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What’s the Bug-Eye Glasses Trend?

Phoebe Jade

Written By:

Phoebe Jade

Updated: 22 June 2024 •  
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Ever heard of the bug-eye glasses trend?
 
It’s a style that has been around since the 1960s, and has stayed an iconic fashion statement over the years thanks to the glasses’ recognizable shape.
 
Here, we’ll take a look at where this trend originated from, how it’s evolved, and why it’s still a firm favorite today.
 
If you’re curious to know more about these eye-catching frames, keep on reading!
 

The history of bug-eye glasses

If there’s one thing to be said about bug-eye glasses, it’s that they definitely make a statement.
 
With their large, round lenses that cover your eyes entirely, they have a distinctive design that’s been popular since the ’60s and ’70s.
 
Back then, they were all the rage among the fashion savvy youth, and it’s no wonder why — they’re both stylish and practical.
 
At the time, new materials and techniques in manufacturing had come out, allowing for bigger, more complex lens shapes to be made.
 
Bug-eyed sunglasses were designed to take advantage of these developments.
 
For starters, shatterproof materials were used to make the lenses, which meant they were perfect for outdoor sports and activities.
 
But they quickly became popular in the fashion world too, becoming part of the fashion revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
 
Iconic figures, from Janis Joplin to John Lennon to Jackie Kennedy to Elton John, all sported oversized, bug-eye glasses at some point during the height of their fame.
 
Furthermore, they would wear theirs with colorful tinted lenses, which became emblematic of the hippie movement.
 

Janis Joplin wearing traditional bug-eye glasses as part of her bohemian style

Rockstar Janis Joplin rocks a pair of traditional bug-eye glasses to complete her bohemian look. Source: PBS

 

How bug-eye glasses made it big

In the ‘70s, big lenses exploded and ruled the fashion scene.
 
Everyone from Brigitte Bardot to Twiggy was seen sporting huge shades to shield their eyes from the bright lights and overzealous paparazzi.
 
But it wasn’t just on the streets where these stylish shades were seen. Onscreen, they were just as popular.
 
Take Lynda Carter for example — she was often seen wearing oversized glasses as Diana Prince, better known as Wonder Woman.
 
Lynda Carter wearing bug-eye glasses as part of her iconic role as Wonder Woman in the 70s

Lynda Carter solidified bug-eye glasses as a trend in the ‘70s by wearing multiple pairs as Diana Prince, a.k.a. Wonder Woman. Source: IMDB

 

In addition, the disco era also brought big shades with lighter tinted lenses.
 
Compared to dark bug-eye glasses which gave wearers greater anonymity, lightly-tinted bug-eye glasses were worn primarily as a fashion statement.
 
Masculine styles were all about double bridges, like the ones seen in the movie American Hustle.
 
On the other hand, disco divas like Diana Ross rocked round plastic frames in bright colors.

 
Christian Bales character wearing oversized double-bridged lightly tinted glasses in the movie American Hustle

In American Hustle, Christian Bale’s character wore oversized double-bridged lightly tinted glasses that were popular during the 1970s. Source: Salon

 
As with any fashion trend, different variations and styles of bug-eye glasses emerged eventually.
 
Just take Audrey’s Hepburn’s tortoiseshell cat-eye glasses in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
 
They lent a mysterious aura to Holly Golightly’s enigmatic character while cementing her status as a cinematic fashion icon.
 
We also can’t forget these cheese-like oversized square glasses with round lenses that ‘60s supermodel Twiggy wore.
 

Twiggy wearing quirky cheese-like oversized square glasses with round lenses

These quirky cheese-like oversized square glasses with round lenses seen on ‘60s supermodel Twiggy personify the Mod era. Source: L’Officiel

 

What eventually happened to bug-eye glasses?

In the 1980s, bug-eye glasses gave way to oversized aviators, which were seen on the biggest stars of the era like Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise, and David Hasselhoff.
 
While oversized glasses were definitely still a thing, other styles like wayfarers and browline glasses took precedence.
 
Sloane, Cameron, and Ferris wearing wayfarer glasses in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off

In the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sloane, Cameron, and Ferris memorably sported wayfarers while gallivanting around the city. Source: HuffPost

 
As the ‘90s took over, silhouettes for eyewear moved towards minimalism and functionality, with sleek, tiny oval glasses becoming à la mode.
 
The trend persevered all the way until the end of the decade, with stars like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Chilli of TLC stepping out with oval sunglasses.
 
TLC wearing 90s oval sunglasses and coordinated leather ensembles

TLC makes a case for the 90s oval sunglasses with coordinated leather ensembles. Source: Buzzfeed

 

By the early 2000s, the giant sunglasses had made a comeback.
 
Paparazzi frenzy reached an all-time high, leading the most photographed ‘party girls’ of the time to bring back bug-eye glasses.
 
The Lindsay Lohans, Paris Hiltons, and Mary Kates and Ashleys of the era needed to shield themselves from the incessant camera flashes, and these sunglasses helped them to do in style.
 
Olsen twins in the 2000s wearing oversized bug-eye sunglasses

As the Olsen twins reached adulthood in the 2000s, the increased attention around them called for oversized sunglasses — the bigger and more bug-eye the better. Source: Popsugar

 
Since making a resurgence in the 2000s, bug-eye glasses have never truly gone away.
 
Just last year at the Venice Film Festival, Harry Styles showed up with a pair of gloriously oversized square glasses with yellow tinted lenses.
 
Paired with strong shoulders and oversized collars, the actor-singer breathed new life into the decades-old trend.

 
Harry Styles at the 2022 Venice Film Festival wearing square oversized glasses with yellow-tinted lenses

Harry Styles graces the 2022 Venice Film Festival wearing square oversized glasses with yellow-tinted lenses. Source: Grazia

 
And it’s not just the celebs — the bug-eye glasses trend has continued to make waves on the runway as well.
 
Inspired by the beloved styles of the ’70s, designers like Gucci and Bottega Veneta have updated these classic frames with modern twists.
 

Hop on the bug-eye glasses trend yourself today!

Whether you prefer round, cat-eye, or rectangular frames, there’s an oversized pair out there that suits your style.
 
The designs of today are an improvement on the styles of yesteryear, with not only modernized designs but also greater variety in shapes and materials.
 
Here are a few Mouqy frames we’ve picked out for you.
 
If you like sticking to the classics, these double-bridged aviators are the one for you.
 

 
For something more playful yet feminine, try the retro-inspired cat-eyed Joyful glasses with sheer pink frames.

 

 

Fancy a more studious, nerdy chic look? Then these rectangle tortoiseshell Joe glasses will be right up your alley.

 

 
Minimalists who still want to pull off the bug-eye glasses trend won’t go wrong with the browline oval rose gold Brainy glasses.
 

 

To find out which of these glasses suit your face shape, head over here for our handy guide.
 
You can also try them on from the comfort of your home with our virtual try-on feature.
 

Bug-eyed glasses are here to stay

Evidently, bug-eye glasses have been on quite the ride throughout history, emerging as a product of technology and evolving into a classic style statement with many variations.
 
As a result, there’s a pair out there for every face shape and every aesthetic. Find the right pair and wear it loud and proud!
 
Enjoyed today’s article? There’s more waiting for you at Mouqy’s blog.

Phoebe Jade

Written by:

Phoebe Jade

Phoebe is a registered nurse, licensed teacher and writer who's passionate about creating content that educates and inspires.

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