Image via Garance Doré on YouTubeIf there’s one person who took glasses from nerdy-cool to regular-cool, it’s probably Jenna Lyons. As J. Crew’s president, creative director, and resident style icon, she’s easy to find on the company’s Instagram—at the White House, no less!—or on a red carpet. Usually, she’s in her signature chunky frames. She wore them even before glasses were ubiquitous, and soon enough, other people started following her example.Lyons didn’t turn glasses’ reputation around singlehandedly, though. Plenty of other celebrities put their coolness behind the cause. Below, we chart how glasses reached the point where people wear them sans prescription.1989: Urkel in Family MattersImage via YouTubeUrkel’s oversized, aviator-style red glasses were essential to his lovable nerd persona. The subtext, in Family Matters, is that Urkel wears these wacky glasses because he’s clueless about style. Why else would he wear them with hiked up pants and hiked up socks?The early ‘90s were not a golden era for glasses.1997: Daria in DariaImage via Fan TVDaria isn’t an Urkel-style nerd—she doesn’t even have one catchphrase, let alone Urkel’s three—but her perfectly round glasses are a signal that she doesn’t quite fit in at cartoon-world high school. Her humor’s a little too deadpan to be a success, or even be heard, at a football game.1999: Laney in She’s All ThatImage via Hello GigglesLaney’s square, possibly ombre frames marked her as an artsy girl. (So did her penchant for making art.) The glasses didn’t make her ineligible for love, and the cool kids semi-accepted her as she was, but she did get a makeover that necessitated contacts before Zack really fell for her.2007: Kanye West in "Stronger"Image via YouTubeKanye’s shutter shades were practical compared to his eyeless Yeezus masks, and what’s more, they turned glasses into party wear. Maybe these are more sunglasses than glasses-glasses, but chunky plastic frames are still going strong in all styles of eyewear today.2008: Taylor Swift in “You Belong With Me”Image via YouTubeTaylor’s glasses are comically oversized in this video, and she piled the nerd signifiers on thick—she has frizzy hair, and she plays clarinet in band. This was a weird backsliding-to-the-Urkel-days moment for glasses.2011: Jess in New GirlImage via Small FryJess can be “adorkable,” but she’s totally in control of how she looks, hence fun-yet-tasteful work outfits like this one. That aesthetic makes Jess’s rounded, rectangular glasses purposeful accessorizing, unlike Urkel’s. She has a bunch of pairs, and treats glasses like shoes.2014: FKA Twigs in "#throughglass"Image via VogueFKA Twigs directed and starred in this Google Glass concept film, which casts glasses as cool accessories right up there with septum piercings and corset tops. They still have artsy connotations, like in She’s All That—she’s wearing them during a modern dance performance, after all—but she’s using them as a tool for creating art, not just for seeing it. Urkel would be proud. See more examples of trendy eyewear:A Glasses Boutique with a Cult FollowingFinally, Beard Oil and Designer Sunglasses Under One Roof
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