1930s Sunglasses

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Were there sunglasses in the 1930s?

In the 1930s, sunglasses began to gain popularity as both a fashion accessory and a functional item. Although their design, shape and purpose were somewhat different from what sunglasses we know today, they indeed existed decades before. Sunglasses were not as widely available as they are today, and their use was often associated with practicality rather than pure style.

What did sunglasses look like in 1930s?

Classic Elegance with a Touch of Utility

Sunglasses of the 1930s exuded a sense of classic elegance with a utilitarian twist. The frames were typically made from materials like metal, acetate, or even early forms of plastic. Unlike the plethora of shapes and sizes of glasses we see today, the frame shapes in the first 1930s sunglasses were somewhat limited.

Round Sunglasses: The Epitome of Chic

One popular style during the 1930s was round sunglasses. These circular lenses added an air of sophistication and mystery to the wearer. 1930s Round sunglasses were often seen on Hollywood stars and celebrities, further solidifying their status as a trendy accessory.

Cat-Eye Frames: Embracing Femininity

While cat-eye sunglasses are a trend more commonly associated with the 1950s, their origins can be traced back to the first 1930s sunglasses. These frames of sunglasses, with their upswept outer edges, were particularly popular among women, allowing them to showcase their femininity and elegance.

What glasses were popular in the 30s?

Aviator Sunglasses: A Glimpse of Adventure

Aviator sunglasses, initially designed for pilots, became a sensation in the 1930s. Their large, teardrop-shaped lenses not only offered ample eye protection but also gave wearers a sense of adventure and daring. These sunglasses were often associated with aviation heroes and exuded an aura of heroism.

Clip-On 1930s Sunglasses: Versatility Redefined

Clip-on 1930s sunglasses were a practical innovation of the 1930s. These sunglasses featured a clip mechanism that allowed them to be attached onto regular eyeglasses. This practical design made them versatile for individuals who needed corrective lenses but also sought sun protection.

Gradient Tint Lenses: Aesthetic and Functionality

Gradient tint lenses made their appearance in the 1930s, offering a unique blend of style and functionality. These lenses were darker at the top and gradually lightened towards the bottom. This design not only protected the eyes from harsh sunlight but also allowed wearers to maintain clear vision in varying lighting conditions.

Why were sunglasses popular in the 1920s?

The silver screen played a significant role in shaping eyewear trends of the 1930s. Hollywood stars donned stylish sunglasses both on and off the set, creating a sense of allure and glamour that captivated audiences.


Greta Garbo: Mysterious Allure

Greta Garbo, a prominent actress of the 1930s, often sported round-framed sunglasses. Her enigmatic aura was only enhanced by these shades, making them a symbol of mystery and charm.

Clark Gable: The Masculine Appeal

Clark Gable, known for his dashing looks and charismatic presence, popularized aviator sunglasses. His on-screen roles projected an image of adventure and masculinity to women, contributing to the aviator sunglasses' widespread appeal.


While the 1930s may seem like a bygone era, its influence on sunglasses' style and design is still evident today. Elements like round frames, wide cat-eye shapes, and aviator styles continue to make their mark on contemporary eyewear.


Designers and eyewear brands often draw inspiration from the past, leading to the resurgence of 1930s sunglass styles. Modern interpretations of round frames, cat-eye shapes, and aviator sunglasses can be seen on fashion runways and streets worldwide.


In a world where trends come and go, the elegance and sophistication of 1930s sunglasses remain timeless. These iconic sunglasses styles remind us of an era when eyewear was not just worn as a practical accessory but a statement piece that conveyed personality and charm.



The 1930s left an indelible mark on the world of fashion, and the 1930s sunglasses themselves were no exception. From the classic round frames to the daring metal aviators, eyewear of this era continues to inspire and influence the styles we cherish today. As we look back on the history of 1930s sunglasses, we're reminded that true style never goes out of fashion.