Did you know that modern eyeglasses—eyeglasses with a frame that fits over the ears and nose—were invented in 1727 by British optician Edward Scarlett? Made of wood, lead, or copper, early eyeglasses were often quite heavy and bulky. Over the years, eyeglasses have changed dramatically in both technology and style. They became more fashionable and are now developed in a wide range of colors, designs, and materials. Popular styles of eyeglasses emerged as the years went by, from cat-eye and horn-rimmed to aviator and even rimless styles! Scroll down to explore some of our favorites.
Styles of Eyeglasses
Also known as pilot glasses, aviator glasses were originally designed for military pilots and were only available as tinted sunglasses. These days, you can purchase aviator frames for your standard prescription eyeglasses. They’re characterized by broad lenses and a bar over the nose bridge.
As you might guess from the name, browline frames are thicker along the brows, visually enhancing the browline. The bottoms of the frames are either rimless or quite thin. They were quite popular in the 1950s, so they’re often seen as having a vintage edge today. They’re also associated with an academic sort of style, so if you’ve always dreamed of looking like a college professor, these might be the perfect style for you!
Cat-eye glasses offer understated glamour and a fun vintage vibe. Their outer corners sweep upward, almost giving the illusion that your eyelashes are very thick and bold. Although the curvy browline is undoubtedly distinctive, cat-eye frames don’t have to be a major fashion statement. Thinner cat-eye frames are available if you’re looking for a less dramatic accessory.
Originally, horn-rimmed glasses were made out of actual horn or tortoiseshell, but they’ve been formed from plastic for the majority of their existence. Unlike metal frames, which are usually more streamlined, horn-rimmed glasses are known for creating a bold outline on the wearer’s face. They enjoyed popularity in the 1920s and 30s and again in the 1950s and 60s. These days, they often evoke a sort of retro or even hipster look. Many people credit their more recent resurgence to the popularity of the TV show Mad Men, which was primarily set in the 1960s.
Rims aren’t always necessary on eyeglasses. If you’re aiming for an inconspicuous and low-profile look, you might prefer rimless glasses. Their temples and nose bridge connect directly to the lenses. Keep in mind that rimless frames won’t work for every type of lens, so you’ll need to check with your eye doctor to see if this is an option for you. Semi-rimless glasses are available as well.
Although Windsor glasses emerged earlier in the 19th century, they first became popular in the 1980s. They have circular rims and a thin metal frame. Although traditional Windsor frames have a “saddle” bridge (a basic arched piece of metal connecting the two rims) and “riding bow” temples (strongly arched wire temples, which hook around the ears), modern versions typically employ nose pads and softly curved temples. Many notable people and fictional characters have worn Windsor glasses, including Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon, and Harry Potter.
These well-known styles of eyeglasses have specific histories and sometimes hint at the wearer’s personality. But remember, you don’t need to choose a wild and flashy pair of glasses! Most people choose frames that are simple and stylish, often in a rectangular, square, round, or oval shape. For help choosing a frame that suits your fac, visit Heffington’s. Our eyewear specialists can help you compare your options.
Are you looking for a new optometrist for your family? If you live near southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location).