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Tura Cat Eye Glasses: The All-in-One Accessory for Women

In the first years of the 1950s, vintage women’s cat eye glasses were no longer simply a way to improve vision and protect the wearer’s eyes from sunlight. Eye glasses were now an accessory as well. Many women owned pairs in different colors and with different ornamentation so they could match their glasses to different outfits.

Eyewear company Tura encouraged this as their main strategy for selling their eyeglasses. Offering colors like turquoise and coral that they chose specifically to match the colors that would be at the height of fashion in the upcoming season. But in 1959, Tura took their glasses to fashion extremes with the introduction of the Turanette. Today, the Turaneete remains one of the more exciting and innovative ideas in eyewear, even if it did not persist much past the 1950s.

Tura Reinvents Vintage Glasses as Fashion Statements

Tura was a high end eyewear company. Established in the 1930s, they were a leading name in eyewear by the 1950s with careful construction, pricey materials, and a range of options. Their cat eye frames, generally made in aluminum, came in a range of different colors, which they marketed as “Vogue approved. ” Their ColorTura kit contained colors like orchid gold, mink brown, cherry red, and simulated pearl.

An important part of cat eye glasses has always been the decorative elements. Tura delivered with gold dot, silver filigree, hand engraving, ornamental roses, and jewel studding. Many of these different decorative elements were crafted with real gold and real diamonds, enabling a woman to choose and wear her Tura eyewear in the same manner which she would wear a new necklace or earrings.

Tura Designs a Completely New Style

With this foundation of design, Tura went a step further with glasses as jewelry and created the Turanette. These unique glasses use the standard decorative cat eye frames. To one temple, they added a decorative piece that angled upwards towards the top of the head. This formed a hairpiece that could also help hold a hairstyle in place.

Some of the common designs for this ornamental piece included:

  • Gold filigree with white pearl flowers.
  • Delicate gold leaves.
  • Silver vines studded with rhinestones.

The idea was to create a jewelry-like element that would carry the design from a woman’s glasses into her hair similar to the look of a tiara. In fact, the princess appearance was one of the ways that Tura marketed these glasses to women, branding them with names like “Cinderella.”

What is perhaps more interesting is the way Tura marketed their vintage cat eye frames to opthamologists who would then sell them to their patients. Advertising asserted that it is “a woman’s nature to change the things she wears” and that women indefinitely had “a craving for a new style.” 

This was the strategy Tura had been using since the founding of the company as they took care to always provide the latest styles and, more often than not, set the course for vintage eyewear for men and women.

Tura claimed that glasses design should not be ageless and glasses must never be thought of as devices. Instead, glasses, at least for women, must beautify and flatter and differ significantly from previous designs so women would see the purpose of purchasing new pairs even if the ones they had were already serviceable. 

This, along with Tura’s focus on making eyewear comparable to fine jewelry, played a large part in helping transform the way women perceived their glasses, switching to a standard where women owned several pairs of glasses and even more pairs of sunglasses with a pair to fit every outfit, mood, or occasion. 

As Tura’s advertising suggested, the Turanette could not stay around for long and had to be efficiently replaced with new and different styles. In 1966, Tura partnered with designer Christian Dior to create the next fashion in women’s eyewear – vintage designer glasses that came with matching brooches, earrings, and necklaces.

The short production timeline of the Turaneete makes this particular vintage frame style exceedingly rare. Although Tura reported that women wanted only new styles, the uniqueness of the Turanette puts them in high demand and a Turanette is a fantastic addition to any collection of vintage women’s eyewear if you can find one.

For those who appreciate the style and quality of vintage Tura glasses, Eyeglasses Warehouse has many different styles of cat eye and other vintage losses. Find your own pair of Tura cat eyeglasses in our inventory with the color and embellishments to perfectly match your style and outfit.

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