Lucky for me and my fellow squinters, the fashion world’s latest obsession plays to our strengths — or weaknesses, as it were. Enter: Bayonetta frames, slim-framed glasses last seen on the scene during the late ‘90s and early aughts. Spotted on key Fall 2023 runways — Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and Miu Miu included — the nerdy-cool style’s appeal is easy to see: It offers an air of modern sophistication while flirting with librarian-core cosplay (and will have you running from the bookstacks to the checkout counter). Better still, today’s iterations encompass a range of shapes, materials, and tones that can polish up pretty much outfit, as demonstrated by everyone from Bella Hadid to Emma Chamberlain.
Perhaps in direct response to the oversized buggy glasses and aviators of late, the Bayonetta revival points to a shift in how we get dressed. Post-quarantine maximalism has hushed from a look-at-me bellow to a whisper as quiet luxury soothes outfits like an ASMR video for our closets. As a result, simpler looks that channel humility with a subtle IYKYK wink are gaining traction, especially as the winter months trudge on. And understated, thin-frame glasses service a range of vibes, whether you’re overhauling your look to channel literary chicness or a sassy horse girl sensibility. They also offer a great deal of visual impact for very little effort.
This all makes sense with the current style zeitgeist. Barbiecore pink, arguably one of last year’s biggest — and brightest — trends is starting to taper off, making room for tonier shades of red and burgundy. Meanwhile, collegiate and preppy-inspired outfits (hello, dark academia) are everywhere. If we’re no longer invoking Barbie badassery, perhaps American Girl dolls, namely the bespectacled Molly, one of the OGs, are now providing plenty of fodder (though if women should fashion themselves after playthings — of any type — remains a pertinent conversation for the culture at large).
So putting our thesis back into focus, Bayonetta-style glasses message “getting sh*t done” versus “look at me getting sh*t done.” This was clear in the Miu Miu Fall 2023 collection where wooly prim cardigans, knee-length pencil skirts, and slim-framed glasses spoke to the bubbling bookish chic movement. To recreate the effect, unearth your library card, slip on your favorite shrunken sweater set and pair it with a crisp trouser or straight-leg jean, loafers, cozy socks, and rectangle frames — prescription or otherwise — in black, tortoise shell, or deep brown. Alternatively, try teaming the frames with a simple A-line dress, your favorite red tights, and loafers for an A+ outfit.
Meanwhile, for Fall 2023 Stella McCartney paid homage to horse girls everywhere, shaking up the classic track set by juxtaposing wire-frame spectacles and moto boots with an athleisure-inspired jumpsuit. To channel this look, pull out your own track- or riding pants, pop on a menswear-inspired, floor-length coat, and stomp around the stable in chunky harness boots. After all, horse girls have lives outside of the riding ring, and can canter off to a dinner party in McCartney style by slipping on a metallic or sequin mini dress, dad’s old riding jacket, thigh-high boots, square wire-frame glasses, and a baseball cap to hide any helmet hair. When in doubt, just look to glasses champion — and lover of all things equine — Bella Hadid for post-ride wardrobe ideas.
Over at Balenciaga, silhouettes were oversized but understated in pretty much every other way. The key looks emphasized androgynous slouchy outerwear unified by square wire frames, which warmed up the otherwise stark and simple collection. The trend lends itself to fans of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s minimalistic ‘90s style. Although she was most often spotted in slim sunglasses, her approach works just as well for regular lenses, too. Lean into quiet luxury by wearing camel menswear-inspired overcoats, neutral-toned sweater sets á la Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, and knee-heigh boots. Oval or octagonal-shaped glasses nod to not being too fussy about how you’re dressed. Complete with a headband or souped-up handbag to keep things feeling fresh.
Ready to add a little spectacle to your style? Shop these frames now.
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