What Did Glasses Look Like in the 1970's?

Gaudy prints, earth tones, mini skirts, and outlandish silhouettes may make us overlook the garish style trends of the 1970's, however, the time period's effect on the fashion and accessories industry thereafter cannot be ignored. During a time of some serious social reconstruction, much of America's youth used their clothing as statements of rebellion. Inspired by the new social movement, designers began to experiment with unique and wild silhouettes and created new but interesting takes on classic eyewear styles to match. This begs the question, what did glasses look like in the 1970's and how are those designs inspiring trends today?


No stranger to the eyewear industry, it should come as no surprise that Aviator glasses were amongst some of the most popular glasses silhouettes of the time period. However, with the introduction of the Vietnam war, wartime fashion became immensely popular thus making Aviator glasses a highly sought after style. Suddenly, popular artists and actors were sporting these glasses on album covers (back when those were a “thing”), movie trailers, and more. Who knew eyewear would become the focal point of a star’s debut release?

Colonel #88557

Colonel #88557

Amber Tints

Originally sunglasses with a yellow or brown tint were invented and prescribed to patients with ocular medical conditions, however the color reemerged during the 70's for that classic hippie look. Celebrities and musicians, like John Lennon, sported the popular tinted lenses on tours and red carpets. Additionally, the switch from glass lenses to plastic contributed to more affordable frames in the market which could be seen on summer festival grounds and other concerts. 

Genius #88546

Genius #88546


Similar to cat-eye glasses, butterfly glasses are explanatory in their name, glasses made to resemble the image of an open pair of butterfly wings. These frames were often oversized and feminine in nature, soaring into popularity early in the era. You may remember these glamorous frames in Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman of which her character wore to conceal her identity. This is one of those styles that when seen today screams 70’s and was just one of the many unique and experimental designs introduced in the time period. Our sunglass styles Mabel and Lorna are just a few of our favorite vintage styles inspired by the butterfly silhouette.

Wild & Unique

Technological advances contributed to the experimentation in the eyewear industry. Metal and glass were being swapped out for highly durable plastic, which opened the pathway for more unique shapes and silhouettes in eyewear. Funky takes on classics began to appear, heart, star, and odd-shaped frames, along with colored, two-toned or ombre lenses, embellished frames, and styles that looked down-right funky! Checkout styles Daisy Mae and Heart Throb for unique sunglass styles. 

Heart Throb #88568

In short, we have a lot to thank the era for when it comes to stepping out of the ordinary and producing unconventional style. The 1970’s spoke to the oddball in all of us and encouraged the further expression of our unique personalities through fashion. No matter the time period, A.J. Morgan Eyewear has vintage-inspired readers and sunglasses that will spark your nostalgia! Check out our popular vintage popular priced readers Happy Face and Observe or prescription-ready readers The Nile and The Curator and take a trip down memory lane!