The definition of cool may change with each generation, but the people who wore these frames definitely made their mark. Talented and brave men and women forever transformed the diminutive four eyes to what we now know as geek chic. And while life hasn’t always been a bed of roses for the visually impaired (just ask Velma from Scooby Doo how she feels when she loses her glasses), you can’t say they don’t face their challenges with style.
Without further ado, here are 12 celebrities who helped change the stereotype.
The 26 president of the United States overcame childhood asthma to become the leader of the Rough Riders. He was a big game hunter, founded his own political party, and showed such compassion for a baby bear that the iconic Teddy Bear was named after him. And he did it all balancing a pair of (now sadly outdated) C-bridge pince-nez spectacles on his mustachioed face.
Late in his life, Ghandi was never seen without his signature khadhi (traditional Indian clothing) and steel-rimmed spectacles. Ghandi’s glasses lenses were ground into a perfect circle, which was the simplest shape for glasses makers to form. Ghandi echoed that simplicity in his life and teachings.
The talented musician suffered from nearsightedness and astigmatism, which made it difficult for him to see the audience’s reactions when he played. After a disastrous experiment with contact lenses (they weren’t as effective in the 1950s), Holly selected a thick-rimmed black pair in Mexico City. The glasses gave Holly’s face a distinctive style and forever made glasses cool.
Although he is most famous for turning pop art into high art, Andy Warhol also made glasses cool. He popularized the classic Miltzen frames in the 1960s and 70s. The frames house a perfectly circular lens, but add a bold, graphic line that complements every face shape.
This human rights activist converted to Islam after a stint in prison to fight for black self-determination. When he was in prison, he read so much after lights-out that he developed astigmatism. This led him to purchase a pair of brow line glasses, known for a heavy rim at the top of the glass that mirror the line of the eyebrows.
At first, the Beatles star didn’t think glasses were cool enough for a rock star. Then, in 1967, Lennon appeared in a film called How I Won the War, where he wore a pair of round-rimmed frames (dubbed granny glasses or working class glasses). After that, they became an iconic part of his personal style.
OK, we know he’s not real, but indulge us. The only difference between mild-mannered businessman Clark Kent and his superhero alter ego is a pair of unassuming black-rimmed glasses. Kent used his glasses to appear normal, but every reader of the comic books knows he was anything but.
In the 1980s, Run-DMC was the most popular hip-hop band in the United States. By this time, even serious rappers didn’t feel ashamed of their specs; D.M.C mentioned his glasses in his lyrics. And he made a pair of oversized square frames look good.
He may have never gotten the girl, but Urkel (portrayed by actor Jaleel White) made glasses, high-water pants, and suspenders cool. He even guest starred on an episode of Full House to help middle child Stephanie overcome her fears of getting glasses. Now that’s a cool role model.
The iconic designer crafted his own look as carefully as he did any of his other designs. He was known as a fragile genius, which he heightened by using a pair of chunky frames that contrasted his delicate bone structure. He just looked like an intellectual creative type.
When her hit single Stay reached number one on the charts in 1994, Lisa Loeb and her signature specs were also here to stay. She continued to churn out quality music, even branching out to children’s music in 2003. Her glasses became so sought after, she even launched her own line of eyewear.
The famous actor has always marched to the beat of his own drummer. He appeared mostly in indie films before making it big as Edward Scissorhands in the eponymous movie in 1990. But although he hit the essence of his roles with a laser-like focus, Depp is actually blind in his left eye and near-sighted in his right eye. He chooses a pair of tinted glasses with a bar over the bridge.
Don’t let a stigma against glasses prevent you from treating your own astigmatism. Follow the lead of these super-cool celebrities and get your own pair!
Visit Londonderry Eye Care for all glasses in Edmonton.