Vintage Eyewear

Actress Carol Lombard in Vintage Sunglasses

Vintage Eyewear: Everything That Was Old Is New Again

At Urban Optiques, we love eyewear.

And there is no eyewear that we love more than a great pair of vintage sunglasses, eyeglasses or antique spectacles.  As vintage eyewear collectors ourselves (Dr. Michelle has a private collection of vintage sunglasses and cat's eye glasses) we've amassed a small cache of vintage eyewear over the years at Urban Optiques.

From cat's eye frames, to antique jeweled French designs, to 1950s Atomic Age sunglasses or 70s disco shades, vintage eyewear is perfect for the person who wants something truly unique, rare and authentic in a sunglass or eyeglass frame.

We both sell and buy vintage eyewear, so if you are cleaning out Aunt Ethel's wardrobe and find a stash of 1940s Cat's eye frames, we might be able to take them off your hands.  If you have vintage stock that you think might of interest to us, send us an email at or just bring it into the store for a look.

Vintage 1950s

Why Vintage Eyewear?

As any student of fashion knows, great designers don't invent, they "steal."

The fashion industry (and all design-related industries, really) are constantly recycling past designs and using them to inspire new, contemporary versions of the originals.  What's "retro" is simply a revival of some other era's contemporary design.

Fashion yewear is no different.

Ironically, many of the new frames that we sell at Urban Qptiques have strong design roots in other eras. For example, many of our Lafonts pay subtle homage to the cat's eye glasses of the 1940s and '50s, while the recent Ray Ban Wayfarer revival is making the iconic '80s sunglass way hot again. There's a reason people go back to classic designs: they were good.

One of the fabulous things about vintage eyewear is that when you find a killer frame or sunglass, you can be assured that very few people will have that same frame. While eyewear has always had a small collector's market --  plenty of vintage eyewear over the years has sadly found it's way into landfills. That means there is a built in rarity to many vintage frames.

Grace Kelly in White Sunglasses (now vintage)

So people who love wearing their individuality right on their face, and crave something truly unique and memorable are among the best candidates for a vintage frame. There are some challenges to vintage frames -- they aren't warranteed (althought the lenses will be) and repair parts can sometimes be hard to come by, but many people find the rewards of a vintage eyeglass or sunglass outweigh the risks.

Vintage eyewear is also great for evoking a certain era or period look and can be a great accessory. For example, the 50s inspired pencil skirts that are currently en vogue look fantastic with a pair of genuine vintage horned-rimmed glasses.  While there are certainly new-stock styles available that mimic this look, they never can capture the authenticity of an original vintage piece. Even people who don't know much about vintage eyewear will recognize it as an original -- not because it's old or worn out, but because it is an original.

Vintage Eyewear is Green and Recycled!

Vintage Eyewear is Green!

Finally, for environmentally-minded clients, vintage eyewear is an excellent "green" choice. By purchasing vintage eyewear, you're reducing the need to manufacture new frames -- many of which produce chemicals and waste during the production of the plastics, acetates and metals used for their construction. Vintage eyewear is sustainable, especially if the frame is passed on multiple times.

About Urban Optiques

Urban Optiques provides vision care, eye exams & exclusive designer eyewear to Northville, Plymouth, Novi, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Farmington, West Bloomfield, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Birmingham, & Metro-Detroit.

Contact Us

Northville Square Mall
133 W. Main St. - Suite 243
Northville, MI - 48167

Tel: 248.347.9090 Fax: 248.773.7528