December 30, 2016

Forget everything you thought you knew about glasses. This season, spectacles have transcended from purely functional to full-fledged fashion accessory. Stylish optical frames aren’t simply a practical necessity but an extension of your own personal style.

From celebrities favouring their frames for the red carpet (Lupita Nyong’o’s square specs were so popular that they got their own Twitter account) to bespectacled style icons such as Iris Apfel and Jenna Lyons who have made glasses a signature part of their look, frames are now recognised as a fashion feature in their own right.

Adding to the cool credentials of glasses, the catwalks have championed fashion-forward frames as the hook of a trend. In collaboration with respected stylists Caroline Issa and Luke Day, the six trends of the season were identified, alongside ways to incorporate them into your optical wardrobe.

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Optical trends for women

For women, Masculine Tailoring, Vintage Glamour and Urban Sport emerged as the key trends from the AW16 shows that will stay with us through to Spring. Ralph Lauren showcased Masculine Tailoring through tailored two-pieces signifying strength and power while still remaining decidedly feminine. Smart in all senses of the word, this look isn’t complete without a pair of classic or oversized opticals. Opulent fabrics such as velvets and tweeds as well as metallics and embellishments all feature heavily in the Vintage Glamour trend, but the real star here is the accessories: Miu Miu’s crystal studded statement frames are a prime example of how glasses can encapsulate a trend to elevate a look. Urban Sport sees athletic wear going high-end with Versace leading the way with a trend that sees tracksuits getting a luxe upgrade. Complementing this look are performance and style-enhancing eyewear—the perfect partner to the athletic aspect.

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Optical trends for men

For the gents, Retro Macho, Psychedelic Geeks and Track Luxe are the looks of the season. Retro Mach is unapologetic, unabashed and testosterone-fuelled with an almost sleazy tone. TV shows such as Narcos have brought the look to the mainstream with Versace giving it some high-fashion kudos. With this trend, silhouettes are form-fitting to reveal plenty of chest and accessories rule. To nail the look, opticals that accentuate the face and complement the jawline are mandatory. More eccentric and playful is Psychedelic Geeks which mixes prints, patterns and accessories for an eclectic, unisex look. Essential for balancing the geek with the chic are a pair of specs—these will ground the more fashion-forward looks and add a touch of frivolity to more generic outfits. The athletic aesthetic of Track Luxe is another trend coming through from AW16 to the new season, which saw designers such as Paul Smith looking back to the 70s and 80s heyday of the tracksuit, reviving retro styles with modernist techno innovations. All that’s needed to up the style ante? A pair of opticals, such as thick dark frames to add an air of sophistication to an otherwise laidback look.