Eye Health Central

5 Cultural Icons That Changed Eyewear Forever

The ones that influenced whole generations

Eyewear is now not just something people wear to improve their vision, but sometimes merely a fashion statement to complete a look! Glasses can be used to make a statement or contribute to your finished look. Throughout history, there have been significant changes in the way we view eyewear from influential individuals who have the power to shift and create new trends without even trying (and that’s when you know you're a total icon!)!

1. Audrey Hepburn: The Timeless Elegance

Audrey Hepburn, the epitome of elegance and sophistication, left an everlasting influence on eyewear. Her role as Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" showcased her wearing those iconic oversized sunglasses, which instantly became a style statement. These sunglasses not only protected her eyes but also exuded a sense of mystery and glamour. The Audrey-inspired cat-eye frames and oversized sunglasses continue to be popular choices, embodying her timeless charm.

2. John Lennon: The Round Revolution

The legendary musician John Lennon was not just a trendsetter in music but also in eyewear. His round, rimless glasses have become synonymous with his unique style. These circular frames, often accompanied by slightly tinted lenses, transformed eyewear from a mere vision aid into a symbol of counterculture and individualism. Lennon's glasses embodied the spirit of the 1960s and remain an icon of artistic expression.

Elton John- Extravagant eyewear

3. Elton John: Where Extravagance Meets Eyewear

Elton John's flamboyant sense of style extended beyond his music to his eyewear choices. He's renowned for his bold, eccentric frames that range from oversized sunglasses adorned with sparkling embellishments to avant-garde shapes in vibrant colours. By embracing eyewear as an extension of his personality, Elton John inspired generations to view glasses as an opportunity for self-expression and boundary-pushing fashion.

4. Steve Jobs: The Minimalist Power of Eyewear

While not known for his diverse eyewear collection, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, redefined the concept of eyewear simplicity. His iconic round, rimless glasses became a hallmark of his minimalist design philosophy. These glasses underscored the power of minimalism and functionality, influencing eyewear brands to create sleek, understated designs that emphasize clean lines and premium materials. 

5. Iris Apfel: Embracing Eccentricity

Iris Apfel, the fashion icon known for her maximalist approach to style, has shown that eyewear can be a canvas for self-expression at any age. Her oversized, bold frames in vibrant colours and unconventional shapes challenge societal norms about aging and fashion. By celebrating individuality and embracing eccentricity, Iris Apfel's eyewear choices have inspired people to step out of their comfort zones and embrace their unique tastes.

You should never have to compromise on your looks and the way you can express yourself just because of a bit (or a lot) of bad eyesight! Allow your glasses (whether you need them or not) to be yet another vessel for you to explore your personality and express your style… and even if they're a style that isn’t viewed as ‘in fashion’… every trend has to start somewhere, be the next Elton or Audrey, be bold and create a look that screams YOU! 

The legacy of these icons lives on in the way we associate them with different styles in something as small as glasses frames! It can be argued that these were just some of the people who made wearing glasses ‘cool’ instead of an inconvenient necessity!

If these icons didn’t exist and the significance of their fame wasn’t recognised through glasses frames… what would be the thoughts behind having to wear glasses? Set your own trend and be the next glasses-wearing icon that makes people think of you and have your name in the glasses-wearing hall of fame! 

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 18 Oct 2023, Last modified: 20 May 2024