Malcolm X Glasses

Malcolm X is often photographed wearing a type of eyeglass frame called “browline”, leading many to call this type today Malcolm X glasses. These types of frames are also known by the term combination glasses. The specific model he generally wore was called Sirmont, by American Optical. He owned many of these frames ranging in color from a tortoise shell to a wood-grained to a black, and would purportedly coordinate the color of the brows on these vintage frames so that it would match his outfit.

Malcolm X glasses were very common in the 1950s and 1960s. Take a look at any photograph from that era and you are bound to see people wearing these frames. We have a large selection of Malcom X Glasses available for purchase.

Original Vintage and Retro Reproduction Eyeglasses

Vintage Eyeglasses Warehouse offers a selection of Malcolm X glasses, also known as browline glasses. We produce these retro glasses with modern materials, providing the essential 1950s look of browline eyeglasses with durable frames and the perfect fit.

Browse our selection of Malcolm X browline glasses frames in multiple colors and sizes for men and women. Each of our reproduction vintage frames comes with demo lenses that can be replaced with prescription lenses or tinted lenses for sunglasses. Because we offer original antique browline glasses in addition to our reproductions, our stock changes regularly, so check back here often for new inventory.



About Our Malcolm X Glasses

Malcolm X was a pivotal figure of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and early 1960s. But outside of his role in equal rights, he inadvertently became somewhat of a fashion icon. With the rise of television and photography, he was often depicted in media of the time and his iconic glasses have remained a memorable part of his identity.

The glasses Malcolm X wore are browline glasses, named for the thick plastic “brow” pieces at the top of the frames. In the 1950s, browline glasses made up more than half of the eyeglasses sales for men, so it is not surprising that a well known figure like Malcolm X would be spotted with these frames. In fact, these were also the style worn by Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

What truly gave these stylish eye glasses their nickname was Malcolm X’s collection of browline glasses. He was loyal to the American Optical brand and owned several pairs of their Sirmont browline eyeglasses, all with different color frames. He would match his glasses to his jackets.

This matching helped cement browline glasses – and indeed, glasses in general – as an accessory in addition to functional eyewear. American Optical and other glasses manufacturers in the 1950s used Malcolm X in marketing to convince customers to buy multiple pairs of browline glasses for every occasion.

Antique Browline Glasses and Reproduction Malcolm X Glasses

Our inventory includes original browline eyeglasses from the 1950s that have been restored to wearable condition. These vintage glasses are rare, however, since the plastic parts were known to shrink, causing cracking.

This is why we also offer retro Malcolm X glasses. These are accurate reproductions of the browline glasses popular in the 1950s and 1960s, but use current manufacturing techniques for a long wearing and attractive pair of mid century glasses. We offer Malcolm X glasses in colors like:

See our inventory for beautiful vintage glasses with optical quality frames. You can add your prescription lenses to our Malcolm X glasses or turn them into reading glasses, sunglasses, or an eye-catching accessory.