A look that was once considered severely dweebish has suddenly become the silhouette in eyewear, but who would have thought that Adam Sandler—someone who is not typically recognized for his sartorial prowess in neither on screen nor off—would be at the helm of such a craze? Yet, the star of Uncut Gems, is suddenly at the forefront of the un-rimmed lenses moment that has also been favored by Lil Nas X and Bella Hadid.
The general trendline of late-2010’s glasses went a little something like this: as the decade waned on, the sunglasses we saw perched upon the visages of our favorite celebrities not only got smaller and smaller, but also more retro. For the majority of 2018, the trend of wearing tiny, ’90s style sunglasses remained popular, and even when labels attempted to reverse the fad by pushing oversized sunnies on the runway, those little Matrix-esque lenses, once considered the provenance of Sci-Fi geeks, prevailed (much to Kanye West’s personal delight).
So it only makes sense that the trend has evolved, slightly, towards the preferred geek eyewear of the early ’00s: two teeny tiny rectangular rimless lenses—the skinnier the better—held together by a thin metal bridge. You may remember them best on the painfully unhip character of Steve in Sex and the City or the kid from middle school who got glasses for the first time whose mom wouldn’t let him pick out his own frame. Though, if we look back to the time period, we do find a few examples of their chic possibility.
The L Word‘s mid-aughts inspired fashion choices were pretty cringeworthy for the most part—with the exception of Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) who is ostensibly the most stylish of the main crew of characters the series focused on (her signature power suits could be described as timeless, and this year’s The L Word: Generation Q reboot proves this to be true).
But some credit must be given to Shane McCutcheon, the lesbian lothario played by Katherine Moennig, for giving us at least one fashion moment that we can resurrect and put in conversation with today’s trend of skinny eyewear. In her early days, it was Shane’s tiny frames (in addition to her shag haircut, which has remained a signature look for the character) that defined her mid-aughts aesthetic.
More than a decade after Shane’s debut, Sandler has entered the chat. This year he stars as Howard Ratner, a Diamond District jeweler with a gambling addiction, in the Safdie Brothers’s Uncut Gems. Sandler is receiving plenty of Oscar buzz for his performance as Howie in this truly chaotic and frenzied film, but he’s also the subject of sartorial scrutiny (in a good way).
There are so many memorable aspects of this performance—such as Howard Ratner’s grating vocal intonations, and the jewels he sells (especially a dazzling, diamond-encrusted Furby shown momentarily in the trailer—but Howard’s style sticks with you long after the credits of the film have rolled. The images of this man in his leather trench coat, his designer collared shirts with the tags still on them, his pinkie rings are all easily seared into the brain, and examining his eyeglasses are especially essential for the understanding the look of this character who consistently bites off more than he can chew. The transition lenses Sandler wears are part and parcel of Cartier drill-mount frames, which are very much on trend. (It should also be noted that while Uncut Gems is set in 2012 to accommodate a key plot device that involves some NBA games played by Celtics baller Kevin Garnett, who plays himself in the film, it was filmed in 2018, the same year the tiny sunglasses trend really took off.)
There’s also Lil Nas X—an arbiter of trends when it comes to Generation-Z—who has adopted the rimless trend as part of his wardrobe as well.
Now, Bella Hadid has announced that she designed a collection of rimless sunglasses with various tints (appropriately called “Hellz Bellz”) for Chrome Hearts.
And with just a few weeks left in the decade, we can still safely say that if a Hadid gets involved in a trend, then you know it’s a moment to be widely discussed.