Retro Sunglasses – Decade-by-Decade Vintage Style

Wear the Correct Eye Frames to match your fashion era –

Retro Sunglasses - Decade-by-Decade Vintage Style
Retro Sunglasses – Decade-by-Decade Vintage Style. Match the right pair with your favorite fashion era, from the 1920’s to the 1970’s.

Whether you’re a vintage clothing fan or just love retro styles, it’s always fun to take a bit from the past and incorporate it into your wardrobe. Each decade had iconic styles from the well-tailored looks of the 30s all the way to flamboyant outfits of the 70s. With an interesting slant toward accessorizing with the correct vintage style  frames, this summary is contributed by those clever purveyors of spectacles at Vision Direct, who have published a short history of glasses.

If you’re looking to recreate a retro look anytime soon, you can find some beautiful illustrations below to different decade looks. Let them help guide your next vintage fashion adventure.

Retro Sunglasses – The 1920’s

1920's sunglasses - to go with your flapper dress
1920’s Sunglasses – Match your Flapper Dress Costume

The look: The 1920’s was all about straight cuts and a focus on modernist, geometric prints. There was also a focus on intricate decorative bead and sequins as well as flattering silhouettes.

Frames: Round sunglasses were popular in the 1920’s with many famous Hollywood stars photographed wearing them. Horn rimmed glasses, famously worn by comedian Harold Lloyd was the most commonly worn spectacle frame.

Retro Tortoise Shell Sunglasses – The 1930’s

Bette Davis sporting tortoise shell sunglasses in the early 1930's
1930’s Tortoise Shell Sunglasses – Bette Davis in the 1930’s

The look: 1930s clothing was full of glamour and style with elegant, well-tailored looks. The decade was all about femininity in women with day dresses that had modest tops and wide sleeves. Shoes had thick heels, full coverage and ample straps.

Frames: Influenced from Hollywood, tortoise shell sunglasses had a thick round shape and became very trendy, coming in several color tints. Movie stars wearing glasses, or sunglasses became a fashion statement from Bette Davis to Audrey Hepburn

Vintage Cat Eye Glasses – The 1940’s

1940's glasses for women
Harlequin 1940’s glasses

The look: 1940s clothing for women was based after utility clothes that had been produced during war rationing. Typical clothing included squared shoulders, narrow hips and skirts that ended below the knee.

Frames: Cat eye glasses became the frame of choice for many women by the late 1940’s. Developed in the late 1930’s by Altina Schinasi the Harlequin eyeglass frame was popularized by Hollywood movie stars like Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly .

They replaced the more traditional round frame, and were the mainstay for women’s eyeglasses till the late 1960’s.

Vintage Cat Eye Glasses – The 1950’s

Vintage Cat Eye Glasses - The 1950's
Vintage Cat Eye Glasses – The 1950’s

The look: 1950’s fashion for women was full of colorful prints, glamorous shapes, voluminous skirts and tiny waists.

Frames: Just as in the 1940’s, cat eye glasses continued to be popular for women in the 1950’s. The sharp angles of the frame had a lifting effect on the face.

Retro Sunglasses – The 1960’s


The look: 1960’s fashion mirrored the social movements of the time and broke many fashion traditions. Mini skirts, go-go boots and mini dresses were the biggest 1960’s style trend.

Frames: The First Lady of the United States in the early 1960’s, Jackie Kennedy (later Onassis) was the most photographed woman in the world, making her over-sized sunglasses stylish at the time. The Beatles girlfriends all hid behind fashionable sunglasses as they ran from the press photographers.

Retro Sunglasses – The 1970’s


The look: 1970’s fashion for women was flamboyant with bodysuits, mini dresses, hot pants and maxi and platform soled shoes.

Frames: Popular frames in the 70’s were bold and chunky. They were bigger and bolder and a lot lighter due to technological advances.

Don’t let this decade define your wardrobe when there are so many great styles from the past to choose from. Release your inner hippie, disco queen or flapper and have fun with some retro eye wear!

That’s all !

This article was contributed by Vision Direct. These beautiful drawings were created by fashion illustrator Dylan Bonnet.

Sharing is caring!