Can you think of a decade with more glitter and hedonism than the one that gave birth to disco? The ‘70s were a golden age for music, and the fashions of the day were just as big and bright. Reflecting the tendency of the era to go big, designer sunglasses made in this era were characterised by oversized frames and colours. If you think you were made to boogie with Mick Jagger in Studio 54 but fate put you in the wrong decade, at least you can dress like the disco queen or king you were meant to be with our selection of favourite ‘70s sunglasses.
The ‘70s didn’t leave the ‘60s behind completely. The social movements of the ‘60s continued their momentum in the new decade, and the styles of the ‘70s kept strong ties to the previous one, as well. The continuation of hippie style meant bohemian frames continued to be successful. This meant that square frames were a popular option in the ‘70s, and today they make for the perfect retro accessory. A square frame in a wild hue is an easy way to get that groovy ‘70s feel without resorting to wearing a full-on Saturday Night Fever disco suit.
Square frames are a great middle ground between the extravagantly oversized frames of the day and the tiny sunglasses trend of the ‘90s. Square sunglasses are easy to style, and can work with a variety of outfits thanks to their more natural look. While ‘70s style could sometimes be more fun than functional, this shape is a bit more practical.
Thanks to TV shows like The Serpent, which is set in the ‘70s, there is a renewed interest in style from this unforgettable era. Even top designers are getting nostalgic for the decade. Take a look at Dior’s square-framed SoStellaire1 for a classy pair of retro shades. For a truly ‘70s look, try pre-loved square sunglasses with a colourful frame, like Gucci’s oversized square acetate sunglasses in a totally mod pastel green. Oversized, square and green? Yes, these are ‘70s sunglasses at its finest.
One of the iconic accessories from the ‘70s is double top bar glasses, a distinctive twist on the classic aviator shape. The heritage brand that dominates the market is Neostyle, whose Nautic 2 design was worn by Elvis Presley at a historic concert in 1972, and catapulted the company to lasting fame. After Elvis’s concert, this style of sunglasses became worn around the world. Elvis and his sunglasses were such an iconic duo that his personal pairs regularly go for high sums at auction. For example, some of Elvis’s custom made sunglasses sold in 2018 for a whopping 159,900 US dollars.
Neostyle is a German company with notable craftsmanship, so you can expect these sunglasses to have excellent durability. These glasses are not only collector’s items, but if you buy them pre-loved, they are a wise pick for sustainable sunglasses. Buying items that are well-made rather than cheaply produced fast fashion ensures that your accessories will be cherished for years, rather than tossed in the trash at the end of a season. We definitely don’t need to buy new to get a retro look. A much better option is to shop the vintage sunglasses selection on Vestiaire Collective for double bar eyewear that doesn’t cost the earth new resources.
While clean and simple, double bridge sunglasses are bold picks because you will always stand out wearing them. They add a retro styling that looks great on any gender. In the same way that ‘90s sunglasses were dominated by rectangular frames because they flatter nearly everyone, the double top bar sunglasses suit all face shapes. You can wear this fashion with confidence, just like the King of Rock’n’Roll did.
Want to accessorise like the style icons of the ‘70s? Why not go treasure hunting in your parents’ or grandparents’ collections of old sunglasses? And when you do, get ready to view life in colour. Tinted sunglasses were all the rage in this era and the love of coloured lenses has continued to this day. Just check out the shutter shades of the ‘80s and the tinted round frames of the ‘90s to see that ‘70s style didn’t stop after the decade ended. In fact, tinted glasses are just as popular now as ever amongst a range of age groups. From avant-garde youth like Billie Eilish, to more mature celebs like Johnny Depp and Bono, tinted glasses hold a special place in fashion.
Lightly tinted sunglasses can even cross-over into indoor use. Just be sure to choose a colour that isn’t too dark so you don’t strain your eyes. Just as different colours in interior décor can evoke different psychological benefits, there may be physical benefits to wearing tinted glasses, as well. Yellow-tinted glasses are favoured by outdoor athletes like snowboarders and cyclists to improve contrast in their visual field, and even to reduce visual fatigue from computer screens. There has even been a study indicating that a specific rose-coloured tint can relieve migraine pain. Improved fashion and improved health? Not bad for a pair of sunglasses!
As if the disco decade wasn’t flamboyant enough with its go-go boots and V-cut velvet jumpsuits, they went and added oversized sunglasses on top. And why not? Everything in the 1970s was a statement piece, from the Farah Fawcett hair-do down to the knee high socks. It is only fitting that sunglasses would need to keep up.
The decadent decade saw the likes of Sophia Loren and Jackie Kennedy Onassis oozing glamour in their oversized shades. In fact, Jackie O may have been the first celebrity to rock this look. Both Loren and Kennedy were connoisseurs of this style of sunglasses, usually opting for a square shape with thick plastic frames. Jackie O tended toward dark lenses to give her obscurity from the prying press, even after she was no longer the First Lady of the United States. Actress Sophia Loren, on the other hand, craved being seen, and preferred tinted lenses. She loved sunglasses so much that she even became the first celebrity to have her own eyewear brand.
In the ‘70s, Diana Ross reigned supreme. Topping the music charts of the decade, as well as making a name for himself in ostentatious outfits, Ross whole-heartedly embraced the big sunglasses fashion. Even recently, the now 77-year old entertainer admitted to putting on oversized sunglasses if she doesn’t want to do her makeup. If it works for the Queen of Motown, it works for us.
To recreate the oversized sunglasses look of the ‘70s without it overtaking your ensemble, just follow a few style guidelines. The first is that they should not be able to touch your cheeks, otherwise they are too big (though ‘70s fashionistas might scoff at such an idea). Your eyebrows should be able to be seen and the frames should not be wider than your face. If all of these points are checked off, your big sunnies are going to be glam!
After the clean cut Mad Men era of the ‘60s, where conformity in business wardrobes continued much the same as it had in the ‘50s, the ‘70s managed to put its stamp on even office apparel. Far from being minimalist, the contra trend in the ‘70s was bigger and bolder is better.
Frames for sunglasses of this era tended to be thick and plastic. Coming in a variety of colours, sunglasses had the potential to be more of a symbol of personal expression than ever before.
Leave it to Francoise Hardy to somehow manage to blend French minimalism with the opulence of the ‘70s with her sunglasses collection. Her large, square, white-framed sunglasses were a defining look of the era that remains timeless. White frames are perfect for the street or the beach, giving a refreshing cleanness to this accessory. It makes a statement without much effort, as white is easy to pair with the rest of your ensemble.
Tom Ford’s Fausto sunglasses with white frames are the perfect retro pair with a modern twist. Using yellow-tinted lenses and thick, white frames, this a unisex pair of sunglasses takes everything good about ‘70s fashion and distills it to a simply elegant pair of shades. If you’re ready to grab the thick frame look, shop vintage and retro sunglasses pre-loved on Vestiaire. You’ll minimise your impact on the planet, and it’s the groovy thing to do.
We’d understand if you said your favourite decade was the ‘70s. With singers like Cher and Diana Ross hitting their strides during this time period, pop stars became icons and their styles became the defining looks of a generation. Featuring bold colours and patterns for daytime wear, and plenty of sparkle at night for all those disco parties at Studio 54, ‘70s fashion never took itself too seriously.
In the ‘70s, sunglasses transitioned from functional accessories whose sole purpose was sun protection, to fashion staples capable of telling a story and expressing a personality. A pair of vintage ‘70s sunglasses are the best way to have a taste of the decade without it overpowering your whole ensemble.
Buying vintage sunglasses through Vestiaire is also the best way to protect your eye health and elevate your style in a sustainable way. You might feel like a pair of sunglasses is such a small item that it wouldn’t generate a lot of waste. But, unfortunately, sunglasses have a big and not so friendly impact on the environment. Acetate frames are sometimes touted as a sustainable option but it’s more complicated than that. Yes, it’s derived from a non-petroleum based plastic so it’s an improvement from virgin plastic. But there’s still a tonne of waste involved. Frames are cut from a sheet of acetate that wastes 80% of the material. When 200 million pairs of sunglasses are bought every year in the US alone, that makes for a lot of waste.
But you don’t have to worry about production waste at all when you shop on Vestiaire Collective. All of our items are pre-loved so you don’t have to get confused trying to find the most sustainable material. So whether it’s ‘70s or ‘80s sunglasses, hand bags or hats, coats or shoes, buying vintage and second-hand on Vestiaire is simply the best way to shop for fashion if your priority is lowering your impact on the environment and looking good while you do it.