Ghandi, Anna Wintour, and Harry Potter have something in common, and it’s not just that they’re all leaders in their own right. They’re also all trendsetters, due to one choice accessory toward which they all gravitate: round glasses. Though they may have little else in common, their affinity for these stylish frames unites them. Many others have been spotted wearing the trendy glasses – even Waldo! The huge variety of its wearers speaks to the versatility of its style. Round glasses can be bold or understated, big or small, worn inside or outside. No matter your personal style, round glasses can add something special to any outfit. Here, we’ll take a look at the best ways to rock round glasses depending on your face shape. Then we’ll talk about different styles and the people who made them iconic, and how to steal their style.
Circle glasses compliment angular and rectangular face shapes best. In fact, it seems universally accepted that round glasses are the most flattering of any glasses shape for rectangular faces. For people with round faces, who look best in rectangular frames, round glasses can be difficult to wear. The circular shape of the glasses can make a round face look more round. Don’t fret! There are plenty of ways around this issue. If you have a round face, there are still ways for you to wear round glasses. Since rectangular frames are most complimentary for round faces, looking for circular lenses with more structural shape can be a good compromise. For instance, there’s the classic clubmaster glasses shape. The lenses are round, though not complete circles, and the frames create a rectangular shape. There are many styles like this, so try to choose one with a thick frame that minimizes the roundness of the lenses.
If you have an angular or rectangular face shape, then finding a flattering pair of round glasses should be easier. The hardest part will be choosing the style that you like best – there are so many to choose from! For a survey of different styles of round glasses, let’s take a look at the people who made them famous.
We can begin long ago, starting with the 1780s. Here, we see Benjamin Franklin’s round glasses, the very bifocals that he invented. Indeed, the first bifocals were circular. Looking at Franklin’s bifocals, it makes sense why glasses were associated with academia for so long. Many scholars are painted or photographed in their glasses, from Einstein to Steven Hawking. Only much later did they become a fashion trend.
Though glasses were originally used for purely practical purposes, they have become a staple fashion accessory for many people today, whether they’re used to correct vision, block out the sun, or simply complete an outfit. Perhaps no one has claimed round glasses as their accessory of choice than Anna Wintour – or worn them more boldly and diligently. A trendsetter and extremely influential figure in the fashion world, Anna Wintour is constantly making waves. This editor-in-chief of Vogue is known for her classic and polished – and consistent – look. For example, Anna Wintour has worn the same blunt bob hairstyle since she was fourteen years old. The staple that she is most famous for is her round glasses. She loves them so much that she will even wear her sunglasses when the sun is nowhere near. \”I can sit in a show and if I am bored out of my mind, nobody will notice,” she said to 60 Minutes in 2009. “At this point, they have become, really, armor.\” Another perk of circle glasses: they can be as large and as dark as you please, almost like a mask. Recently, Anna Wintour caused quite a stir when she wore her “armor” inside – at the Oscars. With circular glasses perched on her nose during the 2015 Academy Awards, Anna Wintour stole the attention of many. Her signature style, crafted by Chanel, is as effortlessly chic as Anna Wintour herself. To channel your inner diva, find a neutral pair like Anna Wintour’s black frames that can go anywhere and with anything – and are big enough to hide an exasperated eye roll. These round glasses are perfect for a professional, feminine look.
Though Anna Wintour likes to wear hers inside, many prefer to sport their round glasses in the sunshine. Anna Wintour’s round glasses are sophisticated and serious, but different styles of round glasses can have a very different effect. Imagine the 70s: peace, love, and happiness reign supreme and the wholesome sunshine kisses the skin of young radicals. Naturally, even hippies like some protection from the sun, and round glasses happen to be the protection of choice. These round glasses are not the polished frames of Anna Wintour – they are more fun. They can be large with plastic frames, or smaller with wire frames. The lenses can be colored: pink for a feminine look or yellow to channel a bug. And dark tints are especially good if you wish for some privacy, or if you’re nursing a hangover. Either way, they look effortless and cool. Their playfulness shows that the wearers don’t take themselves too seriously.
One of the reasons why the trend of circle glasses became so popular in the 60s and 70s is because of John Lennon. But even John Lennon, the man who made round glasses an overnight trend, did not always enjoy wearing his glasses. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he even said that he often took them off because they were “sissy.” At that time, glasses were thought to make men look effeminate. This perception of glasses changed in the 1960s, along with a sea of change and revolution in in America. “Eyeglasses seemed to be not so much for seeing as for being seen,” writes Richard Corson about the time. Certainly, glasses had become a fashion statement, and men did not want to be out of the loop. John Lennon was something of a fashion icon, with his circular lenses and wire frames. Revolutionaries across America looked to John Lennon and the Beatles not only for music that spoke to the movements of their generation, but also for the grooviest trends. Round glasses happened to be one of them, whether they were small like Lennon’s, or large like Penny Lane’s in Almost Famous. Either way, the iconic look of the flower children – long, natural hair, flowing skirts, and loose tops – will always be accompanied by a peace sign and a pair of circular frames.
The big, feminine round glasses of the 70s have made appearances in more recent history, worn by devoted fans. Among them are the ultimate style twins and icons: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The fashionable duo channels the style of the 70s in many ways, with their long, blonde hair and minimal makeup. Together, the twins look twice as nice in their round glasses. In matching oversized pairs at New York Fashion Week in 2012, the Olsens looked effortlessly cool. The gradient lenses upgrade the look from hippie to mod and urban. The twins prove just how versatile round glasses can be: the sunglasses look just right with a chic and feminine outfit like Mary-Kate’s white tweed jacket and with Ashley’s grungier, laid back hair band and sweatshirt.
A fellow blonde and fashionista, celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe completes a cool summer look with round glasses. Take note from this style master: don’t be afraid to accessorize. Zoe effortlessly pulls off round glasses, a statement necklace, and a wide-brimmed hat. The key to this look is the simplicity of her shades, with dark lenses and frames. Though round glasses can be bold, especially when they’re large, they can still be a perfectly understated accompaniment to a cool outfit on a sunny day.
Today, round glasses are making a comeback. Designers like Prada have embraced the shape with their 2011 model, the Baroque, which was so popular that stars like Rihanna, Eva Mendes, and Gwen Stefani all wore them. Men have been sporting round glasses too, like Johnny Depp in his favorite tortoiseshell frames. For great sophisticated round frames, check out the Classic Specs Beaumont glasses. With new styles available from practically every eyewear brand, it is safe to say that the old is, indeed, new again. You can take your pick: a scholarly style with tortoiseshell frames or big rose-colored lenses to see a better world with, like the flower children of the 70s. The possibilities are endless. With a history of so many influential wearers, there is a pair of round glasses to suit every personality and sense of style.