The eyes have it, and by “it,” we mean eyewear: 91% of Americans over 55 wear eyeglasses. According to a study from Scientific Reports, the risks of becoming visually impaired increase exponentially with age (starting at 40), making eyewear a necessity — but it doesn’t have to be purely functional.
Fashion has become more accessible for people of all ages in the past decade, and eyewear has long shed its negative connotations with nerdiness or being uncool. But for those hesitant to undergo a drastic wardrobe overhaul, hopping onto the latest eyewear trends is a great way to refresh your style without going overboard. These days, the hottest pairs fall on either end of the size spectrum, with no in-between.
Oversized or teeny-tiny?
The great thing about fashion is that it’s cyclical, which means there are pieces from your ’80s or ’90s wardrobe that would look good today.
The same is true for eyewear: oversized sunnies call back to the mod aesthetic of the ‘60s, while teeny-tiny frames are reminiscent of the casual-chic revolution of the ‘90s.
Oversized frames serve practical and stylistic functions: their larger surface area makes for comfortable, all-around visibility while pulling together an outfit.
The likes of Kris Jenner and Robert Downey, Jr. are a testament to the universality of these glasses.
Fashion houses are leaning in, as evidenced by the latest Prada sunglasses that magnify the trend into various frame shapes and materials to strike the ideal balance of form and function.
The Prada 04ZS sports versatile black acetate frames to suit most outfits, with ultra-large lenses to provide a mysterious allure.
The Prada A50S has gold frames and trendy purple lenses for a more feminine touch. On days when you don’t feel like glamming up, oversized glasses are also great for concealing tired eyes.
On the other hand, tiny frames that skim the retina have had their moments in the last half-decade.
Korean sunglass label Gentle Monster released a “Nano” collection featuring super-tiny sunglasses in eclectic shades of red, blue, and embossed frames.
The collection showcases the Nano G1 01 model with gold rims and temples and the Nano G2 02’s sharp, rimless lenses.
These left-of-center styles may not be ideal for sun coverage, but they look amazing in photos — and since they don’t cover the eyes, bolder folks can even rock them in the evening.
How do you pull off these frames?
When styling oversized frames, you can go one of two ways: go minimal with the rest of your outfit or lean into the look with matching big pieces.
These glasses are the perfect accessory for a cold-weather fashion statement as winter rolls in, so pair them with an equally oversized top for a cohesive look.
Alternatively, if your large frames already have an eye-catching design, simplify the rest of your outfit to keep it from looking too busy. As always, balance is critical.
Tiny sunglasses call for some experimentation — and a lot of trying-on.
Finding a frame shape that suits your face is essential, as incompatible frames can over-enhance some features.
Cat-eye frames suit angular face shapes, while circular or oval-shaped eyewear is ideal for the heart- and round-shaped faces.
These frames look exceptionally stylish with structured outerwear and bottoms: think leather jackets, stiff-shouldered coats, and wide-legged pants.
Whether you’re looking for go-to frames or want a statement piece to add drama, oversized and undersized frames are a great way to refresh your wardrobe, even as you’re well into your golden years.
Just be sure to choose models that allow you to add your prescription if needed!