Cat Eye Glasses of the 1950s

Written by elise o'neill
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Cat Eye Glasses of the 1950s
Cat eye frames imitate the natural slant of cat eyes. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Eyewear fashion has cycled through various trends, from the monocle to transition lenses. One enduring trend, however, is cat eye glasses, which first hit the fashion scene in the 1950s. The name "cat eye," of course, comes from the frame's imitation of the feline's slanted eyes. Cat eye glasses are generally thick frames that lead to a point at the top corners of the glasses. The arms attach at the corners of the glasses, usually at the top of the frame.

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Sex Appeal

Before the 1950s, glasses and sex appeal were not often found in the same sentence. The rise of cat eye glasses broadened the definition of sexy because of its association with feminine, sexy celebrities. Classic sex symbol Marilyn Monroe donned cat eye frames at the apex of her career in the 1950s. Audrey Hepburn also wore cat eye glasses through the 1950s and into the 1960s, including during her iconic 1961 role as Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." With such classic celebrities selecting cat eye frames, the longevity of the trend within the general public is no surprise.

Choosing Cat Eye Glasses

Vintage enthusiasts can rejoice because there are cat eye frames becoming to all face shapes. Women with round faces looks best with frames that add angles to their bone structure, so frames with sharp edges look best. Women with a heart-shaped face or a square face should select frames with rounded edges. The golden rule for all women is experiment with several pairs to see which suits you best. Bring along a friend for a second opinion. Don't forget to consider the hairstyle and outfit that you plan to wear with the frames.

1950s Trends Today

Cat eye frames are never totally out of fashion and have been manufactured in decades following the 1950s. The most coveted pairs for fans of the trend, however, are frames from the 1950s. Availability of authentic 1950s pairs is limited, though online vendors of vintage styles occasionally offer 1950s cat eye glasses on their sites. A popular option for women searching for cat eye frames is attending flea markets, second-hand shops and antique shops. Once purchased, your prescription eye care retailer can insert your personal lenses.

Cat Eye Crafts

A 1950s-themed party is a perfect event for wearing cat eye frames. If you do not already own a pair, make your own. You will need regular frames, a plastic plate (preferably in a matching colour), rhinestones, and a hot glue gun. Cut two identical isosceles triangles from the plastic plate. Isosceles triangles have two sides of equal length longer than third side. Using your hot glue gun, adhere both triangles to the frame and the top corners with the longest point of the triangle facing out to create the "cat eye" slant. Let dry at least one hour. Decorate the frame and triangles with rhinestones with the hot gun, to blend the triangles with the frames. Allow at least one hour for rhinestones to dry. Pair with your favourite poodle skirt for a head-to-toe look.

Cat Eye Glasses of the 1950s
Rhinestones are a popular embellishment to cat eye frames. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

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