The glasses chains have made a resurgence in fashion today. No longer is it unsavoury to see glasses held close by a chain, nor do you look like your elderly relative forever losing their readers. Today glasses chains are quite the "It" accessory. Worn traditionally behind the neck or in front like a necklace, made from delicate gold chains or bulky acrylic, glasses chains have made a comeback in a big way.
You may think that your grandparents were the first to wear glasses chains or cords, but the history goes back much further. The opera glasses or lorgnettes would be the first to be seen on a chain. Historically, men would be the primary wearers of glasses until the lorgnette was created and female interest in glasses grew.
Eventually these became very popular in society and they were no longer just a vision aide, but a piece of fashion. In 1893, C. Willet Cunnington, a fashion historian, declared “nearly every smartly dressed woman wears a lorgnette.” The lorgnette gained such popularity, it was proper to have your lorgnette on your person. However, the lorgnette got smaller with the creation of the folding lorgnette and became easily misplaced.
Enter the chain. Putting your lorgnette on a chain, a brooch attached to your neckline, or a clip attached to your lapel became the new normal in the 19th and 20th centuries.
A practical device became a fashion accessory, then became a practical device for our parents and grandparents. It is now a fashion accessory today. The Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2017 runway was the first to bring back the chains. The bold green suede chain seen in 2016 was too progressive for us then but it’s now the go-to summer accessory for your sunglasses.
Gone are the days of misplacing your favourite shades or putting them on your head and getting the nose pads stuck in your hair. Gucci Spring/Summer 2020 was filled with big, chunky acrylic chains in very neutral colours that gave everyone cool summer vibes.
Wear it big, or small. Wear it in the front, or behind. Mix and match and layer these beautiful pieces to create a unique look.