20% OFF frame & lenses!

Iconic Glasses Trends From The 80s We Can’t Forget

Vanessa Teng

Written By:

Vanessa Teng

Updated: 14 April 2024 •  
share via facebook share via twitter share via linkedin share via email

High-waisted mom jeans? Check. Bright colorblock windbreakers? Check. What about a pair of 80s glasses to complete your vintage fit?
If you’re looking for a pair of 80s sunnies or eyeglass inspiration, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll be revisiting some of the most popular eyewear styles from the era, so read on to find the perfect throwback pair!

The most popular eyewear trends through the 80s

1. Oversized aviators

david hasselhoff wearing a pair of oversized aviators topless

David Hasselhoff wearing oversized Aviators on the set of Baywatch. Source: Insider

From Knight Rider to Top Gun, aviators were worn by some of the biggest stars of that era. Think David Hasselhoff wearing a pair of these as he ventures off with KITT into a dangerous world, the world of the Knight Rider (cue electronic music). Tom Cruise also helped the popularity of aviators soar when he was seen wearing them in Top Gun. And Michael Jackson? Well, he’s the synonym of cool, so everything he did was a hit.
Of course, back in the 80s, they wore their aviators oversized. The frames were usually either made of metal or acetate and covered a big part of your face. Obviously, the top bar is a must-have for this retro style.

2. Ray-Ban Wayfarers

blues brothers wearing rayban wayfarers

The Ray Ban Wayfarers made their appearance in the 80s movie The Blues Brothers. Source: Flickr

Ray-Ban Wayfarers were another popular style that was worn by lots of celebrities. It’s characterized by thick black acetate frames, black lenses, and metal decorations on the sides.
Shockingly, Wayfarers were not that popular at the start of the 80s, and Ray-Ban even considered discontinuing the style. Then along came Tom Cruise to save the day by wearing it in Risky Business. Surprise, surprise – Wayfarers became cool again.

3. Oversized cat eye glasses

princess diana wearing a pair of oversized cat eyes

Oversized cat eyes are one of Princess Diana’s faves. Source: Tatler

Cat eye frames were worn as both eyeglasses and sunnies, and the one thing in common was that they were all oversized. The oversized trend from the 70s lived on long past its decade – many cat eye glasses in the 80s were big enough to shield more than half of your face! Oversized cat eyes were also a personal favorite of Princess Diana, who was seen wearing them on multiple occasions.

4. Round 80s glasses

john lennon wearing a pair of round glasses

Round glasses were also a fave among, well, everyone in the 80s, thanks to John Lennon. Source: Dialogue Pakistan

This timeless classic also earned a large fanbase back in the 80s. The celebrity who made these glasses popular was John Lennon, as orange-tinted round specs were his go-to eyewear style. Even though he passed away before the 80s, he paved the road for the rise of this unique style in this decade.

5. Browline glasses

bruce willis wearing a pair browline sunglasses in hawaiian shirt

From the 50s till today, browline sunglasses are here to stay (and yes, that’s Bruce Willis). Source: Pinterest

Browline glasses feature a thin metal frame with a thicker top bar that runs along your browline (which is also how this style got its name). It was a hit in the 50s and 60s, and then made a comeback in the 80s, thanks to Bruce Willis. Bizarrely, back in the 2000s, these glasses were associated with nerds and ‘old folk’. But now, they’ve made a serious comeback again, so it’s the perfect time to get a pair, whatever your age.

6. Oversized square frames

a woman wearing a pair of white oversized frame

It was go big or go home back in the 80s. Source: Godisable Jacob

This eye-catching style was everyone’s fave in the 70s, and even in the 80s, they were still outrageously popular. They had large square frames, often featured a top bar, and could be worn both as prescription glasses and sunglasses. If you’re looking to make a statement, oversized square frames could be a great style go-to.

Important 80s eyewear moments we can’t forget

1. Michael Jackson started the aviators craze

michael jackson wearing a pair of his iconic aviators on stage

Michael Jackson wearing iconic aviators at the 1993 Super Bowl Half Time Show. Source: Cleveland.com

Michael Jackson was the most popular star in the 80s, so naturally, everything he did oozed cool. The King of Pop favored aviator sunglasses and wore them regularly. He wore them when he met President Reagan at the White House in 1984, and again when he performed “We Are the World” the following year.
At the Super Bowl halftime show XXVII and the famous concert in Bucharest where fans passed out just by seeing him, he was also wearing – you guessed it – a pair of aviators. Needless to say, he drove up the sales of this eyewear style.

2. Tom Cruise saved Ray-Ban

tom cruise wearing a pair of rayban wayfarers

Tom Cruise wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarers in Risky Business. Source: CBC

Ray-Ban sales took a big hit when the oversized glasses trend took over the fashion scene in the 80s, and its popular Wayfarers were facing discontinuation (shocking, right?) To save itself, this eyewear brand signed a contract to place its sunglasses in movies and TV shows, hoping the exposure and celebrity star power could help the brand thrive again. It was a great move – Ray-Ban sunglasses made an appearance in over 60 movies and shows from 1982 to 1987.
Many stars wore Ray-Bans, but it was truly Tom Cruise who made the brand cool again.
Tom Cruise wore Ray-Ban Wayfarers in Risky Business, and sent sales shooting up by 50%. That year alone, Ray-Ban sold 360,000 pairs of Wayfarers! Then again in 1986, he donned their aviator sunglasses in Top Gun. Sales soared by 40% and solidified Ray-Ban’s legendary status in the eyewear industry.

3. Bruce Willis revived browline glasses

bruce willis wearing a pair browline sunglasses in suit

Bruce Willis wearing iconic browline glasses in the series Moonlighting. Source: Gentlemen’s Gazette

Tom Cruise wasn’t the only one who brought old eyewear trends back to life – many consider Bruce Willis to have revived the browline glasses trend. Because of the oversized glasses trend in the disco era, browline glasses stopped being cool in the 70s, and weren’t the go-to eyewear style in the first half of the 80s either.
That all changed when Bruce Willis donned a pair of Shuron Ronsirs browline sunglasses in the comedy-drama series Moonlighting. The sales of browline glasses shot up immediately, and even inspired Ray-Ban to release its own browline glasses style – the Clubmaster Max. Just like that, browline glasses became a hit again!

80s glasses that are trending again today

1. Round glasses are back

This timeless classic has never been out of style ever since it was introduced, and now it’s taking the spotlight in eyewear trends once again. Round glasses are especially flattering for those who have square faces, as they soften the angles and create a more balanced look.
Here are some round specs to try from Mouqy’s own collection:
mouqy occasion round gold

Occasion is an A+ frame for the everyday.

mouqy bobby round gray glasses

What can we say? Bobby is a well-“rounded” style.

mouqy odd dione black

If you like sleek and striking looks, the ODD Dione is for you.


2. Aviator sunglasses have never been out of style

With 80 years of experience in making people look ultra-cool, it seems like aviators will always be one of the leaders in eyewear trends. If you have heart, oval, or square faces, you’ll pull off the aviator style like a pro. They complement these shapes and look great with any style. Plus, another Top Gun movie is out, so there’s no better time to try this iconic style.
Here are our top Mouqy recs.
jake aviator black

Can’t go wrong with a timeless classic like Jake

mouqy lavish aviator gold

The coolest kid on the block award goes to … you in Lavish glasses!

mouqy justin aviator

Justin ups your cool factor as fast as an F-18.


3. Browline glasses are in again

Browline glasses are absolute must-haves right now and add a sleek and refined touch to any look. This classy style comes in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll be able to find a pair that fits your face shape and style. The thick upper frame also brings out your browline, making it flattering for those with thin eyebrows. Wanna try? Below are our faves!
mouqy ellington browline glasses

From workday to date night, Ellington makes sure you look good.

mouqy steven square

Whatever your style is, Steven will help you stand out.

mouqy evening geometric glasses

Work and play can look just as cool with Evening glasses.


Time to go retro!

Obviously, nostalgia is not a substitute for style, but you can’t deny just how cool it is to wear 80s fashion from head to toe – including eyewear.
We’ve introduced some of the most popular styles from that nostalgic decade, so next time you’re trying to rock an 80s-inspired outfit after watching Stranger Things, you know just which glasses to throw on!
Go ahead and check out our retro collection!

Vanessa Teng

Written by:

Vanessa Teng

Vanessa Teng is a freelance fashion copywriter who's living her dream digital nomad lifestyle. You can find her exploring, taking pictures, and crashing exchange students' parties around the world.

Frames in This Post