Be there, be square
In the absence of a big historical book of frame shapes (we Googled it, just in case), we’ve had to make do with a conspicuously small number of sources on this topic. Contrary to the lively history of Altina’s cat-eye silhouette, or the stern martial beginnings of the aviator, square-shaped and other rectangular eyeglasses appear to have come onto the market pretty uneventfully.
Eyewear from function to style
As the field of optics started making more significant strides from the 1800s and onward, glasses became increasingly accessible. An awareness of the design possibilities was gained both in terms of comfort and style, which led to the panoply of eyewear options we have today.
While there doesn’t seem to be a notable origin story for frames of the angular variety, they’ve certainly had periods of increased popularity.
Frames just like Buddy Holly’s
Thick, square acetate specs for men were given mass appeal by several prominent figures in the 50s and 60s – Buddy Holly, Michael Caine and JFK come to mind. Every Superman revival since then probably generated a peak in sales and production of Clark Kent-esque square frames, and modern style icons like Jenna Lyons periodically succeed in giving relevance to the dark and bold square.
90s culture and rectangular glasses
The chunky rectangular frame has recently made an exciting comeback into our lives along with a ton of other 90s-inspired trends. The design had its first wave of fashionableness during the neon-hued, smiley-faced rave culture era. It’s a fabulous example of how an apparently simple design tweak (going from an oversized square to a narrow rectangle) can project an entirely different mood.
Speaking of square eyeglasses and the timeless power of fashion, you’ll love our latest Nostalgia collection – evocative designs with a modern outlook.