17 best Hipster glasses. The ultimate guide.

When everyone else is wearing mainstream brands, of course you want something different.

Vintage frames are appealing. But they're hard to find in those pop-up flea markets, hidden amidst the screeds of roughly-handled castaways.

Second hand frames? Kind of weird - having been on someone else's face.

Greetings non-conformer.

The right pair of glasses is what really seals the deal when it comes to expressing your individualism.

Luckily for you, this blog post will help you do just that.

Guy in glasses with bicycle

What are hipster glasses?

A 'statement' spectacle frame worn to express a particular design, era, or fashion sentiment as an extension of the wearer's unique dress style. Hipster glasses take many forms and aren't tied to, nor associated as a specific format of frame and can be wire, acetate, thick, thin or even rimless.

One thing's for sure though; the most common expressions of hipster style eyeglasses are retro-inspired, often referencing optical fashion from the '50s, 60's, '70s or '80s. These can either be thick full-rimmed acetate frames like those worn by Buddy Holly. Or conversely, thin metal wire frames akin to those worm by the late John Lennon.

But perhaps even more controversially, these spectacles can be worn 'ironically'. Yes, frames without prescription lenses are a strange but very much real iteration of glasses that help with the 'hipster cause'. Namely adding to curated ensemble of one's authenticity.

No judgment.

As you can tell, defining hipster glasses is elusive and largely depends on you, the wearer. Ultimately, it's how you wear your glasses (and the clothing you pair them with) that defines whether they're intentionally hipster.

Which brings you to the good bit...


What kind of glasses do hipsters wear?

Hipster glasses can come in various shapes, sizes, and styles. Some popular choices among hipsters include round or walnut-shaped frames, oversized glasses, bold and thick-rimmed frames, vintage-inspired designs, and even clear-framed glasses.

if you're stuck for ideas or fancy some inspiration, check out our best glasses style in the list below.



The 'Original' Hipster glasses


The RayBan Wayfarer effortlessly embodies the quintessential hipster ethos, melding timeless appeal with an undercurrent of rebellion against mainstream fashion norms. With their distinctive trapezoidal frame and sturdy acetate construction, Wayfarers have transcended their 1950s origins to become a symbol of counterculture and indie spirit.

Their adaptability to various personal styles, from the effortlessly casual to the meticulously curated, makes them a versatile accessory in any hipster's wardrobe. Whether donning a classic black pair or venturing into the realm of tortoise shell pattern, the Wayfarer's timeless aesthetic captures the essence of hipster chic, making them the 'OG' choice if you're looking for a fail-safe glasses style.

Three quarter view of black RayBan Wayfarer glasses frame
Three quarter view of tortoise RayBan Wayfarer glasses frame



Close view of young man wearing Wayfarer style glasses frame

No longer a weakness. Now your super power.

Around the early-noughties, glasses were still perceived as a fashion faux pas. They made you look weak, nerdy and impaired. But like all fashions, the tides inevitably turned.

What was once a hallmark of the weak became an fashion opportunity for self expression.

Heading into the latter-half of the noughties, spectacles became a fashionable item to set yourself apart from everyone else; a stylish accessory to help set the tone.

At the forefront of this movement (now more than 20 years ago!) were the perennial cool Wayfarer frame by RayBan. With their thick frames and retro style, they became the go-to frame for early adopters, trendsetters who later became known as 'hipsters'.

But why do nerds wear glasses like these?


The Clark Kent affect

Like a mask or costume prop, glasses are your unique way to face the world. Before any other garment or accessory, people see your eyes and face first - framed behind your personal choice of spectacles.

They declare your personality and sense of character.

Unavoidably, thick rimmed glasses convey a certain intelligence and sophistication. Wearing nerdy glasses shows that you're not afraid to embrace your inner geek. They also have an unspoken 'approachable' appeal. The girl/boy 'next door' sort of look.


Clear frame Hipster glasses

Blonde woman wearing crystal clear eyeglasses and beige hat looking downwards smiling

For some, thick hipster glasses are just way too bold. If you aren't used to chunky style frames, they can feel incredibly imposing on your face, encroaching your peripheral vision like some fort of facial scaffolding.

Clear frame glasses to the rescue.

Clear frame glasses offer a delicate and feminine alternative to the bold and chunky frames often associated with nerdy glasses. The transparent material allows for a more subtle yet stylish look, while still maintaining the same level of sophistication and approachability. They also pair well with any outfit, making them a versatile and relatively neutral option for women who want to add a touch of femininity to their style.

One of our personal favourites are the Oliver Peoples Romare spectacle frame in this transparent Champagne Quartz acetate.

Three quarter view of round coral crystal spectacle frame



Side view of hipster man with moustache and round clear glasses wearing floral shirt

Clear frame glasses represent a versatile glasses style for men as they can blend seamlessly with any outfit and facial features. Unlike their bold, thick-rimmed counterparts, clear frames offer a subtler, more refined look that doesn't dominate the face, making them an excellent choice for men who prefer a minimalist yet stylish aesthetic.

Their transparent nature ensures that they match well with both casual and formal attire, embodying a sense of sophistication and modernity. Frames such as the Linea K in Arctic Grey are ideal for men who value both fashion and functionality, allowing them to express their individuality without overwhelming their appearance.

Round clear frame eyeglasses frame



Cat-eye hipster glasses

Lady wearing tortoiseshell cat eye glasses frame

Cat eyes are easily one of the most iconic and stylised glasses styles for women. Originating in the 1950s, these glasses quickly became a symbol of femininity and glamour, often associated with Hollywood starlets and pin-up models.

Today, cat-eye glasses are still popular among women who appreciate their timeless appeal and retro charm. They feature upswept frames that slightly resemble a feline's eyes, hence the name. These frames are typically wider at the top than the bottom, accentuating your cheekbones and giving a lifted appearance to the face.

A prime example of contemporary cat eye glasses are the Taylor C spectacle frame by Garrett Leight. These glasses feature a flowing silhouette, crafted from high-quality acetate in a vibrant Havana pattern acetate.

Three quarter view of tortoise pattern cat-eye glasses frame

For something a little more rounded why not go for a stark black '50s classic? The Cutler and Gross 9298 frame is a neutral black spectacle with contrasting turtle temple arms. With its subtly upswept shape and bold frame front, it's an edgy but modernised take on the classic cat eye frame.

Side view of thick round cat eye glasses frame



Hipster female wearing aviator eyeglasses

Aviator hipster glasses

Are aviator glasses hipster? Yes, with their dominant lens coverage and slim metal construction, aviator glasses have been a style staple since they were first introduced in the 1930s. Thanks to their war-heritage roots and vintage aesthetic, they've become a synonymous spectacle style amongst hipsters.

For women, Aviator glasses create visual contrast - making your face and head look smaller and more feminine. Due to their oversized design, these large frames are a statement-look which further emphasises the hipster vibe. A defining example of this frame format is the ever-popular RayBan 3625V glasses frame, with its gold plated wire and tortoise temple tips.

Side view of gold wire Aviator glasses frame



Portrait of blonde male wearing wire Aviator spectacles and orange jumper

For men, the appeal of Aviator glasses stems from their timeless utility design and dominant lens coverage. These enormous glasses frames were originally designed for WWII fighter pilots, who demanded sufficient protection for their eyes while flying at high speeds.

Channelling your inner fighter pilot (and desire for obnoxiously large glasses frames) is the Dita Flight Seven spectacle frame. These handmade glasses are the epitome of aviation-design, with its sleek gold titanium frame and generously sized acetate temple tips.

Three quarter view of gold wire Aviator spectacle frame with tortoise acetate temple tips



Round wire hipster glasses

Oversized wire rim spectacles on woman

The first ever glasses lenses were round, therefore, so were the spectacles that held them. Since the 13th century, round glasses have been ever-present as the quintessential spectacle shape and have long been associated with intelligence and sophistication.

Thanks to their nostalgic appeal, round glasses have become synonymous with hipster style. And while they may seem quite stylised, they certainly add a timeless touch to any outfit. 

For a '60s aesthetic, slim round wire frames are an obvious choice. Worn by Beatles star John Lennon, these slim round rims were part of his bohemian signature style. More recently, the late Steve Jobs and music mogul Simon Cowell.

Round gold wire spectacle frame



Young man wearing wire rim spectacles

A true vintage style

The O.Gs of wire round eyes has to be those by Savile Row eyewear. Handmade in London by the esteemed Algha Works, this lasting relic of British optical manufacture have been making wire frames since 1898 with pre-war machinery brought over from Germany. Authenticity is of the utmost importance to a hipster, so if you're looking for a truly original wire rim frame, these are the ones for you.  One of their most famous models is the SRO spectacle frame made from a lightweight titanium.

Side view of round silver wire eyeglasses



Windsor rim hipster glasses

Cool Hipster man wearing windsor rim glasses

A lesser-known iteration of the round wire glasses frame are Windsor rims. These circular spectacles are primarily made from thin wire, but feature thin acetate sleeving on both the front and temple arms for a delicate touch of colour.

This style of frame is much less bulky than full-rim acetate frames, retaining the slim nature of a round wire. If thick frames are too bold for you, a Windsor rim frame is a great in-between choice for a low-impact style. A great example of this are the Garrett Leight Wilson 3003 spectacles with their lovely honeycomb rims and pewter wire construction.

Round tortoise Windsor rim spectacle frame

Garrett Leight windsor rim spectacle frame



Thin round acetate hipster glasses

Cool woman wearing large thick glasses

Looking for a studious, classic spectacle style? One of the most popular types of frame are full-rim round acetate glasses. These traditional looking glasses are a firm favourite amongst hipsters thanks to the vintage appeal of the classic keyhole nose bridge.

This blog post wouldn't be complete without mentioning the cult-favourite O'Malley frame by Oliver Peoples. Made in this charming Havana acetate, it's steaks of brown and honey bring effortless warmth to your complexion.

Side view of round tortoise shell acetate eyeglasses



Thick round acetate hipster glasses

Front view of bearded man wearing thick round eyeglasses frame

Bolder you say?

To really make a statement with your eyewear, a thick pair of round-eyes are what you need. Worn by visionary artists such as David Hockney, these quirky glasses are some truly statement spectacles. You can also make your frames a little more interesting by choosing a tortoiseshell acetate rather than basic black.

For an edgy take on the classic round frame, check out the Linea H frame in Rosso Red. Handmade from this speckled acetate, this timeless silhouette features a dropped bridge and nearly circular lenses for an arty sort of look.

Thick round tortoise spectacle frame



Vintage hipster glasses

Man adjusting his jacket collar in street waring vintage style eyeglasses frame

Harking back to the optical fashion of the 1970's and 1980's, vintage inspired glasses have made a comeback as a stylish fashion statement.

Large pilot-style glasses frames (like those seen in the image above) to highly sought-after editions from archetype optical brands make this a slightly elusive eyewear category.

True vintage frames can be hard to find, especially if they're particularly old, rare or poorly made from outdated materials such as celluloid. However, some of the most classic vintage frames from the likes of Persol Ratti (when they were still operating independently), original 1950's RayBan's or British-made NHS frames can be found online.

Sites such as Depop or eBay can be good places to procure some vintage gems. Specialist sites such as vintage-sunglasses-shop.com stock a broad range of retro styles, most of which (amazingly) is unworn and in their original packaging. 

Original Hipster Glasses NHS 524 eyeglasses

A firm favourite in the vintage category are original NHS frames from the 30’s-50s. This was the heyday of British optical manufacture, most of which were all produced by the famous Algha Works in London. These were the classic Wayfarer style 524’s which have become a hot product amongst collectors and those in the know.



Side view of man wearing Pilot style eyeglasses frame looking downwards

But vintage frames are old?

Yea, that's the drawback of retro eyewear. Unless you find an original, unused spectacle frame, they're usually tarnished in some way or another.

Some vintage glasses frame dealers carry-out minor refurbishments to revitalise dull acetate or loose hinges. But old frames are...old.

The good news is that retro-inspired glasses are back on trend, available brand-new from various brands who're embracing '70s and '80s frame designs.

For an oversized and edgy style, check out the Lite 009 Alpine Oak. This pilot frame shape has a seriously retro appeal.

Front view of light brown Pilot-style eyglasses frame



Tortoiseshell Hipster Glasses

Woman wearing Oversized Tortoise glasses

Tortoiseshell glasses have been popular for centuries, but they've been widely adopted as a hipster staple. Their thick, tortoise rims glasses add an instant air of studiousness to any outfit.

As you'll have seen, tortoise frames come in an endless array of shapes and styles. As seen above, women typically veer towards oversized tortoise shell frames such as the Brooks spectacle frame by Garrett Leight. These large square glasses are equal parts bookish and chic.

Side view of large rectangular tortoise shell acetate glasses frame

More geeky you say?

For full hipster points, a round pair of tortoise shell glasses are the ultimate look. Bookish, nerdy and sophisticated are the Oliver People's Gregory Peck frame. A long-standing flagship frame of the Los Angeles optical brand, these round-eyes are the archetypal hipster glasses frame worn by Hollywood icons, musicians and trend setters akin.

Side view of circular tortoise shell glasses frame



Clubmaster Hipster glasses

Close view of female wearing black and silver browline glasses frame

What is a clubmaster?

Also known as browline frames, Clubmaster glasses are distinctively recognized by their combination of a bold acetate 'upper' with a thin wire lower rim. This contrasting combination draws attention to your eyes and brows (hence their name) with a strongly retro vibe that has captivated the most discerning spectacle wearers since their conception in the 1950's.

With such a preppy aesthetic, Clubmaster glasses are unsurprisingly a fan favourite amongst hipsters. In today's market, the most accessible and well known version of these frames is the RayBan Clubmaster (who've become so well known for this frame format, that they've stolen the name!)

These iconic spectacles come in a variety of colours, but the most common are black or tortoise acetate in either a gold or silver rim.

Three quarter view of tortoise Clubmaster eyeglasses frame

Oooh, you fancy huh?

The trouble with RayBan is that every man and their dog is wearing them. Which for a hipster, runs the risk of another human wearing them. (Unacceptably mainstream. Avoid at all costs.)

For something more upmarket, there're thankfully some premium and lesser known options by some of the leading optical brands. Likened to the Clubmaster style are the Garrett Leight Elkgrove frame, featuring this charming 'whisky tortoise' acetate and gold rims. It's a captivating interpretation of this classic optical style, making those RayBans look like they came out a cereal box.

Bald man with moustache arms folded wearing white shirt and Clubmaster eyeglasses frame



Flat brow hipster glasses

Close view of woman wearing very thick flat top eyeglasses frame

Stark as stark can be

A very 'fringe' glasses style, flat top frames are a strong look thanks to their very austere aesthetic. Unlike the other frames on this list, flat top glasses are incredibly geometric, characterised by a linear brow line. This very stark spectacle style is a bold look for those who wish to make a statement with their glasses.

Tom Ford have a range of flat brown glasses made from black acetate, fitted with their proprietary 'T' hinge design. If big bold frames are your kind of thing, look no further than the TF5634-B.

Three quarter view of thick black flat-top eyeglasses frame



Oversized Hipster glasses

Hipster girl wearing round black glasses

Perfect for any hipster outfit are oversized garments, accessories or indeed eyewear. Obscurely sized items of attire are an easy way to make a statement and large glasses frames are no exception.

Large lensed glasses frames are typically associated with the '70s and '80s, either made from full rim wire or acetate. For a hipster, oversized frames have a vintage appeal and stylised aesthetic.

Oversized spectacles are very much on-trend, offering large lens coverage and retro styling. For a bold look, chunky acetate frames are an obvious choice with their thick rims and vast array of colour options. For a less dominant appearance, wire frames such as the classic Aviator are thinner and less stark on your face.

But buyer beware.

If you're tempted by oversized glasses, be sure they fit you properly. Shopping for frames online, check the bridge width to see if it matches your current pair of glasses. This way, you can prevent those big glasses from constantly sliding down your nose.

Spectacles are always measured in three aspects (in mm) which are usually always labelled on the inside of the frame. For example; 52 [] 18 135

52 = Lens width
18 = Bridge width
135 = Temple length



Hipster glasses FAQ's

Side view of young brunette lady wearing clear frame eyeglasses

Can hipster glasses suit you?

This depends largely on your sense of style. If you're adventurous with your clothing, accessories and hairstyle, hipster glasses will definitely work for you. A pair of unusual or stylised spectacles make perfect sense for a hipster ensemble, as long as they suit your face shape and fit you properly.

However, if you're reserved in your demeanour, attire, and self presentation, any for of so-called hipster glasses may look out of place on you. If you tend to keep things understated and mainstream, you're probably better wearing with simple, well-fitting glasses that don't stand-out too much.



Curly haired man wearing hipster glasses

What does the term "hipster" mean?

The term "hipster" refers to individuals who exude fashion-forwardness, creativity, and individuality. Typically, hipsters are youthful trendsetters in the realms of fashion and music, aligning with the "bohemian" subculture. Adorned in vintage or thrifted attire, sporting tattoos, piercings, and often eyeglasses, hipsters are renowned for their non-conformist spirit and affinity for alternative expressions.


Hipster guy wearing thick rimmed square glasses

What makes a person a hipster?

Hipsters are characterized by their distinct, non-mainstream sense of fashion. They gravitate towards vintage and alternative clothing that is not commonly seen in mainstream society. These individuals also have a strong interest in music, art, literature, and lifestyle choices that are unconventional and unique.

Hipsters often pride themselves on being different from the norm and strive to be trendsetters rather than followers. They are also known for their preference for organic and sustainable products, as well as their support for small businesses and independent artists.



Do all hipsters wear glasses?

No, not all hipsters wear glasses. However, wearing eyeglasses has become a popular fashion trend among hipsters in recent years. It is seen as a way to express individuality and add an intellectual or artistic touch to one's appearance. Some hipsters may even wear non-prescription glasses as a fashion statement.


Buddy Holly wearing Thick rimmed black plastic glasses

When did hipster glasses become famous?

The wider hipster movement began in the early to mid noughties in America and UK, which saw the rise of countercultural music, food, drink, fashion and choice of eyeglasses. From micro-breweries, fixed-gear bicycles to thrift-store clothing, modern day hipsters sought non-conforming self expression through every aspect of their lifestyle.

A defining and identifiable hallmark of 'hipsterism' were thick rimmed glasses, like those worn during the '50s by the likes of Buddy Holly. Outfitted with paradoxical clothing from various eras, chunky eyeglasses went against the norm and signified a wearer's non-conformity to mainstream trends.


Woman Wearing Over sized hipster glasses

Are hipster glasses still cool?

Ironically, hipster glasses have normalised thick full-rimmed frames amidst the wider optical market. Since 2010, chunky eyeglasses have replaced the clinical and soulless rimless spectacles as the most stylish and widely accepted format of eyewear.

Whilst most people are relatively reserved with their choice of frames, so-called Hipster glasses are very much on trend across all age groups.

Whether you wear them with a floral print dress or a pair of ripped jeans, hipster glasses can add a touch of quirkiness and individuality to any outfit. And with so many different style options to choose from, there's sure to be a pair of hipster glasses that's perfect for you. So if you're looking to add a little bit of cool factor to your wardrobe, don't be afraid to give hipster glasses a try.



Final Thoughts

Hipster man wearing glasses walking down the street

In conclusion, hipster glasses have evolved from a countercultural emblem of non-conformity in the early to mid-2000s into a mainstream fashion statement that transcends age groups and stylistic boundaries.

These various types of glasses have dethroned the once-popular rimless frames, firmly establishing themselves as the eyewear of choice for those looking to infuse their wardrobe with a touch of uniqueness and personal flair.

Whether paired with vintage finds or modern textiles, hipster glasses continue to be a trendy accessory that adds a distinct cool factor to any outfit.

Hopefully you found this article helpful. Please check out our other style blogs for more optical inspiration. Thanks for stopping by.


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