The 1900s was an epic time for eyewear. There was a lot of change in fashion and innovation, which led to some fascinating spec designs. The most significant breakthrough happened in the most obvious way- people started wearing glasses because they were stylish, not because they helped them see clearly.
And since fashion was blooming back then, there were plenty of trends in the realm of glasses that you might have seen or heard of.
This page will cover what glasses were like during the 1900s and trends that will likely emerge again!
Early 1900s glasses witnessed much experimentation; there were eyeglasses frames for everyone ranging from the inexpensive to the super-expensive. People tried to upgrade their style with different types of glasses frames. In the early 1900s glasses were generally round or oval shaped or even octagon-shaped frames. The the mid 19th century you could find rectangle glasses, cat eye glasses or square frames, similar to mad men glasses, frames from the famous AMC TV show Mad Men.
While the industrial age focused on the mass production of eyewear, glasses in the early 1900s were made to look fashionable for the very first time. Celebrities and actors donned various styles and took away the negative stigma associated with glasses.
Harold Lloyd, an acclaimed comedian of the time, popularized the ‘nerdy look‘ by wearing his iconic round, thick-rimmed frames. Besides, the vintage pince-nez frames style also made a huge comeback as a hit 1910 glasses, but with a more modernized take. The older elite crowd famously wore them.
Similarly, in at the beginning of the 1900s sunglasses came into the limelight, with an iconic figure like F Scott Fitzgerald donning early sunglasses as a fashion accessory. And with the development of a filter that could polarize sunlight, antique sunglasses became even more mainstream and effective in 1929.
As opposed to 1700s frames and 1800s glasses, frames in the 1900s were continuously evolving, and with the availability of plastic lenses towards the 1930s, eyewear became an essential part of everyone’s lifestyle, especially movie stars, and athletes. Rounded and comfortable over-the-ear frames were highly in-demand.
As much as innovations were going on in the eyewear industry, the gorgeous and unique antique Victorian glasses were still considered a noble and sophisticated choice. The ‘pinch nose’ style remained a classic favorite and frequently appeared in the early 1900s.
Unarguably, 1900s glasses have undergone a drastic change. Gone are the round wire-rimmed glasses with bow or butterfly noses. 1900s glasses emphasized wider lenses and symmetrical shapes in a short rounded frame. They were also made lighter than their predecessors.
It’s great to see how far eyewear has come and how we can still see styles and designs of the past in one form or another. But, when making a statement look, you can count on classic glasses as they are unbeatable!