80s Glasses Comeback: Today’s Top Retro Eyewear Trends

Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by Irish Torres

80s fashion is currently having a moment as high-waisted mom jeans, oversized blazers, and turtlenecks dominate runways and Instagram feeds alike. One throwback fashion trend that’s particularly caught our eye is 80s glasses.

From oversized frames to cat-eye glasses, retro specs have found their way back into the mainstream, and it seems they’re here to stay. Read on to learn some of the most iconic glasses trends from the 1980s and how you can style them today.

1. Oversized Glasses

Large, oversized glasses were a defining trend of the ’80s, and they’re definitely not for the faint of heart.

From the name itself, oversized glasses were characterized by their large frames and equally large lenses. The glasses gave the wearer an air of mystery and confidence, so they quickly became a celebrity staple.

As a trend, oversized glasses were popularized by movie stars like Matthew Broderick, who wore large black sunnies in the hit teen comedy film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986). Celebrities and fashion icons of the era, such as Elton John and Madonna, were also frequently spotted rocking oversized glasses, further fueling the accessory’s popularity.

If you’re in the mood for oversized sunnies with a vintage flair, Classic Specs’ Todd in Brandy Tortoise won’t let you down! This universally flattering rectangle frame is designed to fit all face shapes and is made of high-quality Italian acetate.

Todd is also available in Carbon Black and Jade Crystal and has anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings.

2. Aviators

Aviator glasses, initially designed for pilots in the 1930s, soared to fame in the 80s, largely thanks to celebrities who wore these stylish frames.

In particular, Tom Cruise’s role as hotshot fighter pilot Maverick in the 1986 action film “Top Gun” played a significant part in popularizing aviator sunglasses. The movie showcased aviators’ stylish and functional aspects and associated them with a sense of coolness, adventure, and rebellion.

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, also famously wore aviators. As a major fashion influence of the era, Jackson helped further fuel the accessory’s popularity.

Aviators’ distinct teardrop shape and wireframes are versatile and universally flattering, making it a popular eyewear choice for both men and women. They can also be worn with any hairstyle or outfit.

If you love the stylish and functional aspect of aviators, our Lowerre sunnies are your best bet! The soft curves of these aviators flatter oval, heart, and square faces beautifully. Lowerre is available in Soft Brushed Gold and Brushed Dark Gun and comes with clementine polarized lenses that offer 99.9% UVA and UVB protection.

3. Wayfarers

When the comedy-drama film “Risky Business” emerged in 1983, Ray-Ban Wayfarers became immensely popular.

Tom Cruise’s character Joel Goodsen wore Wayfarers throughout the film, and the glasses were even featured in the movie’s poster. Various other stars, like Michael Jackson and Madonna, were also often seen wearing Wayfarers in movies, television shows, and music videos, effectively turning Wayfarers into one of the most sought-after accessories of the era.

Today, Wayfarers still enjoy a reputation for quality, style, and status. Like aviators, Wayfarers are suitable for both men and women and can be worn in both casual and formal settings.

If you like the timeless aspect of Ray-Ban Wayfarers minus the hefty price tag, Classic Specs’ Prescott in Carbon Black is the next best thing! One of our all-time favorites, Prescott is designed to fit all face types. Made with premium acetate and reinforced hinges, Prescott is available as prescription and non-prescription sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses.

4. Round Glasses

The 80s round glasses trend was influenced by a resurgence of retro styles from the 60s and 70s. They gained further popularity in the 80s because of their association with iconic musicians, such as Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John, and most notably, John Lennon. 

As a member of The Beatles and a successful solo artist, Lennon was one of the most influential musicians of his time. His style was widely admired and emulated by fans around the world, and the appeal of his go-to round glasses lived on, even after his untimely death in 1980.

Lennon’s glasses featured a minimalist wireframe design and perfectly round lenses — a distinctive look that set his glasses apart from other eyewear styles. Today, round glasses are available in a variety of frame materials, colors, and lens sizes.

If you want a more wearable pair of round glasses, look no further than Classic Specs’ Fritz in Black with Polished Silver. Fritz is a small, universally flattering round frame designed to fit round, oval, and square face types. It comes with gray polarized lenses that offer 99.9% UVA and UVB protection, and has anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings.

5. Cat-Eye Glasses

Originally a staple of the 1950s and 1960s, cat-eye glasses made a comeback in the 80s with their unmistakable upward sweep and sophisticated silhouette.

The cat-eye trend of the 80s offered a stylish alternative to the more prevalent oversized and aviator styles, appealing to fashion enthusiasts who sought a unique and elegant accessory to complete their ensemble. During this era, cat-eye glasses were especially popular among women, thanks to Madonna’s music video for “Into The Groove.”

Today, cat-eye glasses can be worn by anyone, but they look especially good on people with round faces because they give the face definition and structure.

If you’re in the market for cat-eye glasses, check out Classic Specs’ Cornelia in Havana Tortoise. An infinitely wearable style with a subtle rectangular cat-eye shape, Cornelia is one of our most versatile feminine frames. Cornelia is available with anti-scratch/anti-reflective prescription eyeglass lenses and polarized sunglass lenses (prescription and non-prescription).

6. Translucent Frames

In the 1980s, translucent eyeglass frames offered a fresh and modern alternative to the more traditional solid-color frames of the time. These eye-catching frames featured a see-through design, typically crafted from lightweight acetate, which added an element of contemporary sophistication to the wearer’s look. 

As a fashion-forward accessory, translucent frames provided a subtle yet stylish statement, complementing the bold fashion choices of the 80s while maintaining an air of understated elegance.

If you value simplicity and creativity, you’ll love Classic Specs’ Edie in Dusty Rose Crystal. An incredibly trendy frame, Edie suits all face types and is perfect for any occasion.

Edie is also available in Brandy Tortoise, Carbon Black, and Mediterranean Gradient.

Embracing the Retro Vibe in Modern Eyewear

The indelible mark of 80s pop culture isn’t just preserved in the hearts of those who lived through it; it’s vividly alive in today’s fashion scene, especially in eyewear. Current trends pay tribute to the 80s with nods to its vibrant neon colors, exaggerated silhouettes, and the bold use of geometric shapes. These elements are seamlessly integrated into contemporary designs, offering a modern twist on classic looks. This fusion not only appeals to those who seek a touch of nostalgia but also to a younger generation looking to make a statement with their style, proving that the 80s aesthetic is timeless.

A Contemporary Twist on Classic 80s Frames

Today’s eyewear designers are dipping into the 80s playbook, bringing back the era’s adventurous spirit with innovative materials and technology. The use of lightweight composites, advanced lens clarity, and refined comfort features shows how far we’ve come since the days of chunky plastic and glass lenses. Yet, the essence of 80s pop culture—its unrestrained expression and flamboyant confidence—remains a driving force behind contemporary eyewear trends. By blending the old with the new, today’s frames capture the 80s’ exuberance while meeting the demands of modern functionality, allowing wearers to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Bottom Line

Whether you want to add some vintage flair to your wardrobe with a pair of oversized sunnies or channel your inner John Lennon with some round frames, it’s clear that the bold and daring spirit of the 80s continues to captivate us today.

At Classic Specs, you can find a wide range of 80s-inspired glasses. Shop Classic Specs today and unleash your inner retro fashionista!