The uptilted eyerim style became so popular among women during the 1950s and 1960s that many prescription cat eye glasses were also made, besides the glamorous (and protective) sunglasses of this style, and those which were worn with clear lenses purely for fashionable or aesthetic reasons. Prescription cat eye glasses were sometimes relatively plain, but at other times they were just as chic and gracious as their purely stylistic kindred.
Cat eye glasses of all kinds, in addition to prescription cat eyeglasses, were often manufactured with decoration on the “brows” which extended to the temples as well, creating a wraparound display of the designer’s artistry to further decorate a fair and winsome face. These sculptural creations still have a fresh, airy, almost ethereal look in some of the best examples, despite the passage of half a century and the use of such seemingly unromantic materials as Zylonite.
Extending the decoration onto the temples created an aesthetic effect on prescription cat eye glasses (and non-prescription ones as well) that was visible from practically any angle except directly behind the wearer. Therefore, these vintage cat eye glasses convey a message of glamor and chic to nearly all observers.
Brows and bands – complementary features of prescription cat eye glasses
Brows have already been described in a previous article, but what was not mentioned is that matching strips of decoration, known as “bands” are often attached to otherwise plain, smooth temples to dress them up further. These usually match the color, material, and patterns of the associated brows that appear on the same pair of eyeglasses.
Metal bands riveted into place with miniscule rivets, and sometimes decorated with enameled colors on some of the details (such as a flowers or leaves that appear in raised relief), are fitted to some temples. In other cases, bands of colored Zyl are laminated onto the temples to complement the Zyl laminate brows that appear on the piece. The band area can also be used for metal appliques that echo similar “findings” anchored to the front surfaces of the frames.
Sculptural temples to match elaborate eyerim sculpting
The more elaborate pairs of prescription cat eye glasses featured sculpted temples, which could be manufactured thanks primarily to the highly sophisticated plastic molding techniques developed during the mid twentieth century.
A similar effect might have been partly achievable in former centuries if a highly skilled artisan had made openwork temples out of finely drawn wire, but of course, eyeglasses were viewed with contempt at the time and no skilled artist would have wasted their efforts on embellishing what was considered an emblem of loathsome personal weakness.
The temples of these prescription cat eye glasses are sometimes given elaborate, fantastic shapes, and even made as openwork – whorls of slender plastic strands flowing around each other to form airy filigrees of transparent material that almost resemble
In a few rare and extremely eye-catching instances, the demands of fashion trumped practicality, and temples were mounted at highly unusual angles on prescription cat eye glasses and others. These glasses were usually quite sculptural already, and to match up with the rest of the ensemble, the temples were mounted at the bottom of the eyerims on the outer side, rather than at the top.
An arched section then sprang upwards to pass above the ear and hold the glasses in place. Though slightly impractical, these bold designs are still refreshing and imaginative, and make a superb piece for a collector or wearer of vintage cat eye glasses with an eye for the individualistic.