Ladies’ Cat Eye Glasses

Cat eye glasses aren’t just for librarians. The “cat eye”-style eyeglass frames adorned the pretty faces of everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn – and a lot of modern celebrities wear them, today. There’s something about them that’s a bit sly, a bit menacing, a but intriguiging, and a bit sexy. On the right woman, of course. The shape of them suggests something feline, so the name “cateye” is fitting.

American Optical Cat-eye Glasses, 1959

Various companies have made cat eye glasses over the last half-century, and the modern versions are still widely available. The classic cat-eye glasses are strictly a product of the mid-20th century, and they were made primarily by two manufacturers: Shuron (of course) and American Optical. I happen to love many of the old AO products but alas, they aren’t available any longer. (Shuron, as you know, is still alive and kicking – and still making the same quality frames like the Nulady CB just they did way back in the days of poodle skirts.)

AO Cat Eye Glasses
AO Cat Eye Frames from 1959

marilyn monroe wearing cateye eyeglassesIf you want to look like Marilyn, you can get a pair of vintage frames – go with some of the more opulent AOs from the 50’s or 60’s, or get a pair of Shurons such as the Nusir Royale frames. The old-style frames tend to be better-made and more ornate, and they usually are more bold than the more recent versions of cat eye glasses. But there are some really great modern frames, too…

ray ban cateye glasses

…like Ray-Bans. I’ve said it before: I am a Ray-Ban Fan. And blogger Keiko Lynn is, as well (pictured giving the thumbs up). She’s wearing the Ray-Ban RB5226 in Black Transparent, in case you’re wondering. [Side rant: Unfortunately, Ray-Ban now makes their frames in China (instead of the U.S.A. or Italy, like they used to) but these days that’s how it goes. If you want U.S.- or Italian-made glasses, you need to get vintage AOs, vintage or new Shurons, or expensive designer frames (but even most top-of-the-line designer frames are made in China).]

Good luck finding those Ray-Bans, by the way: all the really cool-looking cat-eye frames tend to be hard to find online, for some reason. I don’t know of one online retailer who sells these. You will have a much easier time looking on eBay for vintage frames or ordering a pair of Shurons. In fact, if you do that you’ll end up with a much more unique style – and if you get sunglass lenses put into a pair of vintage cat eye glasses, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind pair of sunglasses.

You might even look as elegant and cool as Audrey Hepburn!