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Unisex Frames for Both Men and Women


Unisex eyewear styles had their heyday in previous decades when a certain androgyny in the fashion world meant men's and women's clothing and accessories took cues from one another.

In recent seasons, that philosophy has changed dramatically. Styles sauntering down the men's and women's fashion runways are much more distinguishable as masculine and feminine. Prescription eyeglasses, too, have followed a similar path.

However, plenty of unisex eyeglass options are still available that will appeal to both men and women. In fact, some optical shops even have sections of their store devoted to unisex frames.

Many styles are neutral, but daring designs with decorative temples also can blur the line between genders.

Top Five Unisex Eyeglass Styling Trends

Carrera Maverick styles in a P3 shape.
The rimless Titan Accent style by Silhouette International can be ordered in a variety of lens shapes and frame colors. The blue-gray color and medium-sized lenses on this example make it wearable by men or women who want a clean, modern look. [Enlarge]
  1. Unique plastic frames in oval and elongated rectangular shapes.
  2. Rimless and semi-rimless styles with lenses cut in oval shapes.
  3. Retro, small, John Lennon style frames, sometimes accented with tinted lenses (in blue, light brown or even yellow).
  4. New, progressive shapes such as the modified (elongated) rectangle, and the bowtie or butterfly (a rectangle with the ends "tilted" upward).
  5. Beautifully designed, clean and simple thin metal frame styles in titanium and stainless steel in a variety of unisex shapes and sizes.

Keep in mind that you want people to focus on your frames, not on distracting reflections in your lenses that obscure your eyes. For the most attractive eyewear, always have anti-reflective (AR) coating applied to your eyeglass lenses.

Specialty Eyewear

One area of eyeglass frames that remains primarily devoted to unisex styling is the specialty eyewear realm. Falling into this category are frames developed specifically for computer use, driving, sports, and even crafts and hobbies.

Carrera Maverick styles in a P3 shape.
These two unisex frames from the new Carrera Maverick collection have a classic P3 shape that looks good on both men's and women's faces. [Enlarge]

If you participate in some of these activities, ask your optician for recommendations about eyewear that can enhance your performance and increase your enjoyment of them.

What often makes an eyeglass frame fit the specialty eyewear bill is the lens (for example, impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses for sports or glass lenses for better optics while driving), but the design of the frame also is key.

According to a survey by The Vision Council*, the top reasons for purchasing specialty eyewear include:

  1. For a specific activity such as work, hobbies, sports, driving and computer work.
  2. The need to see better in general.
  3. Safety features that create an increased enjoyment of sports as well as protection from dust and glare.
  4. Cosmetic reasons, particularly for wearers who like to be different and look attractive.

A good optician can help you choose the right lens and frame combinations for your special needs.

*A survey of Americans aged 35 to 64 conducted by Vision Council of America, now named The Vision Council.

Page updated August 2017