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John Lennon’s Glasses – A Deep Dive

Shu Kie

Written By:

Shu Kie

Updated: 30 September 2022 •  

We could rave on about the brilliance of John Lennon all day, getting into a weekend-long sing-athon. However, we’re all about the glasses ‘round these parts!
 
You guessed it, today we’re doing a deep-dive into those iconic little round frames worn by the one and only, John Lennon.
 

Who was John Lennon?

Like I really need to tell you, right? I shudder to think of younger generations not knowing who John Lennon is, but here’s a recap just in case.
 
John Lennon in The Beatles

The Fab Four rocked the 1960s and changed the face of music and style. (Credit: itl.cat).

 
The Beatles were one of, if not the most iconic bands of all time. Four guys from Liverpool UK – Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and… our man John Lennon.
 
The Fab Four dominated the 1960’s and brought ‘Beatle Mania’ and ‘The British Invasion’ to the USA and the entire world. John Lennon was a singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist who led the band with Paul McCartney.
 
Arguably, John wrote some of the best Beatles songs such as ‘Norwegian Wood’, ‘Come Together’, ‘Happiness is a warm gun’ and many more. John flourished as a solo artist after The Beatles broke up, with iconic tunes such as ‘Imagine’ and ‘Jealous Guy’.
 
John Lennon was tragically shot in 1980, leaving behind a huge legacy of music, political stances, and style. A true pop culture icon. He and his partner, artist Yoko Ono, famously performed “bed-ins” to peacefully protest the Vietnam War in 1969. You may recognize the famous photos of the pair in a vast bed in Amsterdam and Montreal hotels.
 

John Lennon’s famous glasses: A deep dive

Like many of us, John Lennon had really bad eyesight. He was extremely myopic so required some hefty lenses to get the job done. It is said he was actually rather self-conscious about wearing specs and worried about how they’d make him look. I’m sure many of us can relate to that feeling when first getting glasses!
 
However, as history shows, he embraced the change and incorporated glasses into his look a-la Buddy Holly before him. See? Glasses are cool, even for world-famous, culture-changing musicians.
 
When it comes to the specifics, things get granular as there is not just one ‘Lennon’ frame. John Lennon wore various iterations of small, round frames in styles such as Windsor, Panto, and Teashade.
 
In 1968, Lennon left a pair of round, metal-framed, green-tinted sunglasses in the back of Ringo Starr’s car.
 
john lennon green tinted sunglasses

His green-tinted sunglasses. (Credit: Sotheby’s).

 
These went on to be sold by Sotheby’s for 137,500 pounds in 2019. These teashade-style glasses have a rich history of gracing superstar faces. The Gallagher brothers were devoted to them in the 1990s and they have been seen on more modern stars such as a$ap Rocky and Rihanna.
 
Lennon famously wore the style ‘Panto 45’ made by a company called Algha Works (the former name for Savile Row Eyewear). These frames were slightly larger than the iconic teeny round ones, and had a flatter top and narrower bottom rim. You can see these frames in action on John’s famous visage in ‘How I Won the War’ in 1967. These frames became a favourite of John’s from then on.
 
Panto 45 in How I Won The War

The Panto 45 in How I Won The War. (Credit: The Irish News).

 
And finally, perhaps the most iconic frames, the Windsor.
 
These are the perfectly round, very small frames with metal rims we associate with not only Lennon but Gandhi, and Hemingway. Yep, you’ve certainly seen similar styles in recent years as this delicate, thoughtful style is back.
 
john lennon in windsor glasses

The famous Windsor glasses.

 
So, why were John Lennon’s frames so iconic?
 
Well, the face behind the glasses was so famous the glasses barely stood a chance at anonymity. The thing about John Lennon was he was a huge influence on the young, motivated people of the era. John was anti-war and resonated greatly with the hippie youth of the time. Iconic dude, iconic specs.
 
windsor glasses from the 1900s

A pair of early Windsor glasses from the 1900s-1910’s that preceded John Lennon’s Iconic pair. (Credit: Etsy).

 

Modern-day John Lennon glasses styles

Okay, let’s address the little magical elephant in the room. The other iconic pair of round glasses akin to Lennon’s are famously worn by Harry Potter. As we know, Harry Potter lived with his terrible aunt and uncle so it’s likely glasses were likely supplied by the NHS.
 
You see, from the 1920s, the NHS supplied optometry exams and a pair of glasses to citizens. One of the pairs they regularly handed out was the Windsor frame as these were easy and cheap to produce and could be made in easy materials such as nickel.
 
These days, glasses styles are so vast and innovative, anything goes. Large, neon-toned plastic rims, rimless ovals, aviator-style oversized rims, or teeny round metal silhouettes. As long as a pair of glasses reflects the wearer’s personality and gives a little something something in terms of style flair, they get a thumbs up.
 
A key difference between glasses then and now is the quality of lenses, materials, and fit.
 
For example, Mouqy lenses feature multiple coats to protect the eyes and provide longevity. Our lenses have anti-reflection, anti-scratch, liquid-repelling coatings, and the option of blue light-blocking technology.
 
What with all the working, scrolling, and general screen gazing we’re all guilty of, blocking blue light is crucial for eye health and performance. What’s more, lens index is far more advanced now, allowing those with rather severe eyesight issues to enjoy a thinner, lighter lens. Old-school style, cutting edge tech.
 

How to wear small round glasses

Like most glasses, the classic John Lennon frames aren’t for everyone, but they’re surprisingly flattering on most. The perfectly round shape is great for square faces, softening those sharper lines.
 
Here are a couple of small round glasses from Mouqy’s collection – and how to rock them yourself.
 
Something like the Bobby style mimics the shape and size of the OG Lennon frame, but with a more modern take with a plastic frame.
 
mouqy bobby fames

Mouqy’s shiny grey Bobby frames.

 
John Lennon’s original teeny Windsor frame may make larger faces appear larger, so a more sizeable frame is recommended. Something like the ultra cool Designer frame gives more breadth and a slightly less round shape, adding a bit of length to round faces.
 
mouqy designer frames

Mouqy’s full-rimmed Designer eyeglass frames.

 
If the roundness of the Lennon glasses appeals but the undersized shape gives you the heebies, make a compromise. An oversized pair with a round shape and thin frame like the Occasion frames are flattering on heart-shaped, square, and large faces.
 
mouqy occassion frames

Mouqy’s Occasion frames with a unique look.

 
You don’t need to commit to the John Lennon style for your all-day, everyday look if you’ve already got a go-to favourite. Embrace the retro look with a pair of Windsor-style sunglasses. This is a great way to incorporate colour into your look, with tinted lenses glinting against a gold metal frame.
 
How are you going to make the Lennon look your own?

Shu Kie

Written by:

Shu Kie

Shu Kie is Mouqy’s certified optician with over 5 years of experience in the optical industry. She earned her certification from Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

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