Hipster hangover or hot trend? Whatever your opinion, geek glasses have returned to the catwalk with a nerdy vengeance. Fashionable geek glasses have been appearing on the catwalk ever since the Ashish spring/summer 2013 show, which had a geek chic theme that perfectly demonstrated why being a fashion nerd is cool. From Victoria Beckham to Ryan Gosling, fashionable celebrities all over the world have wholeheartedly embraced making a spectacle of themselves.
Geek glasses played a big part in the Ashish spring/summer 2013 catwalk show, which featured models in oversized jumpers layered over crisp white shirts – all topped off with vintage-inspired gold-rimmed spectacles and messy up-all-night-reading buns.
Also in 2013, Google Glass devices – perhaps the ultimate in the nerd glasses trend – were used as accessories on the models in Diane von Furstenberg's New York Fashion Week show. The following year, von Furstenberg collaborated with the tech giant to release a selection of limited edition DVF Google Glass designs.
However, following a less-than-enthusiastic reception, the entire Google Glass project was sent back to the drawing board in early 2015. Although they may be less technologically advanced than Google's output, good old-fashioned geek glasses look set to stay – whatever your style tribe.
Tribe 1: Intellectual
The notion of geek chic never disappeared, but nerd glasses have been reinvented for 2016 in a fresh geek glasses trend that recalls a distinctly secretarial aesthetic. Think DSquared2’s autumn/winter 2015 collection – thick black-rimmed specs were teamed with sleek ponytails, understated make-up and simply cut silhouettes in soft greys and monochromes.
Men should look to Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Joseph Gordon Levitt, who all manage to combine thick specs with laid back smart-casual wear for just-out of-a-lecture appeal. Michael Kors' spring/summer 2017 collection also invoked the geek glasses trend, with male models in oversized suit trousers and jumpers wearing square, heavily black-rimmed frames.
Tribe 2: 70s boho
The 70s boho look is the latest incarnation of the geek glasses trend. Models at Gucci's spring/summer 2016 show wore bright embroidery and groovy long hair with right-on wire-rimmed designs. While advocates of chunky, dark frames might take a preppier approach to style, the 70s tribe are more likely to be seen sporting paisley prints and layers of floating sheer fabrics. These wire-rimmed versions of the nerd glasses trend have been worn and shared on Instagram by fashion favourites including Kendall Jenner.
For men, the boho look is best embodied by Johnny Depp: artfully shaggy hair, plenty of silver rings and a significant collection of round tortoiseshell frames. The Burberry spring/summer 2015 catwalk got in on the bohemian action too, decking its models out in specs, velvet blazers, extrovert prints on shirts and trousers and ever-so-slightly unkempt hair.
Tribe 3: Romantic and twee
As well as its nod to boho style, Gucci’s spring/summer 2016 show also featured models in granny-inspired combinations of prints, patterns and colours – all in prim silhouettes, with no shortage of pencil skirts, pleats and ruffled collars. Eye-catching square nerd glasses with gold embellishments added the perfect finishing touch to an aesthetic of old-school ladylike glamour.
Gucci autumn/winter 2015 was also heavily accessorised with glasses, to both androgynous and eccentric effect. From oversized round frames to elegant cat's eyes, the spectacles perfectly offset the label's fitted trench coats and cosy beanie hats.
Spring/summer 2016 at Vivetta featured prim collars, pastel shades and twee floral prints. Rather than going for Napoleon Dynamite-style wire rims, the fashion house channelled a 60s vibe and opted for cat's eye glasses and distinctive thick frames. Anna Sui’s spring/summer 2016 sunglasses were crafted into similarly romantic shapes, but with added embroidered and embellished elements – ideal for fans of the geek glasses trend when the sun's shining.
In its autumn/winter 2015 collection, Max Mara used the wing-tipped shape to subtle effect, creating geek glasses in a soft and versatile tortoiseshell colour.
Tribe 4: The urban geek
The urban nerd favours geek glasses with clear or slightly coloured acetate frames, matched with oversized hoodies and other relaxed streetwear pieces. Max Mara's autumn/winter 2015 collection featured models with beach-tousled hair and silky bomber jackets, with clear plastic rims adding a fashionably nerdy finish to their understated urban look.
David Beckham serves as inspiration for male urban geeks, teaming his translucent square nerd glasses with tattoos, jeans and an off-duty beanie.
The particular appeal of geek glasses has come a long way since the days of purely intellectual connotations. With designers using nerd glasses in numerous different collections with wildly varying aesthetics, it certainly seems that this versatile accessory is here to stay.