Originally, glasses were seen as a symbol of status, wealth, and intelligence, and soon evolved into a common fashion accessory among celebrities and the mainstream public. The 1950s and 1960s, in particular, were when fashion and stylish frames really gained momentum, as renowned celebrities like Audrey Hepburn, Billie Jean King, and James Dean helped pave the way in creating some of the most notable styles that still exist to this day.
Aviators are without a doubt one of the most iconic frames that remain just about as popular as the day they were first put on sale back in 1937. Aside from their fashionable look, aviators have remained as a prominent style because of the quality of the design, too. Ray-Ban had originally developed these sunglasses as a means for US Air Force pilots to prevent sun glare from impacting their vision when in flight. They needed an extremely reliable design that would work in such an intense environment. It wasn’t until the 1970s that more embellished and colourful versions emerged that became more popular among women too. Of course today, you can find them everywhere, and there’s certainly no sign of this style going away anytime soon!
These classic frames also emerged thanks to Ray-Ban and were adorned by rock icons like Buddy Holly and Bob Dylan. The recent invention of Acetate at the time allowed this style to contour to the temples with a ‘shark fin’ shape. This, along with the metal rivets on the endpoints is what has given them such a notable look over the years. These became particularly popular in the 1980s and were embraced by both men and women.
The Clubmasters – also known as Browlines – were one of the most popular looks of the 1950s and 1960s, sporting a thick plastic upper frame and a thin lower portion of the frame. This style was so popular that it equated to about half of the sales in the eyeglass market during the 50s!
Cat-eye frames are currently one of the hottest trends in the eyewear market today. But of course, they were yet another one of the most notable fashion items among women during the 1950s. This Harlequin style with rounded frames and upswept temples were one of the most unique, retro styles that gained momentum during the 60s and 70s. And it appears to be picking up speed yet again here in 2018!
It’s not hard to see where the inspiration came from for many of our modern frames today – much of it spawning from the 1950s and 1950s when fashionable frames really entered into the mainstream market. In fact, for many of the most iconic frames, not much has really changed from their original look. And thanks to some of the incredible designers and innovators like Ray-Ban, we can continue to embrace these exceptional designs still to this day.