What Did Eyewear Look Like in the 1960's?

We all know everything in fashion is recycled and reinvented, so recognizing the trends of the past help us to stay fashion-forward today! The '60s were a time of broken traditions, new-age social movements, and outlandish but trendy fashion. The time period influenced haute couture and mass market producers which are still relevant to this day. Things started to get very experimental with color-blocking, mix-match patterns, and neon colors dominating the apparel industry and most important fashion accessories. Let's take a deeper look into the reading glasses and sunglasses trends of the 1960s.

Futuristic/Space Age

Early in the decade, the film and television industry was booming with space-inspired stories due to the race to the moon between the US and the Soviet Union, which in turn influenced the fashion industry. Bold designs, boxy shapes, radical geometrics, and reflective and colorful lenses defined the "space age" look. Popular music artists like The Beatles, responsible for popularizing many styles in the time period, sported eclectic sunglasses with colorful lenses during tours and interviews. Even high-fashion designers had their space-age era featuring their models with goggle-like sunglasses and the very iconic "lip" glasses by designer Pierre Cardin. The designs of this futuristic period are still influential in the modern day.
Happy Face #81065
Happy Face #81065


First introduced by the British, the Mod look dominated the period in Europe and around the world. Mods (short for modernist) were the sophisticated and tailored alternative to the rock and roll style popularized in the '50s. Bold prints, horizontal and vertical stripes, color-blocking and oversized designs characterized mod eyewear. British rock bands like The Who, The Kinks, and of course The Beatles all emerged during this period, sporting these eyewear styles during shows and interviews. 
Chekmate A.J. #78116
Checkmate A.J. #78116 


As more and more youth fled to the west coast to escape the humdrum of normal suburban life and the anxiety related to the cold war, the coastal, relaxed style of California became a trend. Young adults were inspired by music groups like The Beach Boys and donned the relaxed look of Hawaiian shirts and faded jeans. Classic rounded silhouettes with a flat upper rim and a winged tip were all the rave, plus metal and plastic aviators in subtle tones like black, blues, greys, and tortoise.
Archie #39107
Archie #39107 

Hippie Subculture

Probably the most memorable and pivotal of them all, the introduction of the hippie subculture movement had a large effect on fashion and accessory trends. The rigid fashion of the mod/preppy style took a 180 turn to a more laid-back bohemian flair, inspired by cultures around the world. Colorful lenses and fun patterns were still at play, however, aviators, rounded shapes, tortoise, and oversized frames quickly rose to popularity. Movies stars and musicians were often looked at to set fashion trends as the youth fled to big music festivals like Woodstock. Now festival season brims with vintage-inspired styles influenced by this very time period.
All in all the 60s was a heavily influential period filled with fashion trends that are still thriving today. That's why at A.J. Morgan Eyewear we focus on including vintage-inspired reading glasses and sunglasses from all eras of the period. From our space-age styles like Aleko and Perky that feature brightly colored lenses, our mod/preppy styles with stripes and color blocking like Checkmate A.J. and The Curator, hippie styles that feature eclectic and oversized shapes like Happy Face and Love Me Tender, and of course as LA natives some of our best-selling styles Castro and Grad School share that classic silhouette we all love.