Eye Spy: Top Glasses Trends for 2020

Spectacular spectacles.

When I was growing up, my mom was the only bespectacled member of the family, and she had one pair of glasses. She wore them to teach kindergarten. She wore them to watch me play soccer in a downpour. She wore them with her little black dress on New Year’s Eve. Did she look great? Of course! She’s my mom, and she’s reading this! But it seems startling, looking back, that someone could get by with just one pair of specs in their repertoire for so many years. It was just what you did back then, though. Glasses were expensive. You had to mate for life (or at least until your prescription changed). 

As a person who came into their astigmatism (brag alert) just as the optometry industry got disrupted by direct-to-consumer eyewear websites, I have experience the opposite: an embarrassment of riches. Glasses are—at least compared to the ’90s—fairly cheap, and buy-one-get-one deals abound. I’ve amassed a veritable wardrobe of specs. Seafoam-green acetate for when I’m trying to convince people I’m “fun.” Gleaming gold cat-eye frames for fancier events. Round tortoise shell for that “I can read” look. 

All of this is to say: whereas the poorly sighted fashionista of yesteryear would have been wise to pick something timeless to wear for a four-year stretch, for most people, multiple pairs are now common, and we’re afforded the opportunity to dabble in trends without too much of a commitment (financial or otherwise).

So what’s trending now? We asked Ryan Nix, Bailey Nelson‘s head of design to share his predictions for spring styles—a sneak peek of what might be making its way into my glasses library soon. (And maybe something new for Mom, too.)

Trend #1: Classics with a twist.

“It’s about feeling familiar but fresh, with new detailing,” says Nix. Look for bevelled shapes, acetate with an architectural sensibilities and styles that reveal different shadows and details depending on the viewing angle.

Trend #2: Think thick.

Designs with thicker than average frames are back, a return from the slimmer frames of the previous few years.”In 2016 there was a move from acetate to more Lennon-style thin, round frames, but acetate is coming back, with more opportunity to play,” says Nix.

Trend #3: Creative colours.

You’ll spot bottle greens and soft pinks in the eyewear options for spring—denim and royal blues, and mints, too. But the big colour to watch, says Nix, is orange. “Whether ginger or marmalade, it has a forgiving tone and looks nice on most skin types.” 

Trend #4: Mix and match.

“With so many materials and colour options, we can expand what we can do,” says Nix. Think combining metals with acetate, cool colour combos or matte and shiny finishes together on one frame.