I used to wear eye contacts everyday. Sometime after college, my dry-eye condition worsened and it became apparent that I’d spend the majority of my days behind glasses. Boo hoo.
Since then, I’ve been on the quest to build a great wardrobe of eye glasses. I love vintage and classic designs, and despite some outcries, I enjoy the current trends of big/dark framed/square/nerdy glasses. To me, trends mean easier access to the styles I prefer.
I earmark eyeglass descriptions like thick-black-framed, horn-rimmed, tortoise shell and the ubiquitous Wayfayerl, but I think this is the perfect frame:
The Browline. AKA the G-Man, the “Malcolm X”, the Clubman.
Shuron Ltd. is the most popular manufacturer of this style, with its models Ronsir ZYL, Ronsir Timberline, and Ronsir Revelation – the latter is an update of the larger-lens original. I found that most online vintage eyewear vendors carry Shuron Ronsirs, either as vintage pieces or as remakes. I know that Ray-Ban currently has the Clubmaster, a sunglass rendition with a similar shape, but I really prefer the Browline as an optical eyeglass pair.
The Browline style first appeared in the mid-1950s, and became the staple style until the late 1960s or so.
Current perception marks the Browline style as a men’s style, but I’ve heard different recollections. Some friends and family members who were around in the 50s and 60s remember the Browline as a unisex style. I found modified, decorated Browline styles sold as women’s selections:
How whimsical! Pastel-colored! Feminine! Pretty neat, but this variation is not for me. Embellishments are best left on my clothing, not my frames. The right kind of girl can pull of Librarian-silver frames-with-flower-engravings, and I just ain’t that girl.
The darker-colored Browline frames are just so staid, bold and classic – truly, the perfect black suit of optical eye wear. I dare to wear a “men’s style”! Even though they probably were/are unisex!
I truly covet a pair of Ronsirs in its classic colorway – black plastic browline with gold metal wire bottoms. Maybe silver wire. Choices! OR, perhaps my first pair would be Ronsir Revelations in an all-black colorway:
Choices! Choices, I tell you. After that initial purchase is satiated, I would get these Ronsir Timberlines in Chestnut:
Lovely. Mixing my two favorites: tortoise-y materials and the Browline. Perfect.
I wish I had the face to pull off this all-white pair:
I have all-black hair and eyes and I’m always tanned, so the color contrast might be too severe. White is an unexpected choice in the browline style. Shuron is the best – they have the most colorways and material combinations available. T
What’s silly is that I have two pairs of black plastic “fades” that are very similar to the Browline. One pair is cut exactly the same as Ronsir ZYLs, but is all-plastic in construction. The top half of the frame is black, and the color fades to a clear plastic bottom frame. The other pair is cut like a Wayfayer, all-plastic framed, and also has a black-to-clear fade. I love them. I got them at the best vintage eyeglass store in the eastside – Old Focals (website is still undeveloped, it’s best to go there in person). Maybe I’ll post photos of these two pairs later…
(photos, L to R. Top: Malcolm X, Tom Hanks in Catch Me If You Can, Kevin Costner in JFK. Bottom: Chloe Sevigny, Matt Damon in The Good Shephard, Michel Foucault.)