$1,000 LASIK Discount Washington DC
Myvision.org Home

Horn-Rimmed Glasses

Horn-rimmed glasses tend to be thicker and larger in size than other frames. They often feature additional elements on the glasses, such as metal hinges between the eyes, metal details on the outer corner, or extensions on the end piece.

Horn-rimmed glasses are a top choice for intellectuals, celebrities, and brand personalities. These glasses frames can make you appear fashionable, creative, intellectual, and unique. 

While horn-rimmed glasses were traditionally made of buffalo horn or tortoise shell, these glasses are commonly made from durable plastic today.

Psychologists find that glasses can help set how you are interpreted by others. Glasses can make you seem more fashion-conscious, clever, and trustworthy. If you’re looking to upgrade your style to highlight individuality, consider horn-rimmed glasses. 

Face Shapes That Look Good in Horn-Rimmed Glasses

Eyeglasses are part of personal expression, which is why people looking for a bold statement often choose horn-rimmed glasses. 

Horn-rimmed eyeglasses can soften certain features and draw attention away from other features. For example, the extended end pieces on horn-rimmed glasses may have a visual impact of widening the forehead. This can help to balance a narrow forehead. 

The bottom of the frames is often soft or rounded. This may help to soften facial features, such as a sharp jawline.

One of the best ways to find horn-rimmed glasses that work for your face is to experiment and play with different shapes.

Looking for the Best LASIK Near You?
Find a LASIK Surgeon

Real Horn

Real horn is rare and a highly sought-after item. It is a much lighter weight than acetate frames and tends to be more durable. Real horn is individually distinctive because it is a natural material, and each horn is distinctly different in color and variations. 

If you are shopping for frames made from real horn, expect to pay a lot more for the top quality, craftsmanship, and rarity. Buffalo horn glasses are considered an investment item.

Best Men’s Horn-Rimmed Glasses

According to Psychology Today, men wearing glasses are perceived as less threatening. People who wear full-rimmed glasses command attention and are often seen as more distinctive

These are two popular styles for man-made horn-rim glasses for men:

  • Ames Whiskey Tortoise with Riesling: These are made from hand-crafted cellulose. The bold browline complements a wide or broad face and is available in wide widths. 
  • Durand Whiskey Tortoise: These glasses strike a powerful balance between round and square. Their deep, rich-colored frame is made from cellulose acetate and hand-polished for impact. It is available in various widths and perfect for adapting to various face shapes.

Best Women’s Horn-Rimmed Glasses

Here are some popular styles of horn-rimmed glasses for women:

  • Hughes: The relaxed shape of these frames is squared off. They are available in a variety of widths to suit your face.
  • Kimball Marzipan Tortoise: These glasses are made of smooth cellulose acetate. The screws are coated with akulon for long-lasting durability. These favorites are charming on faces of all shapes and widths.
  • Aubrey Marzipan Tortoise: These popular frames are available in narrow and wide widths. 

History of Horn-Rimmed Glasses

Horn-rimmed glasses were originally made in the 1800s in Europe. As the frames were crafted from real tortoiseshell, they were quite expensive. 

A famous silent comedian, Harold Lloyd popularized horn-rimmed glasses in Over the Fence, a 1917 movie. Lloyd became known for his black horn rims, and his iconic look inspired a fashion trend for young Americans. Horn-rimmed glasses were trendy fashion eyewear from the 1920s on. 

In the 1940s and 1950s, a blended look called browline glasses took off. This type of eyeglass combines horn rims over the brows with metal frames. This distinctive look was favored by celebrities and fashion icons.

In the 1950s, musician Buddy Holly made horn rims part of his unique style. This popular trend stayed in fashion through the 1950s and into the early 1970s. In 1952, Ray-Ban introduced the popular style of Wayfarer sunglasses.

Horn-rimmed glasses fell out of popularity until the 1980s when the round horn-rimmed style returned in force. Many musicians, celebrities, and artists wore horn rims into the mid-90s.

Horn rims are a favorite among people who self-identify as hipsters. Hipsters started wearing horn-rimmed glasses again for their cool look and individualistic statement. 

Places to Buy Horn-Rimmed Glasses

You can find horn-rimmed glasses at a variety of retailers at a range of price points. Here are some options:

  • Warby Parker: Warby Parker makes it easy to try different frames in the comfort of your home. You can shop online or pick five different pairs to try on for free. Warby Parker offers horn-rimmed glasses as well as other styles, with free shipping and no-cost returns. 
  • Penn Avenue Eyewear: Choose from a stunning selection of quality eyewear at this site. Horn-rimmed glasses include the Buffalo Horn collection, acetate collection, and Italian collection. You can order five frames to preview at home. 
  • Rigards: Artisans at Rigards carefully create hand-made glasses crafted from natural horns. As natural horn eyewear requires special care, each pair comes with a specially formulated care balm and instructions for protecting your handmade frames. 
  • Lunor: Lunor offers genuine horn glasses made with a dedication to craftsmanship. Master artisans work with real horn to add distinctive individuality to each pair of glasses. 
  • TD Tom Davies: TD offers specialized frames through a select group of opticians. You can get the specific frames you love here. 
  • Frames Direct: Frames direct offers horn-rimmed glasses for men and women. Browse their selection and enjoy free shipping and a friendly return policy. You may find designer discounts on classic and modern silhouettes.
  • Designer Optics: Get horn-rimmed glasses that set you apart from the crowd at this retailer. With a blend of hipster flair and intellectual poise, you can enjoy eyeglass frames that express your individuality.
  • Liingo: Looking for horn-rimmed glasses? Liingo makes it easy to find a frame you love. Use a selfie to find your frame, select your size, and try out different looks.
  • Amazon: Explore Amazon for horned-rim glasses in a wide variety of styles, prices, and materials.
  • EyeBuyDirect: Horn-rimmed glasses are among the most popular styles at EyeBuyDirect to accentuate the faces of creative professionals. 

Horn-Rimmed Glasses FAQs

Why are they called horn-rimmed glasses?

Horn-rimmed glasses were originally made out of natural materials, such as animal horns, ivory, or tortoise shell. Today, they are typically made out of thick plastics with variegated coloring.

When were horn-rimmed glasses invented?

Horn-rimmed glasses were invented in the 1800s. 

What are hipster glasses called?

Hipster glasses are often in a square oversized style, made popular by Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They come in different styles, including round, square, vintage, cat-eye, and horn-rimmed. Movie stars and celebrities that popularized the hipster-style of glasses include Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly.


  1. Learn the Nine Essential Parts of Eyeglasses. (November 2017). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  2. Eyeglasses. New World Encyclopedia.

  3. 6 Messages Your Glasses May Be Sending People. (February 2016). Psychology Today.

  4. The Hidden Psychology of Wearing Glasses. (June 2017). Pacific Standard Magazine.

  5. Frame Selection Guide. Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester Medicine.

  6. How Wearing Glasses Impacts Your Success, According to Science. INC.

  7. Horn-Rimmed Glasses – 8 Reasons for Glasses Made From Real Buffalo Horn (April 2021). Luniversum.

  8. The History of Horn Rimmed Glasses. (May 2010). Firmoo.

  9. Buddy Holly Glasses Were Found In Iowa 21 Years After His Death. History Daily.

Last Updated November 1, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.

Not sure if you’re a LASIK candidate?
30 Second Quiz