Retro styles are all the rage in fashion these days, and eyewear is no exception. If you love the looks of the past, this is your time to shine. The first step? Knowing what to look for. There's a difference between retro glasses and vintage glasses.
From fun and funky 1950s vintage eyewear with cat eye frames to the sleek and cool aviators of the 1970s, you have a huge array of options to choose from. JINS offers a variety of frames and lenses, so you can find the right fit for your face and personal style. Discover some of our favorite options below.
Retro vs. Vintage: What's the Difference?
The terms “retro” and “vintage” are frequently used interchangeably. While both terms give a nod to the past, they actually have different meanings.
In the fashion world, if something is "vintage," it's literally from another era. Usually, an accessory or piece of clothing is considered vintage if it's from an era at least twenty years ago. A vintage item is an original of its time, crafted and manufactured in the past.
In contrast, "retro" items are modern goods that mimic a vintage style. Retro items are designed and manufactured in the present but get their inspiration from looks of the past.
There are pros and cons to either option. If you want an authentic original from another time, a pair of vintage glasses is the right pick. However, finding vintage eyeglasses that are in good condition can be difficult, and there's no guarantee that the glasses you find will match your prescription (although you can pay extra to replace the lenses).
If you're simply after a certain vintage style, retro glasses are the perfect alternative. You'll get the appearance of vintage frames with all the comforts of modern technologies. For example, you can have modern lenses that block blue light, helping to reduce the risk of tired eyes after a long day in front of your computer.
Trends by Decade
Do you prefer a browline or cat eye? Are you more into wireless or oversized frames? Does the 1950s suit your style or are the 1990s calling your name?
Rest assured, there's something for everyone at JINS. Learn about different looks by decade and discover some of our favorite JINS styles for each era below.
When you think of the 1950s, cat eye glasses are probably what come to mind first. Designed to accentuate the browline, this style gives the face a virtual lift thanks to the upsweep at the frame's edges (the hallmark of the style).
The 1950s cat eye was made popular by one of the sultriest talents of Hollywood's past: golden girl Marilyn Monroe. This is a trend that remains popular today, thanks to the way it emphasizes more feminine features, playing up the cheekbones and highlighting the eyes.
If you want to bring this 1950s style to the present, check out JINS Classic Bold low-bridge fit frames. For a more feminine appearance, try the Femme 20S-U232, which has a thinner frame. Either option will give you the characteristic upward swoop at the frame's edges.
If the cat eye look isn't your thing, the browline eyewear of the 1950s may be a suitable alternative. Browline glasses have a prominent upper frame, parallel to the browline, almost as if they were a second set of eyebrows.
Malcolm X was famed for browline glasses and reportedly had multiple pairs of browline styles in various shades. The retro look was later reintroduced in the 1980s by actor Matthew Broderick in his role as Ferris Bueller in the Hollywood favorite Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
If you want to try the browline look, pick up Femme U262 for a round lens shape or JINS Design Project X Alberto Meda for a more rectangular shape. For a modern and monochromatic take, try the JINS Classic Oversized 22A-097.
The cat eye frame of the 1950s proved so popular that it stayed in style well into the 1960s. In this case, the frames found a new style champion in another screen siren: Audrey Hepburn. One of the most iconic representations of cat eye glasses is seen on Hepburn's character Holly Golightly in the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
For a screen-worthy cat eye look that mimics Hepburn's delicate appeal, try the Femme Slim Oversized U163 frames. You can find a more modern take on the cat eye in the Airframe Slim Vivid U161, which offers a soft, slightly rectangular. These frames are ultra-light for all-day comfort.
Another popular look of the decade was the round eyeglasses frame. Rounded frames subtly highlight the brow line and work well with all kinds of styles, from casual to professional.
One of the most famous faces of the decade sported round eyeglasses: John Lennon of the Beatles. Old frames of Lennon's have even been sold at auction, going for thousands of dollars. Sotheby's Auction House even labels them "the most iconic sunglasses in rock'n'roll history" (and sells them at a whopping 6,000 Great British Pounds starting bid).
Not to worry: You can get a pair of round retro eyeglasses for far less than that! Try the JINS Airframe Slim Combi 035 for a classic round frame with lightweight comfort.
If you want something that more closely mimics Lennon's appearance, we suggest the JINS x JUJUTSU KAISEN Satoru Gojo Model. The trendy metal frame is neat and slender. At the temple end is a motif inspired by Gojo's "Mukagenjujutsu" technique.
The round frames of the 1960s carried on into the 1970s. One famous face of the era that sported round frames was Elton John. The music legend took the look over-the-top, sporting oversized round frames that covered almost his entire face—a fitting look to complement his wild stage outfits.
Oversized glasses of all shapes, not just round, became a trend in this decade. David Bowie, another rock star known for his eccentric fashions, also hopped on board the trend. More recently, the look has gotten nods from stars like Justin Timberlake and David Beckham.
If you're ready to rock the oversized styles of the rich and famous, JINS has you covered. One of our favorites: the Airframe Slim Oversized 220, which marries the oversized look with contemporary flair. If you prefer wire frames, we recommend the Rim Sheet Slim 098 for a subtle yet glamorous style.
The 1970s were also famous for ushering in one of the most iconic glasses looks of all times: the aviators. If you love Tom Cruise's look in “Top Gun,” this is the right style for you.
Aviators originated in the 1930s when they were used to protect plane pilot's eyes during flights. The glasses made it big on the fashion scene in the 1970s. Michael Jackson helped spur the frame's rise to popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Elvis Presley was another musical powerhouse who popularized the look.
Aviators are a classic look that's stood the test of time—people still love them today. Check out the JINS Modern Rim Double 096 to be faithful to the classic style. If you prefer a more subtle nod to the aviator frame, try the All Titanium Minimal 050 for an updated style with surprising details.
Everything was a little bit bigger in the 1980s: the hair, the shoulder pads, and the glasses frames! It should come as no surprise that the trend of oversized eyewear continued from the 1970s into the 1980s, picking up steam as more celebrities came to sport this eye-catching fashion. Many of the frame styles we've already talked about, from aviators to round frames, were supersized in this era.
Superstars—from actress Susan Sarandon to Princess Diana—were spotted with larger-than-life frames on. Sometimes, the styles mixed and matched. You'd have frames that were cat eye and supersized or aviator and supersized. As long as the glasses covered more than half of your face, they fit the bill!
The 1980s also took the oversize trend to the next level by adding other trends of the decade, like tinted acetate to match the decade's bold fashion.
The oversized craze has made a comeback. Infamous scammer Anna Delvy (or should we call her Anna Sorokin?) is well known for her huge frames. Fashion icon Iris Apfel is a style icon who likes her glasses large.
If you want an oversized look with a modern twist, consider the Airframe Matte Duo Oversized 157. The frames have a more boxy, rectangular shape that recalls the early days of hip-hop fashion.
The 1990s saw a shift in eyewear fashion, moving away from oversized looks to sleeker, more minimalistic frames. Metal and wire frames caught on during this time, along with rimless and semi-rimless glasses. Steve Jobs is probably the most iconic example of timeless yet futuristic style.
Since 1990s fashion has made a comeback in the 2020s, many celebrities of the moment are following in Jobs's footsteps. Supermodel Bella Hadid and model and actress Emily Ratajkowski are two starlets that have been seen sporting ultra-lightweight wire frames.
JINS has a large selection of wire frames at different price points. For maximum durability, try the All Titanium Minimal 264; the round shape and matte finishes will put you at the top of the style class. For a more angular shape, try the Airframe Slim Combi, which feels feather-light on the face.
Round glasses also saw a resurgence in the 1990s, though the '90s variations put their own twist on John Lennon's perfectly round frames of the '60s with a more oval-like shape. Justin Timberlake, Naomi Campbell, Brad Pitt, and many more celebrities of the '90s were spotted with oval frames on and off the red carpet. And who could forget the most epic pair of oval frames of all: Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix?
If oval specs are calling your name, take a look at JINS Airframe Slim Hingeless 030. The lightweight material and low bridge fit offer comfort and style that never quit.
Identify your decade and find your frames
If you're ready to hop on the retro eyewear bandwagon, JINS has you covered. Whether your style icon is Elton John and his oversized frames, John Lennon's perfectly round specs, or Tom Cruise's aviators in Top Gun, there's a look for you. Step back in time and take a look at our wide selection of frames and lenses.