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17 Icons Who Make Wearing Glasses Look Cool

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Eye glasses have evolved quite a bit over the last century.  Technological advances, new materials, and different uses all contributed to changes in frames, lenses, and styles.  But perhaps those who had the greatest effect were the iconic men and woman who wore them in the spotlight.  Let’s take a trip down memory lane starting in 1900, and see how frames have changed over time.

1900’s Teddy Roosevelt

Theodore-Roosevelt_The-Talented-Mr-Roosevelt_HD_768x432-16x9 In 1901 ‘TR’ became President of the United states.  And by then he had already become a legend in the minds of many Americans.  He had invaded Cuba with the Rough Riders, hunted bear and bison the great west, and championed politically for the working man.  All of course while wearing his spectacles. Few things at the turn of the 20th century could have raised the profile of spectacle wearers more.  Here of course he’s wearing his ‘dress’ specs.

1910’s Ghandi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India.  He returned to India in 1915 and eventually led the struggle for Independence, in his very practical, full rimmed frames.

1920’s Groucho Marx

marx glasses

What else needs to be said.  Grouch and his brothers pioneered comedy in the 1920’s and 1930’s. And Groucho made spectacles famous in Hollywood.

1950’s Malcolm X

malcom 2
American civil rights activist and author who came to national prominence in the 1950’s. Minister Malcolm X. was an American Bad-ass.  And now we start to see a departure from the classic metal frames and into more stylized materials and frame combinations.  Thes ‘browline’, frames are creeping into the ‘cat eye’ style.


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Late 1950’s Audrey Hepburn

audrey hepburn

Probably better known for her Breakfast at Tiffany’s glasses of the 1960’s, never the less these frames exemplify the ‘cat eyes’ that came around in the late 1950’s and continued on through the 60’s.

1960’s Carrie Donovan

Diana Vreeland 2

Fashion editor for Vogue in the 1960’s, then Harper’s Bazaar in the 1970’s and The New York Times Magazine after.  She made these large round frames her trademark.

1970’s John Lennon

john lennon

The soul of the most commercially successful band in history. in the 1960’s and 70’s, went with a throwback to the ‘full rimmed’ frames of the early 20th century.  Of course the metals and colors used had both evolved.

1970’s Woody Allen


Woody’s films changed the way the world looked at comedy, and his spectacles were always part of his image.  From Truman Capote to Johnny Depp this style was the nerd’s free-spirited, intellectual calling card.

1970’s The Blues Brothers

blues bros

The soul of Saturday night live in the late 1970’s.  The classic black and white look of Dan Aykroyd and Jon Belushi as the ‘Blues Brothers’.  The iconic sunglasses that are still the shape most commonly worn today.


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1980’s Jeff Goldblum

Jeff Golblum roared into Hollywood movies in the 1980s, since then his hair has gotten shorter but his frames are bit, less…square.

1990’s Lisa Loeb

LisaLoeb_Cat PG “You say, I only hear what I want to”.  Lisa Loeb made glasses sexy in the 1990’s when her song ‘Stay’ launched with the film Reality Bites.  Lisa kept it clean with her tourtoise shell frames, despite the grunge.

2000’s Martin Scorsese

Director Martin Scorsese arrives at The Royal Premiere of his film Hugo at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London November 28, 2011 REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)

Legendary film director Martin Scorsese, is 90% of the reason up-and-coming directors wear glasses… whether they need them or not.  Spielberg is probably responsible for half the beards in film school.


Dame Edna

dame edna

Australian comedian Barry Humphries, famous for her lilac-coloured or “wisteria hue” hair and cat eye glasses.  #retro #drag

2000’s Tina Fey


One of the greatest comedy writers of the last decade.  Her style of glasses became a national topic of conversation when she began playing vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on SNL.

2010’s Rashida Jones

rashida jones

Funny, smart, talented, and well…fucking beautiful.  The daughter of Qunicy Jones looks good in anything.

2010’s Skrillex


One of the biggest names in Electronic music.  Whether you like dubsteb or not, Skrillex has effected both music and fashion trends on the national stage.  Try to go to an EDM event without running into these frames.

201o’s: Stephen Colbert

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 8: Host Stephen Colbert appears during the "Been There: Won That: The Returnification of the American-Do Troopscapeon" special of The Colbert Report on September 8, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/PictureGroup)

Ahhh yes, the new Late Show host. Always wearing a his rimless spectacles, whether in character or out.


2016 & Everything in Between


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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife (not so much nightlife anymore).

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