By Jillian Urcelay

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For half a century, 20/20 has been and continues to be the purveyor of frame style and fashion. During this time, we have educated readers and inspired retailers, all while capturing and defining the trends. Throughout the past 50 years, one thing has been abundantly clear—women are driving eye style.

We firmly believe women set the trends and are the reason eyewear continues to evolve. As we look back through the archives of 20/20, skimming through decade after decade of dramatic looks, it is obvious that women have transformed the eyewear arena. That transformation has played out in such a monumental way, and it all relates back to fashion. Women are deliberate about what they buy and how they style it. They want quality. They understand fashion branding. Women can never have too many accessories and have normalized owning multiple pairs of sunglasses and optical frames. Most importantly, over the past 50 years women have made eyewear a part of their wardrobe.

As we observe the progression of optical and sunwear styles, it’s clear that women are at the helm of that change. They want their eyewear to make a statement, and they want unlimited options to make that possible. We know many of our readers have witnessed an unprecedented change in both frame design and technology over the years. Quality standards have deeply advanced, and the possibilities seem endless. Now, we have come to expect mixed materials, filigree, specialized lens treatments and infinite colorways. We have watched sunwear fuel optical trends, and women’s eyewear has always been at the heart of it. Women’s eyewear is playful… it’s bold and interesting, it’s chic and feminine. Patterns, unique shapes and mesmerizing colors are ubiquitous. Women have transformed eyewear from a medical device to a necessary accessory. Simply put, they have made eyewear cool.

When 20/20 was born in the mid-’70s, styles were big and bold. It was the days of disco, and the women’s rights movement was barreling on. In fashion, flared pants, bell sleeves, miniskirts and tailored silhouettes reigned supreme. In eyewear, oversized shapes and bright colors were making waves. As the years passed, women’s frame options continued to progress. Eyewear in the ’80s was all about elegant, clean and classic frames. Soft subtle designs and colors came into popularity as well as jewelry-like detailing, especially on the temples. As we moved through the late ’80s and early ’90s, unisex, rounder shapes came into play. Eyewear became smaller and vintage, minimalistic looks were in. The pages of 20/20 changed as well during this time. Our covers and fashion photo shoot features began to resemble more closely what the magazine looks like today. On that wave of change, rimless sunwear and optical styles ruled the scene in the early 2000s, and today we enjoy visually captivating designs and glamorous shapes.

Women have brought eyewear to new heights and transformed the industry. Enjoy our look back at the coverage 20/20 delivered shaping the dramatic face of women’s eyewear and see where it is heading next.