Tips for finding the perfect Vintage Glasses

11. Oktober 2017

On finding and caring for vintage glasses.

Glasses are an everyday companion, still we can be truly happy to have found a „gadget“ that makes seeing so easy.

Den deutschen Beitrag zum Thema findest du hier: Auf der Suche nach der perfekten Vintage Brille.


I have about minus six dioptres and am thankful every day, when I exchange contacts to glasses. I remember, that without them I could hardly see my own hands. I would be, like so many others, totally lost without spectacles.

It is quite easy and comfortable to wear contacts every day. Yet I notice, especially in these cold days, in spring or autumn when pollen fly, that my eyes start to become dry and tired.

For this reason I decided some time ago to find my perfect vintage glasses. Glasses that would match my every day life, my style, which is mostly inspired by 1940s fashion – simply to find a beautiful, authentic pair and at the same time to take a break from contacts.

Vintage Brille _ Vintage Glasses (1)

For us spectacle-wearers they are much more than a pretty accessory, they are a true easement for everyday life. But why shouldn’t they still look extraordinary and unique?

„The 1950s to 1980s are a real treasure chest for vintage lovers. From butterfly to aviator, from trapeze to cateye – the great variety of shapes can only be displayed by a selection from all centuries of glasses design.“ Lunettes.

Such a wonderful coincidence that I recently got a mail by Lunettes, asking for a collaboration. The Berlin based shop offers very special, unique glasses – original pieces as well as retro glasses from their own collection. They sell them in store and online and ship international.

So this shop is a great inspiration if you are looking for beautiful and authentic glasses to complete your vintage style! And while I was taking pictures with some of their exemplars I really found my own beloved pair.

Tips for shopping glasses

This post shall give you some tips for finding your next vintage glasses. I had an interview with the experts from Lunettes regarding the perfect fit, caring about glasses and online shopping.

Finding the right pair

Dear Lunettes team, one of the questions that seems most important is this: Which shape and colour matches which face best?

For a rather rounded, soft facial shape we recommend edged spectacles, they often do give the face a bit more tension. A distinctive face with strong lines matches a softer, rounder pair of glasses very well.

The upper edge of the spectacles should not cross the line of the eyebrows. It is best to choose a piece whose form follows the natural shape of the brows. Furthermore, the glasses look especially flattering when the lower edge emphasizes the cheekbones. But of course the model should always match the character of the customer!

The shade could be choosen complimentary to the eyecolour. A golden frame makes blue eyes beam. In contrary, aubergine-coloured frames emphasize green eyes.

How do I know that a frame suits me?

This question is quite difficult to answer. Taste is a matter of choice. And it really depends on the context – where and when someone wears glasses, and with which attitude. Do I want to set a statement with my look, or do I rather like to appear reserved and unobtrusive?

Vintage Brille _ Vintage Glasses (2)

The photos for this post were kindly taken by Sarah Bokeh. In this picture I am wearing a frame by Designer Robert La Roche. It is one of my favourites of the Lunettes collection – I love the delicateness of this piece.

Personally, I like glasses that don’t detract from my eyes. I want the person vis-à-vis to look into my eyes while talking to me, and not at my glasses. And, as I just learned in the interview, this golden frame perfectly matches my blue eyes!

For someone who works in a conservative surrounding big glasses are too eye-catching, while for another person these are a great fashion statement or an excerpt from the 1970s and 80s, a time when spectacles were much larger.

In general bigger glasses look like an accessory, while smaller ones communicate reliability, but can also look conservative.

What should I consider when buying a pair of glasses? Especially in terms of the correct fit, size, stability, glass and frame?

One should make sure not to buy the frame too small, because otherwise the hints could be overstretched.

Something important is also the bridge of the glasses and its width. The bridge defines whether a pair of glasses fits well. If its too large, the optical centre permanently changes, which prevents an exact vision. That is why people with smaller or flat noses should prefer nose pads. On the other hand, if a bridge is too tight, it can cause dents on the nose.

Moreover, the length of the temples is also a relevant theme. The glasses need a good hold on the ears to carry the weight of the specs in a steady way. If the temples are too short, the weight is carried by the nose, which again causes dents. Also the glasses could fall down when moving. Too long temples can be shortened by the optician.

For high dioptres glasses with smaller frames made of acetate are the best ones, for example in a round or oval shape.

Buying glasses online

Do you have some advice on how to shop glasses online? 

Actually, Lunettes was one of the first online shops for glasses, we already founded it ten years ago! So we made lots of experience which we love to share.

The great thing about online shopping is: we can reach people with our unique collection everywhere around the country, even in the smallest villages – people who normally would not have access to such a variety of retro and vintage glasses.

Our advice is: It does not make sense to only order one frame (except if one knows this one already well). We are kind of the inventors of the so-called sample shipment. Only with a bigger selection of glasses (we recommend 6 pairs) of one type, one can be sure to find a piece that suits well.

We are also really happy about customers showing us specs from a movie or anywhere else and we have a look for a matching frame in our archive – models that one normally doesn’t find in our online shop. So we have a lot more to offer than one can see online!

Vintage Brille - Vintage Glasses Auswahl

Online shopping at Lunettes is really easy. One can choose different frames, shipping is free. The customer only needs to place a deposit. And one can try them on – everything stress-free – at home. The shipping is international.

The frame on top of the book are the „Somero“ glasses from the Lunettes retro collection, which I wear on the picture below. The second pair on the book is the La Roche frame that I already talked about. 

Vintage Brille Vintage Glasses Buch

On the way to a unique piece – the vintage glasses

How do you do your eyesight test at Lunettes, is it matching your vintage theme?

Lunettes Selection does not only focus on tradition in matters of glasses, but also in matters of eye tests. Lunettes cultivates a rather rare, traditional method called „determination of refraction„. With the help of refraction glasses we determine the eyesight in an absolutely precise way, but also the sight impression and sight comfort, which can hardly be identified with a machine.

Our optician in Berlin takes a lot of time to elaborate the circumstances of a customer, his or her personal situation, and choose the perfect lenses for the customer’s everyday life and comfort.

Vintage Brille _ Vintage Glasses (3) Jeunesse Toujours

In this photo I wear the „Jeunesse Toujours“ specs. I really love the light and transparent frames. The beautiful jumpsuit was made by Emmy Design.

What is so charming about vintage glasses?

The variety in shape, material and colours is so much bigger in contrary to modern glasses!

In the 90s and 2000s contacts were popular and laser surgery became en vogue, so the glasses changed into nearly invisible ones – frameless, simple lenses. So the time before the 90s was the bloom of frame design!

The 1950s to 1980s are a real treasure chest for vintage lovers. From butterfly to aviator, from trapeze to cateye – the great variety of shapes can only be displayed by a selection from all centuries of glasses design.

The frames of vintage glasses have been made by hand, so individual design, high quality and the perfect fit are combined. A big advantage compared to today’s pieces!

UV protection and care

Now let’s talk about sunglasses. What should I consider in terms of UV protection?

Sunglasses should fulfill 100% of UV protection and – according to the sensation of the customer – provide a particular translucency – whether with darker lenses, clearer ones or lenses with a light colour gradient. Our vintage sunglasses are all having new lenses, to make sure the UV protection is intact.

Sunglasses can be chosen larger in size than normal ones. It is also no problem this time, when the eyebrows are covered. For driving a car or peticular kinds of sports we recommend polarising lenses. These reduce reflexes of sunrays on the streets or water surfaces.

Vintage Brille Vintage Glasses Jeunesse Toujours

In the end, when I finally found my perfect pair of glasses, there is still one thing to regard: the care. I often read that (wet) lens cleaning cloths from the store are more harmful than helpful. How can I clean my glasses and lenses and how do I care about them to provide a long life?

You are right. Those typical cloths from the stores damage the delicate coating of the lenses.

One should clean them in this way: Hold the glasses under water to remove the dirt. The water should be lukewarm, to prevent damage of the glass. Water that is too cold also doesn’t loosen fat.

Use a very gentle (best is bio) washing liquid and comminute it softly on the lenses. Afterwards simply wash it again with lukewarm water.

Then you can polish the glasses with a soft cotton cloth or microfiber cloth.

Thank you very much, dear Lunettes team, for all the inspiration and tips on vintage glasses.
I am looking forward to fitting my own pair in Berlin and trying the traditional refraction method as well!

What experience did you make when buying (vintage) glasses? Maybe you have some more questions to ask the experts?

Vintage Brille Vintage Glasses La Roche

Further posts about vintage styles:

Teddy Girls: The rebellious, nearly forgotten subculture of the 1950s
1970s Summer – Feel the free spirits of nature
On the way to yourself – Why finding my own style changed my entire life

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