shutter shades

Functional and fashionable, eyeglasses and sunglasses do more than help their wearers to see or to protect their eyes from glare. Prescription glasses and sunglasses are just as much a fashion statement as they are an aid to correct vision problems. Through the years, trends in glasses have come and gone. However, some styles remain iconic – or eye-conic, depending on how you “look” at these trends.

While some styles have faded from favor, others are still on-trend and can be spotted on everyone from popular celebrities and musicians, to average (yet fashionable) folks on the street. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular styles of glasses and sunglasses that have made their mark on fashion history.

infographic of types of glasses

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Types of Popular Eyeglasses


In the early 1950s, this style of frames came onto the scene and became a popular new style. Their design was drastically different than previously popular metal frames. This frame went in and out of style throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but became popular again when the frames appeared in movies and commercials throughout the 1980s.

Today the Wayfarer and similar styles are still a popular choice and can be found just about everywhere during the sunny summer months.

The Jackie

Beginning with her time as the First Lady of the United States and continuing throughout the ’60s, Jackie Kennedy – later Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis – was regarded as a style icon. So, it’s no surprise that her signature sunglasses became a staple in the closets of women across the country. These oversized sunglasses were her signature piece during her years in the White House. Following their appearance on the First Lady, women across the country adapted the style and passed it down through generations. Oversized shades have remained popular throughout the years with slightly different styles emerging.


Aviators were originally designed in the 1930s to protect the eyes of pilots while flying. The style became standard for military members during World War II and started to pique public interest when pilots were photographed in the glasses. By the 1970s, variations on the aviator style glasses began emerging including adaptions for women and other adjustments.

Today aviators are still a common choice for every day wear, as well as with pilots and police officers, and commonly appear in Halloween costumes.


This style of sunglasses originally started out as browline glasses. The original style was so popular because of its clean lines and unique shape that a sunglasses version was introduced. The style quickly took off in pop culture and was often worn by John F. Kennedy.

Round Frames

Anyone who has been to the movies in the past decade will recognize these iconic glasses. With wire frames with circular lenses, this style is versatile and has been around for decades. While this particular take on the style is more popular for Hollywood premieres and Halloween, round frames have been around since the 1930s. Round frames have appeared as early as the American colonial times on patriots like Benjamin Franklin and have since made notable appearances in the 1960s with hippie culture and well-known musicians, such as John Lennon. Throughout the years, the glasses have become more of a fashion trend and last saw their peak popularity around 2009.

Shutter Shades

Shutter shades aren’t practical for protecting your eyes, but are perfect for Halloween or costume parties. Actually called “louvered sunglasses,” this style was introduced in the 1950s and has been redesigned periodically throughout the decades. This style is available for both women and men and comes in a variety of colors and designs.

*The Wayfarer and the Clubmaster are registered trademarks of Luxottica Group SpA.

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About UPMC Vision Institute

The UPMC Vision Institute is a national leader in the treatment of eye diseases and disorders. We seek to improve and restore your vision to help your quality of life, diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions in both children and adults. Our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We also offer routine eye screenings and have full-scale optical shops. Find an eye expert close to you.