What are the Different Types of Hipster Glasses?

Marco Sumayao

The most prominent type of hipster glasses is characterized by large, black rectangular frames, usually made of thick plastic. The size of the frames generally reach from the brow to the midpoint of the cheekbone, or slightly beyond it. Variations on this look include other-colored and round frames. Other types of hipster glasses include various types of vintage glasses, often with unique or comical frame designs such as hearts and cats' eyes. Some proponents of hipster fashion wear popular modern frames, such as blinder shades, as a form of satire directed towards popular culture.

Hipster glasses can also be sunglasses.
Hipster glasses can also be sunglasses.

Hipster glasses, in their most identifiable form, are shaped in a frame once most closely associated with nerds. Hipster fashion philosophies concentrate on irony, particularly, the use of "uncool" style elements to appear cool. This allows the individual to project an image of indifference to contemporary principles of fashion, favoring effortlessness over adherence to achieve aesthetic appeal. In some circles, the very idea of hipster fashion is to look "bad" in order to look "good." This perspective caused individuals to gravitate towards large, thick-framed glasses—a symbol of "uncool" nerds—and co-opt them into hipster style.

Hipster glasses usually have black frames and are made from thick plastic.
Hipster glasses usually have black frames and are made from thick plastic.

Given the popularity of the rectangular "nerd" frames at the early onset of hipster fashion, indie style icons began to branch the trend out into similar frames. Common variations of the iconic hipster glasses include brown or amber frames, round "O"-shaped frames, and metal frames. Hipster glasses can also have thin frames, provided that the large size is maintained.

Hipster style is also known to delve into vintage fashion, assembling outfits with pieces at least 30 years in age. This has given hipsters access to more flamboyant styles once popular in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. These include triangular frames, single-piece visors, and comedic gimmick frames, such as frog-shaped ones. The colors of these vintage frames are often loud and uncommon in comparison to contemporary eyewear. The frames can hold tinted, graded, or ungraded lenses, depending on the hipster's intended use.

Certain hipster circles adapt popular contemporary styles in an effort to be ironic in their irony. This involves wearing glasses similar to the styles of mainstream pop, rock, and hip hop artists; diamond-studded or "blinged" frames have been spotted on numerous hipster glasses. In order to balance the mainstream aesthetic with an interest in indie culture, hipsters usually wear these trendy frames with anachronistic ensemble pieces. "Ironic" outfits often pair these hipster glasses with fad clothing items from previous decades, such as 80s spandex tights and leg warmers.

Hipster glasses might be trendy or they might be extremely out of style, depending on the context and wearer.
Hipster glasses might be trendy or they might be extremely out of style, depending on the context and wearer.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - If you don't need prescription lenses, but still want to wear the glasses, the same stores will usually put in plain glass or plastic for a really small price. Or you can do that and just wear contacts underneath them, so you have the option of taking them off if you get sick of them during the day.

I think if you really want to go for the retro-geek look, you should put a sticky plaster in the bridge between the lenses of your eyewear. That would recreate the whole Rocky Horror Picture Show look, but I doubt many people would go that far. It would certainly not look traditionally cool, which is what I think most hipsters are going for.


If you want to use vintage frames as prescription glasses, you can remove the lenses that are already in place, and give the frames to your optometrist to replace with the lenses you need. Alternatively, you can send the frames to an online glasses retailer, as they often advertise that they can replace lenses in frames. This is a good way to get a nice pair of useful vintage glasses. You can find vintage frames online as well, although because they are so much in vogue at the moment, they tend to be expensive. Looking in small second hand shops or a charity shop is your best bet.

Post your comments
Forgot password?