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Ernest Hemingway’s Glasses: A Look at The Man & His Spectacles

Angie Garcia

Written By:

Angie Garcia

Updated: 16 April 2024 •  
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Ernest Hemingway was more than just a literary icon—he transformed how we think about writing. Through minimalist sentences and engaging stories, his influence continues to captivate writers to this day.
 
While everyone is familiar with Hemingway’s work, there may not be as many who are aware of his impact on eyewear. Read on to explore the prolific writer’s life in eyeglasses and find out how you can emulate his style.
 

Ernest Hemingway’s legacy

 
Ernest Hemingway is renowned as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, having penned classics such as “The Sun Also Rises,” “A Farewell to Arms,” and “The Old Man And The Sea,” among many others.
 
He also wore many other hats in life, such as war correspondent, hunter, fisherman, and bullfight enthusiast. His love of travel and the experiences he gained from these other pursuits allowed him to explore themes such as courage and physical endurance in a way no other writer had done before.
 

Ernest Hemingway’s unmistakable style

the hemingways looking rugged

Ernest Hemingway (seen here with his wife Mary Welsh Hemingway) wore his passion for the great outdoors on his sleeves, literally. Source: Ernest Hemingway Collection

 
In a nutshell, Ernest Hemingway was the epitome of a rugged outdoorsman. His style combined an appreciation for practicality and durability with a passion for the outdoors. This was perfectly reflected in his signature look of durable khakis, corduroy jackets, and sturdy boots.
 

What kind of glasses did Ernest Hemingway wear?

Part of what has given Hemingway’s style enduring appeal is his taste in eyeglasses. Though the exact brand is unknown to us today, eyewear fans and admirers of his work have created imitations that pay homage to his glasses.
 
Hemingway’s glasses served a functional purpose, but also played a role in his personal style and image. By switching up his eyewear depending on his surroundings, he created a distinctive look that has become synonymous with his legacy.
 

Try these glasses to get Ernest Hemingway’s look

Ernest Hemingway was known for his unique style and approach to life. As he wore many types of glasses during his lifetime, you can easily capture a piece of his classic look with Mouqy’s wide selection of frames. In the meantime, here are some of Hemingway’s most distinctive eyeglasses.
 

1. Oval tortoiseshell glasses

 
When outdoors, Hemingway favored oval tortoiseshell acetate glasses. These glasses feature a tortoiseshell pattern on the frames, giving them a natural, organic look.
 
The oval shape blended in with the outdoor environment, reflecting Hemingway’s love for the great outdoors.
 
ernest hemingway matches eyewear style

Ernest Hemingway had a passion for outdoor activities and he would change up his eyewear to match the setting. Source: History

 
Get the look:
 
potter round tortoise glasses frame front view

Mouqy’s round tortoise Potter glasses.

 
These glasses are a unique blend of modern and classic, making them the perfect accessory for someone who wants to embody Hemingway’s style with a modern twist. Their brown hue pays homage to a bygone era, while the sleek temple arms and full-rimmed frame add a contemporary touch.
 

2. Round or oval full-rim glasses

 
In photos of Hemingway writing or reading, he was often seen wearing round or oval full-rim glasses. These glasses had metal or acetate frames that encircled the lenses.
 
The round or oval shape of the frames gave Hemingway a distinguished look that has since been embedded firmly into the public’s memory of him.
 
ernest hemingway eyewear

Hemingway favored round or metal glasses framed in metal or acetate while he wrote. Source: BBC Radio 4 Extra

 
Get the look:
 
odd tl1010st gray gray front view

Mouqy’s oval gray ODD TL1010ST glasses.

 
There’s a specific kind of timeless elegance you can only achieve with a pair of oval dark gray glasses. This particular pair is crafted with durable, lightweight B-Titanium in Korea and features sleek black metal frames and matching arms.
 
hemingways glasses synonymous to his image

Hemingway’s glasses had frames around the lenses, giving him a distinct appearance that has become synonymous with his image. Source: Ernest Hemingway Collection

 
Get his look:
 
designer round silver glasses frame front view

Mouqy’s round silver Designer glasses

 
Aside from being lightweight and highly durable, Designer’s shiny silver frames have a classic Hemingway look that gives the wearer a timeless appeal. As a plus, circle lenses are one of the top trends in men’s glasses today.
 

Other iconic American writers and their glasses

John Steinbeck

 
john steinbeck likes practical glasses

He favored glasses that were both practical and reflective of his down-to-earth persona. Source: Library of America

 
John Steinbeck was an American writer and journalist. His profound understanding of human nature earned him well-deserved recognition in 1962 when he received a Nobel Prize for Literature.
 
He is best known for his works set in his native California, including “Of Mice and Men,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” and “East of Eden.” Steinbeck’s writing often explored themes of social and economic injustice, human relationships, and the American Dream.
 
While Steinbeck did not have a specific signature look, his working-class background and practical approach to style influenced his penchant for simple, functional eyewear. Steinbeck often wore black horn-rimmed glasses, although the specific brand is undocumented.
 
Get his look:
 
joe rectangle black glasses frame front view

Mouqy’s rectangle black Joe glasses.

 
These Joe glasses will enable you to exude the same quiet confidence John Steinbeck had in your day-to-day outfits. The black frames are subtly stylish, while the rectangle frames make it wearable for just about any occasion.
 

Raymond Chandler

 
raymond chandler in horn rimmed glasses

Chandler was rarely seen without his trademark horn-rimmed glasses. Source: Literary Theory and Criticism

 
Raymond Chandler was an American detective fiction writer who significantly influenced the hardboiled crime genre. He is best known for his Philip Marlowe detective novels, including “The Big Sleep” and “Farewell, My Lovely.”
 
The author was known for his sharp wit, refined manners, and British upbringing, which is reflected in his personal style, including his eyewear. He favored wire-framed spectacles, which were practical and added a touch of sophistication to his appearance. Chandler wore his glasses with confidence, which cemented his iconic image as a master of detective fiction.
 
Get his look:
 
bobby round black glasses frame front view

Mouqly’s round black Bobby glasses.

 
With a fully acetate body and an intricate design adorning the temple tips, these glasses will bring out your inner impeccable Englishman. The versatile design makes them work for any occasion, while adding a touch of sophistication to your ensemble.
 

T.S. Eliot

 
ts eliot in signature round glasses

T.S. Eliot had a reserved and formal appearance, often wearing a suit, tie, and his signature round spectacles. Source: The Stanford Daily

 
T.S. Eliot was one of the most influential poets of the twentieth century. His works explore themes of alienation, trauma, urban life, and spirituality, displaying a complex range of ideas and emotions in a concise yet powerful form.
 
Apart from his profound impact on modern literature, he was also known for his formal approach to style. He was often seen in formal attire, sporting a tailored suit, tie, and polished shoes. This attention to detail extended to his eyewear as well.
 
Eliot favored a more classic and sophisticated look. His glasses of choice were round-framed spectacles, which complemented his well-groomed appearance.
 
Get his look:
 
potter round navy blue front view

Mouqy’s round navy blue Potter frames.

 
Just as how T.S. Eliot’s round frames punctuated his formal, impeccably tailored style, so will these glasses lend a distinguished air to your individual look. These frames come in a holographic midnight blue, giving them an unexpected modern edge. Crafted with acetate, they’re also made to be worn for hours and to last.

Angie Garcia

Written by:

Angie Garcia

Angie is a Manila-based writer who specializes in wellness and lifestyle topics. She likes trying out new workouts and drinking coffee when not writing.

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