By the thirties, white gold, gold filled and shell glasses were still in vogue. Pince-nez, rimless frames, bifocals, and even the monocle were also still being worn by older men, waiters, and some refined women. Frames were thin metal with pearl nose pads and a higher bridge than the 1920s versions. Octogen or round were the preferred shapes.
The Oxford glasses which pinched like the pince-nez but featured a top bar that extended to the center or outside of the frame became a popular variation.
Rimless glasses in gold metal frames replaced most shell glasses for daytime use by the mid-30s. The perfectly round shape also relaxed into a slightly more oval or rounded octagon octagon appearance – rounded on top or bottom. The half-rim 1930s eyeglass were also increasing in popularity in the later years.
The very round plastic or shell glasses also remained trendy in the thirties. They were more durable than metal frames making them ideal for all day use.
The eyewear trend of the 1930s involved the increasing use of sunglasses by everyone, not just the nearsighted.
New inventions in plastics made sunglasses especially popular in white or clear frames. They were filled with smoked grey, amber-brown and green lenses. White sunglasses with green lenses were seen on many Hollywood stars in the 1930s, and the bridge moved up from the center to the top of the lens as the trend developed.
After 1938 there was an overnight explosion of new glass colors: blue, green, fieuzal (red), smoke and others.
There was a brief trend for flower petal frame white sunglasses with stars as well. These were a cheap novelty item sold at beaches on the West Coast.
Rimless sunglasses in the aviator style became hugely popular in the mid to late 30s. This new aviator shape had a deep bottom gap around the nose and a wide top. The top frame would be filled in by clear plastic or held with a thin metal bridge over the nose piece.
1930s Eyewear photos
Women’s 1930s style sunglasses
Retro Peepers (UK) / Etsy shop – Vintage style frames 20s-50s and they will put in a prescription lens for you.
Alice Browns Cupboard (UK) and La Visa Rose (UK) – Affordable sunglasses in 20s and 50s styles
Warby Parker– New prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. Aviator, plastic frame, round or cat eye shapes. Try on at home. Most are $95 to $150 including prescription lenses. Women’s and men’s styles.
Dead Men’s Spex (UK)- They often have vintage spectacles, eye glass frames and sunglasses.
Sunglass Warehouse – They have a few retro styles. Cheap prices- buy a few!
Glasses.com – Designer brand sunglasses and eyeglasses. Prescription available.