1950s Glasses: A history of Styles and Origins

The Rise of 1950s Glasses Styles

The 1950s marked a transformative era in eyewear fashion, with glasses becoming a defining accessory for both men and women. Characterized by bold shapes and innovative materials, the glasses of this decade continue to influence modern styles.

Cat-Eye Glasses: A Feminine Flair

Cat-eye glasses, distinguished by their upswept outer edges, became a symbol of femininity in the 1950s. Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn popularized these frames, making them a must-have accessory. These glamorous styles, often adorned with rhinestones, were crafted primarily from plastics like acetate.

Browline Glasses: A Classic Reimagined

Browline glasses, named for their bold upper frame, were another staple of the 1950s eyewear scene. American actors such as James Dean and Malcolm X brought these glasses into the spotlight, making them synonymous with intellectual and rebellious styles. The combination of metal and plastic materials in browline frames provides both durability and style.

Wayfarer Glasses: The Unisex Trend

The Wayfarer, introduced by Ray-Ban in 1952, revolutionized eyewear with its thick, trapezoidal frame. This unisex design was made famous by celebrities like Bob Dylan and John F. Kennedy, cementing its status as a timeless classic.

Typically crafted from sturdy acetate, Wayfarer glasses remain popular today. 

russ black wayfarer glasses

Innovative Materials of the 1950s

The 1950s saw a shift from traditional materials like metal to newer, more versatile options. Plastic, particularly cellulose acetate, became the material of choice for its lightweight and moldable properties. This innovation allowed for a wider variety of colors and designs, which appealed to the fashion-forward crowd of the era. 

Global Influence and Popularity

While the United States was a major hub for 1950s eyewear trends, Europe also played a significant role. In Italy, for instance, the luxury brand Persol gained popularity with its high-quality, stylish frames. French designer Pierre Cardin introduced avant-garde eyewear designs that caught the attention of fashionistas worldwide.


The glasses styles of the 1950s remain influential, blending form and function in ways that appeal to modern aesthetics. By offering a curated selection of vintage-inspired frames, you can attract customers who appreciate the timeless elegance of this iconic decade.

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