Bold, trendy, fierce.
Those are just some of the adjectives eyewear experts use to describe oversized or larger-fit lenses, the back-again trend that can be seen on men and women alike from the fashion runways of New York, Paris, Tokyo and Milan to the streets of small-town Canada.
“Eyeglasses say a lot about a person’s personality. Oversized frames are not for the shy or quiet personalities. They scream confidence. They are going to be noticed,” says Melanie Cote, an optical dispensary manager at a clinic in southern Ontario.
A lot of trend-watchers point to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the fashionable wife of John F. Kennedy and America’s First Lady from 1961 to 1963, as someone who popularized oversized sunglasses in the 1970s.
Many people still shudder at the thought of large prescription glasses, which can stir up memories of those clunky, awkward lenses from the 1970s.
But both oversized sunglasses and prescription lenses have come a long way since then.
These days, celebrities like Madonna, Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry can be spotted wearing dramatic, bold, oversized corrective lenses.
Fashion icons are also fuelling the red-hot trend.
“Larger frames are making a huge comeback and it’s no surprise,” says Jenny Tzelardonis, director of communications and brand manager at Ronor International Inc.
“A larger lens is much more comfortable for extended wear offering a better field of vision.
“Larger frames also allow people to make a bold fashion statement which is why you find some of the funkiest styles in oversized eyewear. Personally, we love the trend for the comfort and the confidence boost they give.”
She said both men and women are opting for larger-sized frames.
“Women are faster at picking up trends which is why we have seen oversized frames for ladies much sooner. However, the comfort of a larger lens is unbeatable, which is why men are jumping on board,” she said.
Ronor International’s eyewear division includes many brands with oversized options in men’s, women’s and unisex styles.
Its King Size and Marc O’Polo collections feature a variety of large-sized frames for men, including full rim and semi-rimless pieces in titanium, plastic and stainless steel. The company’s Brendel line has many oversized options for women, including several in colours as bold as their size.
The Germany-based Rodenstock Company also has an extensive assortment of oversized corrective frames and sunglasses in its portfolio.
“Big shades create a kind of Hollywood-style in only one second,” says public relations manager Eva-Maria Mueller.
While oversized frames are popular with men and women of all ages, they are especially popular among young women with a high sense of fashion, she said.
They are bold, beautiful, comfortable and make a statement and, she said, “with oversized sunnies, you don’t need any make-up to hide tired eyes.”
More and more male models can be seen on fashion runways wearing big shades, she said.
Rodenstock’s Claudia Schiffer, Bogner, Jil Sander and Porche Design eyewear collections each feature oversized lenses.
Cote said she has noticed, from her work at an optical clinic in Owen Sound, that the oversized eyewear trend seems to be largely driven by the younger generation.
She said it is very important that people, especially newcomers to oversized eyewear, get properly fitted by an optician, as there are some things that people should keep in mind while searching in-person for the right pair.
“If it’s a plastic frame it has to be very well supported in the bridge to bear the extra weight. The temples have to be long enough to be able to be contoured well behind the ears. Not all people can wear them. Not all prescriptions can fit into the frames,” she said.
So a good fit is key.
“Oversized frames shouldn’t be wider than the face. They shouldn’t touch the cheeks and the eyes should be centred vertically in the lens. This is a commonly missed aspect. If the eyes are in the upper quarter, the frame looks saggy and drags. Oversized doesn’t mean ‘huge,’ it means larger than the facial features.”