Both functional and fashionable, horn-rimmed glasses have proven to be an iconic accessory that trendsetters flock to time and time again. Thick frames in dark colors, no nose pads to speak of, these classic spectacles are ones that definitely get noticed. You may not realize that horn-rimmed glasses have a history that's as unique as their style-and if you're curious about their origins, you've come to the right place. Featured here is a brief history of horn-rimmed glasses, leading up to their role on the fashion scenes of today.
In the Beginning
Horn-rimmed glasses first appeared in Europe during the nineteenth century, and quickly spread as a popular style of eyewear in other parts of the world soon after. Named for the fact that the frames were made of either horn or tortoise shell, horn-rimmed glasses were quite pricey because of the materials that were used to make them. It wasn't long before manufacturer's starting making the frames out of plastic, keeping costs down for consumers and boosting their sales. Between 1910 and 1920, the well-known silent comedian Harold Lloyd sported horn-rimmed glasses, starting a trend in the United States that would come and go throughout the years.
A Hybrid Emerges
By the 1930's, horn-rimmed glasses had taken a backseat to a new trend--metal-rimmed glasses. However, a decade or so later the two very different styles were combined to form an interesting hybrid. Dark plastic rims on top and metal rims on the bottom, this new style of glasses kept the spirit of the classic horn-rims alive until the music scene of the 1950's would come along, raising them to a whole new level of fame in the fashion industry.
Making a Comeback
Horn-rimmed glasses were perhaps made most famous by Buddy Holly, and in the 1950's his thick, dark frames were recognized the world-over as part of his trademark image. Following the rocking 1950's and 1960's, the horn-rimmed glasses trend seemed to die down for a decade or two with the birth of the hippie movement. It wouldn't be long, though, before the alternative music wave of grunge, gothic, and emo musicians would bring the glasses back once again--bigger than ever and this time, for good.
Horn-rimmed glasses, often referred to as "nerdy" glasses, have a strong foot-hold in the twenty-first century's fashion scene--and there's no sign that they will be going out of style anytime soon. Popular television shows like Heroes, Mad Men, and Ugly Betty feature the horn-rimmed spectacles, making the geek-chic image a new trend that has captured followers all over the world.
As you can see, horn-rimmed glasses have left their mark many times along the timeline of eyewear. Since their beginnings, they have been used not only just for seeing, but also to make a fashion statement--one that isn't easily forgotten. With a fascinating history behind them, multiple celebrity endorsements, and frequent comebacks as a popular trend, the likelihood that horn-rimmed glasses are here to stay is one that you can almost positively bet on.
Guest post from Jean Clark. Jean writes for BackgroundCheck.org.
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