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.)


  1. sean marc lee

    I almost bought glasses just like this, but the optometrist more or less said… sorry son … you eyes are too bad. the weight of the lenses will not be held by the frames. fail.

  2. Jeff Sumner

    I bought a pair of the Ronsir. Love ’em. First glasses with plastic, and they could still do the round-top bifocal and “transition” (what I’d have gotten as “photogrey” just a few years ago in glass). Very comfortable lenses, and a very nice size for my face.

    Go for it. They are currently a style statement. They’ll be all over in just a few years, betcha.

  3. Larry

    For a prescription pair, see Zenni Optical, they recently came out with a browline (7320) that is really cheep. Rayban Clubmasters are pretty sexy too. I own a pair of both B-)

    • Pheobe

      went there looking for the 7320 model and couldnt find it can you point out how i should look for it. Thank you and sorry to have bothered you

      • msottovoce

        HMMM! If the direct Shuron website doesn’t have it, I would check out other vintage eyewear sites or local stores…sorry that’s not much of a lead, I think finding a good vintage pair is a bit of a dig.

  4. Beaugrand

    Go to ZenniOptical website. Order the 7336 in black (733621), enter prescription information, and in the comments ask to change the style to 732021. Very limited stock, black only, might be sold out already, and no indication if/when they will ever be offered again.

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