There’s no denying that 2023 was the year of accessories. Everyone carried quirky-cute statement bags; red tights flooded Instagram feeds everywhere; puffy headbands made an unexpected comeback. Now, eyewear is the latest extension of the craze — which is just one reason glasses are expected to take off this year. “The right eyewear has a transformative quality and is the perfect way to take your look to the next level,” says Kim Nemser, chief product and supply chain officer at Warby Parker, adding that there are silhouettes to personalize every outfit.
Namesake eyewear designer Garrett Leight (Emily Ratajkowski's go-to optical brand!) echoes Nemser, noting eyewear is usually the quickest and easiest way to draw attention. And because glasses are, of course, right in the middle of your face, Laura Ruban, VP of product at SEE Eyewear, says they’re impossible to miss, unlike perhaps shoes or bags.
But on top of that, Rebecca Giefer, CEO of Lowercase, brings up another good point: “We would be remiss if we don’t call out the fact that the influence of celebrities and influencers has played a role in popularizing optical frames by wearing stylish eyewear, which has contributed to its widespread appeal.” Annabelle Gonzalez, CEO of Giant Vintage, agrees with the effect It girls have on the industry, specifically pointing to trendsetters like Bella Hadid and Gabbriette Bechtel for pioneering fashion-forward eyewear as an accessory. “We'll see celebrities wearing it for a couple of years, and then we'll get the bravery to do it on our own,” she explains. “They're calling it the sexy secretary look,” she says about the current eyewear aesthetic loved by the aforementioned models. (One might also call it a variation on TikTok’s librarian fashion aesthetic.)
An emphasis on health is also contributing to the growing eyewear market. “Health and wellness remain a priority in the US as customers say wellness isn’t something they will cut back on, maintaining a steady demand for eyewear products,” Riccardo Pozzoli, Persol’s global brand director, tells TZR. As such, he says optical eyewear is more than just an accessory but also a necessity for eye health and protection. In the same realm, there’s also the option for blue light glasses, which Bryce Reels, the creative director of Fifth & Ninth, says have increasingly become an item of interest. “As we've grown [the category] over the past few years, it's become more and more relevant.” Why? She believes it’s because people are prioritizing self-care. “They want to take better care of their skin and eyes.”
If you’re in the market for a new pair of glasses, scroll below to discover six eyewear trends experts believe will take off in 2024. Don’t worry, those with perfect vision (jealous) can still get in on the fun, too.
You heard it here first: See-through frames will be the look du jour in 2024. “They’ve been very popular, and I think we'll start seeing this trend evolve with brighter colors,” says Athina Wang, co-founder of COVRY. A style that lets light shine through is also an easy way to tap into the season’s bold eyewear look, notes Zack Moscot, chief design officer at MOSCOT (he’s also the 5th generation to get into the family business and the first to join as a formally trained product designer). “As more and more people understand the importance of accessorizing with their eyewear, there is a greater appeal for thicker material and a bigger, bolder aesthetic,” he tells TZR. “You can ease your way into this by selecting a transparent colorway providing a softer, more subtle look.” His suggestions are the brand’s unique shades, such as sage, mist, cinnamon, and light grey.
Larger Than Life
In 2024, Wang anticipates an uptick in bold statement frames that she says “make eyewear not only an accessory but a conversation starter.” Nemser agrees with Wang, explaining that this year, Warby Parker is honing in on dramatic silhouettes, one being oversized angular shapes. Try the trend in a feel-good shade or versatile black — either is guaranteed to have a major sartorial impact.
It was only a matter of time before the red color trend came for our eyewear, too. “Our red collection has done really well, and we've seen other brands pick up the idea, too,” explains Gonzalez. Though she says the striking shade primarily trends during the fall, she’s also seeing consumers lean into it during the winter months. And Krewe’s Design Studio Manager, Lizzie Hotard, also confirms the hue is popular in the eyewear department right now. “We've been tracking red as something that's coming,” she says, adding that both solid colors and patterns like checkered print are having a moment.
If you held on to your decades-old frames, you have a leg up on this year’s eyewear trends as nostalgic looks are crawling back into the fashion scene. “Retro shades with a fresh twist, pulling inspiration from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, will be another must-have this year,” says Heather Feldman, digital product and storytelling curator at Sunglass Hut. “From new interpretations on pilots, navigators, club masters, and cat-eyes to geometric and rimless updates (both small and oversized) on ovals, rounds, squares, and rectangles, these shades are inspired by the past but possess the perfect dose of modern updates.” In a similar vein, Benjamin Mantoya, VP design director at SALT. Optics, is noticing a resurgence of ‘90s-inspired wraps as well as casual vintage-inspired sports glasses.
Be prepared for an onslaught of rounded edges to hit the eyewear scene, according to TBC Eyewear’s Chief Creative & Commercial Officer Hamish Tame and Senior Designer Maggie Jane. “The smaller rounds and oval frames will have a more vintage tortoise shell finish, extending the current librarian aesthetic, shifting away from those fine metals into a more pronounced silhouette.” As for the larger circular styles, they say a hint of color, like solid shades and soft earthy hues, are especially popular.
Nemser foretells consumers to continue gravitating towards metal frames in 2024. “They offer an elevated, classic look that never goes out of style,” she says. Leight also has this look on his radar this year. His expert insight into the trend? The thinner, the better. “[For instance,] round and oval shapes with light lenses — think ‘90s Spears and Timberlake or Brad and Jennifer.”