freely available, so more people had access to them — and needed vision correction to read them. The increased demand led to more efficient and cost-effective production processes, which in turn meant more people could afford glasses.

Fast forward to the 1900s: For the first time, glasses became trendy. Round eyewear was still extremely popular, especially in the 1920s, but stylish people wanted glasses that were more than just functional. 

In response to this, new materials were developed, which made it easy to manufacture glasses in different colors and shapes, like rectangular, cat-eye, browline, and aviator frames. For the first time, glasses were no longer all unisex but often designed specifically for men or women.

By the time the 1960s rolled around, eyeglass wearers had a lot more choice of styles — and yet, round glasses surged back into popularity, mainly due to English rock star John Lennon. His signature round, wire-frame “tea shades” inspired a whole new generation to wear circle glasses frames. 

Fast forward once more to the early 2000s, when the release of the first Harry Potter movies led to yet another revival of round glasses, including eyewear for children

The trend continues to this day, with many celebrities sporting stylish circle glasses frames alongside the latest fashion trends.

Why Circle Glasses Are Popular

Circle glasses frames: woman wearing a pink top

Circle eyeglasses have a charming, retro look to them, yet the latest styles are thoroughly modern — and sometimes even edgy. Round glasses are classic for several reasons:

  • They’re extremely versatile and can add a subtle touch of sophisticated style or stand out as a bold and distinctive fashion statement.

  • They evoke gentleness and peace, as well as individuality and non-conformity.

  • They can make the wearer look smarter and better educated or artistic and quirky, depending on their design.

  • They’ve stood the test of time and will likely never go out of fashion.

  • You can look fabulous while wearing them with a suit, a ballgown, or jeans and a T-shirt.

  • Many people think round glasses make you look younger.

  • Because of the way they’re made, they support bifocal lenses very well.

  • If you need high-power vision correction, round frames can soften the impact of thick prescription lenses.

  • Kids wearing circle glasses frames are especially adorable!

On a psychological level, we humans are unconsciously drawn to round shapes. Their balance and completeness make us feel calm and safe. Perhaps they also remind us of nature, which contains many round shapes. Think the sun, moon, and earth — or flowers with petals and leaves arranged in a circular or spherical pattern.

We see circles in many spiritual images too, like mandalas, the yin-yang symbol, and the ancient, circled dot known as the circumpunct. All of these represent interconnected, complementary energies in some way, once again bringing us back to balance.

What Face Shapes Do Round Eyeglass Frames Suit?

Conventional wisdom recommends choosing an eyeglass frame shape that complements rather than matches your face shape.

With that in mind, circle glasses frames work well for more angular facial features, for example, rectangular or square faces, or triangular, diamond, oblong, or heart-shaped faces. They add pleasing curves that soften any sharper lines, for example, a prominent jaw, broad forehead, or sharp cheekbones.

That said, if your face is more of a round shape, don’t rule out circular lenses completely. They’re worth at least trying on. Every face is unique, and you might just find a pair of round glasses that perfectly complements your face.

Interestingly, circle glasses frames also suit many oval faces, especially if you have strong features — just make sure your frames are the right size for you. Eyeglasses that are too big or too small may not flatter your oval face.

Also, while many men tend to go for more angular eyeglasses, don’t make the mistake of thinking that round glasses are only for women. Some of the most masculine celebrities rock circular glasses frames, like Samuel L. Jackson, Kit Harington, and Ryan Gosling. 

How to Order Round Frame Glasses from Pair Eyewear

Woman wearing a green jacket

So you’ve decided your look could benefit from a pair of round glasses and you’re ready to shop. But where to start? An excellent place to begin your search for the perfect, full-rim, circle glasses frames is Pair Eyewear.

Our eyewear frames are made of hard-wearing cellulose acetate and fastened with strong spring hinges. All our lenses come standard with anti-reflective coating and are impact and scratch-resistant, so you know you can rely on them to go the distance with you.

If you’re looking for regular glasses with clear lenses, go straight to our Base Frame pages for women or men. And if you’re looking for round sunglasses, start from the Sunglasses page.

These are our beautifully designed circular frame styles:

  • The Serra is an extra-narrow, modified round frame for children between 5 and 9 years

  • The Twain is a rounded square frame made for children 9 years and older or extra-narrow adult faces

  • The Reese is a fun, modified round frame designed for narrow adult faces

  • The Soto is a medium adult frame with a keyhole nose bridge and a bit of a retro feel

  • The Otis is a modern, rounded square frame, also with a keyhole bridge, designed for medium adult faces

Use our Virtual Try-On feature to see how these frames look on your face and to choose your Base Frame color. For example, you might go for versatile brown tortoiseshell, summery pastel pink or blue, or bold, classic matte black. Or you might prefer an extremely subtle look with clear frames that highlight your eyes.

For prescription glasses, you’ll then specify your lens type — readers, single-vision, or progressive lenses (you’ll get a chance to upload your prescription a little later). If you’re buying progressive lenses, which are our updated version of bifocals, make sure the prescription includes your pupillary distance (the distance between your pupils) so your lenses can be cut correctly. Your eye doctor should be able to give you that measurement.

If you like, you can also add lens upgrades. For example, blue-light filters protect your eyes and help you sleep better after being online late at night. Light-responsive lenses change from clear to tinted when they’re exposed to bright light, turning your regular glasses into sunglasses. And ultra-thin Premium Plus lenses lighten the weight of high prescription glasses.

Finally, take your pick from our extensive range of clip-on Top Frames. Choose from beautiful styles like our Classic Collections, Best Sellers, Limited Edition, or Collabs.

Before you checkout, make sure to add any accessories you might need — like a Cleaning Kit or Glasses Case — and enter any coupon codes you have so you get an even better deal. 

Channel Your Best Self with Circle Glasses Today

Girl and boy posing at the camera

Circle glasses frames have been around for many centuries now, and they’ve evolved dramatically while still retaining their retro charm. They’re associated with peace and harmony as well as a rebel spirit — however well-disguised that might be.

And with the development of modern materials, you now have more round frame options than ever before. You can go for an intellectual or creative look, opt for subtle or bold, or mix and match your styles with a Pair Eyewear Base Frame and your selection of stylish Top Frames.

Pick your circular frames at Pair Eyewear today to update your personal style with this classic yet modern look. And take a moment to thank those clever inventors who came up with the idea of vision correction all those centuries ago. You’re seeing clearly today because of them.