The Return of the Aviator

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Featured Frames (above) by Reykjavik Eyes

There can be no doubt that aviator glasses are well and truly back in fashion. Originally invented for pilots (hence the name), they were hugely popular in the 70’s and 80’s… and 30 years on, here they are again. Top brands like Chloe’, Jimmy Choo, Lacoste and Police are bringing out aviator frames as their signature pieces.

In this blog, we’re going to look at the reasons why they are now ‘on trend’, as well as the many variations that exist within the aviator style.  We’re not looking at aviator sunglasses, those are a totally different proposition to these frames, which are worn with a clear lens. If you’re looking to read more about aviator sunglasses, check out my previous blog about the best aviator sunglasses of all time.

And while you’re here, we really recommend this page all about aviator frames:

What has changed in 2018??

Frame by Jimmy Choo

Over the last 10 years, there’s been a definite, clear trend towards bolder, thicker frames. And in the last few years, the ‘in’ shape has generally been round.

But the best way to stand out is to be different, and so we’ve seen some of the biggest brands in eyewear attempting to do that earlier in 2018 (click here to see our report from the Milan eyewear show back in March) by going away from plastic frames and back to metal.

We’ve also been seeing since last year the re-introduction of the ‘brow bar’ – an extra piece which runs across the top of a pair of glasses, surplus to the regular bridge.

Frame by JF Rey with red accented brow bar

Combine those two ingredients of a metal frame and a brow bar and you have the recipe for an aviator. But even within the confines of the ‘aviator’ style, there are many variations. Let’s take a look.

The 3 Types of Aviator

#1 – Square

The Square aviator tends to fit wider than the face in the cheek area. It is usually worn oversized, but not necessarily, and can often be more of a feminine style as in the Jimmy Choo version pictured earlier in this blog.

Frame by Allied Metal Works

The example above is a unisex frame in gold, a colour which is making a big comeback in eyewear – it’s actually the most in-fashion colour right now, in part because of how well it works with the aviator style.  It’s not surprising to see such an on-trend frame coming from Allied Metal Works, a range designed by one of the best eyewear designers in the world right now (Patty Perreira, who has also designed for Paul Smith, Prada and Oliver Peoples).

However, you could tone it down by going for a more subtle colour, as shown below:

Frame by Eco Eyewear

Eco Eyewear is an environmentally-friendly range of glasses from an established designer called MODO. I’m a big fan of both MODO and Eco. The model shown comes in gold, silver, gold with a black lens rim and silver with a navy blue lens rim (pictured). I think having a contrasting lens rim gives a bit more interest to a frame, and having the frame less metallic overall makes it easier to wear if you aren’t used to something shiny.

Frame by Hugo Boss

I should also mention this example from Hugo Boss (worn by Henry Cavill, Superman), which is a square aviator, although far more narrow than usual. Despite being small compared to current trends, on the right face it can look really cool. Hugo Boss are not exactly the most adventurous designer, so you know if they put their name to a style, it’s probably a safe choice. Hopefully that gives you a bit of confidence in making the step to wearing an aviator.

#2 – Teardrop

This is the original and most classic shape of the aviator, but is maybe the most difficult to wear with clear lenses as the pointy bottom half of the frame is quite distinctive. However, with a little confidence it can look really cool. Generally speaking, this tends to work better on a man.

Frames by Police

Having said that, Chloe’ do a slightly smaller teardrop aviator in gold which has been one of our most popular frames in recent months. So it’s certainly not the case that this style is only for men.

Frames by Alium

The frame above is the most state-of-the-art aviator on the market. It’s from a range called Alium Lab by Face a Face and is created using 3D Printing. It is a very bold look, yet the frame weighs less than a thin metal one would. The fact that a style like the aviator is being created using such modern means shows just how on-trend and in-demand it is.

#3 – Round

Last but not least, we have the most modern form of aviator. This is ideal for anyone with a smaller face who doesn’t want the oversized look where the frame protrudes outside the border of the face. Because round has been the ‘in’ shape for a number of years now, this poses the least contrast to recent fashions, and an easy transition if you have already had round frames (the only difference really is the brow bar).

Frame by Carrera – worn by Jared Leto

I currently wear a round aviator and love this look. As with all of the aviator styles you can pull it off with a thicker or thinner rim. If you like to make a statement, choose a heavier frame.

A round aviator is a completely unisex look. It can look really good on a man or lady, as you can see from the pictures above and below:

Frame by J F Rey

The above frames are a new release this year and were immediately incredibly popular, so confident people have definitely been embracing the return of aviators. It’s a shame that we in the UK are usually a year or two behind the rest of Europe, but it has been great to see us adopting the aviator quite quickly.

Can you wear an aviator?

Frame by Carrera – worn by Justin Beiber

There have been many different models photographed in this blog; they all have different face shapes and features. It’s absolutely not a case of having the ‘right’ face for an aviator; it’s about finding the right aviator for you. That’s if it’s the look you want to go for, but if you want to be as fashionable as possible, it’s probably the way to go. We can help you choose the perfect new pair of glasses. Book an appointment for a styling consultation today by calling us on 01772 312213.


More To Explore

Read Our Reviews

The Spectacle Factory is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 20 review(s).


The Spectacle Factory was recommended to me by a friend and my experience from my initial eye test to taking delivery of my new glasses was first class throughout. The attention I received from James during my eye examination was both extremely thorough and professional. He worked patiently and diligently to fine tune my prescription. Robert's involvement in choosing my new frames and lenses was brilliant. At no time did I feel under pressure into making quick decisions regarding the choices made available to me. His expert knowledge and enthusiasm was very reassuring at all times. Having experienced several years of eye discomfort, I am now overjoyed with the difference that the team at The Spectacle Factory have made to my vision. Many Thanks.

- Mr Michael Mortimer


I brought my daughters in recently for their first eye tests and I was so impressed with how patient and thorough all the staff were with us. Trying to get a four year old to sit still enough for the scans was very difficult but Ben tried his best and didn’t seem to let it phase him. Claire was wonderful during the eye test itself, employing my 6 year old to be her assistant and making it fun for them both. Not being a glasses wearer myself, I was quite overwhelmed when I was told my 6 year old needed glasses, but Robert helped me to understand what her prescription meant and made sure that her beautiful new glasses fit her just right! Thank you so much to everyone at SF!

- Emma Venn


Picked my Reykjavik Eyes glasses up Thursday . Robert and his team are outstanding . I am a nervous customer due to bad experiences when I was young . They made the whole experience special and made me at ease throughout both visits . Robert is brilliant regarding frames to suit you no pressure just brilliant support and help . I would wholeheartedly recommend The Spectacle Factory to everyone. Thanks a million everyone.

- Alison Wood


Five stars without any hesitation. I immediately felt at ease and the atmosphere was very welcoming. The service was prompt and efficient. I felt the examination was very thorough and any questions I had were clearly answered. When it came to choosing my frames and what my prescription involved the options available to me were fully outlined. I didn’t feel under any pressure and I felt in charge of the transaction. From entering to leaving it was a lovely experience. I was a little hesitant in the current situation, but my fears were soon allayed as every precaution was taken to minimise the risks. Superior to any high street optician. Excellent all round! EH

- Elizabeth Horsfield


Living some 300 miles from The Spectacle Factory visiting was not an option for me, however, after checking all the reviews I decided not only to buy my J.F. Rey frames (seen on an online video by Robert) but also have my Zeiss smart life progressive lenses made by them. I had no worries. After taking advice from Robert the measurements required for the lenses were done locally at a nominal cost. I am now the proud owner of a pair of handmade 'wow' glasses and a very happy new customer. Use them with confidence. The customer service is truely outstanding.

- Alan Astin


Well they you pay for what you get. It’s definitely true of The Spectacle Factory. There customer service is the best I have experienced anywhere. I was not rushed with any decision and I was made to feel like I was there most important customer. What I paid was an eye watering amount but I got smartlife ziess lenses and frames that are very comfortable. I now also have very clear vision when reading. I thought it was not clear due to lighting in modern offices and homes. Wrong it was bad lenses and persecution not being quite right. Thank you for sorting it all out at the first attempt.

- Heath Christy


ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT I have been using the Spectacle Factory for a long time, but the latest visit was the best BY FAR..... I desperately needed an eye test, and was fitted in quickly. James, the optician, was excellent , as usual. 4 members of staff were outstanding in the service I received. Robert, Ben and Emma were absolutely perfect.....and Ruth, the manager was excellent, as she always is. The best visit by far...I cannot rate this place higher !!!

- K Rhys


Welcomed by and dealt with Robert during the whole process of choosing through to final fitting. Great service, great range of glasses, really helpful and informative. I would highly recommend

- Jenny T


After reading all the positive reviews I decided that a 40 minute drive would be worth it to try and get a new prescription and frames- I wear my glasses all day so need to get this right. I was so impressed with everyone’s desire to be helpful and make sure I was happy at every part of my visit. I wasn’t the quickest at choosing new frames but never felt rushed by Robert. He listened and gave helpful advice as we worked through choosing the frames and lenses I needed. They have a huge range of frames which meant I ended up with a pair I was really happy with. I actually chose a pair of prescription sunglasses as well, which I have been meaning to do for years. I loved the combination of cutting edge technology and personalised service. It’s so nice to see a team that places such a priority on customer satisfaction - they certainly deserve 5 stars.

- S McReynolds


Fantastic service! I attended the spectacle factory over a year ago for an eye test. They were amazing, and so patient with me! My Polaroid frame broke recently, so in desperate need called the spectacle factory to order a replacement frame. They were so efficient and helpful. Also my frames were covered under warranty and I didn’t have to pay a penny. AMAZING. Couldn’t recommend them anymore!

- Rebecca F


Friendly service, thanks to Robert who took the time and care to ensure that I was happy with my new glasses. I would definitely recommend.

- Paul Wellman


Visited the Spectacle Factory a couple of weeks ago for the first time. James did my eye test and was very thorough and informative. Chose a pair of glasses afterwards with the help of another member of staff. Great customer service. I have always gone to high street opticians before and never sure what glasses suit me. I was allowed to take my time and offered helpful advice. Love my new glasses which I picked up with the week. I will be returning to the Spectacle factory in the future. Far superior in terms of quality and customer service compared to other opticians I have been too.

- J B


My wife and I both have great glasses (and sunglasses) from The Spectacle Factory. Right from our very first visit we have been very impressed with the highest level of care and attention to detail, both with eye tests and the choice of lenses and frames. They seem to have a flair for helping you to choose the right glasses. Once your order is ready, nothing is too much trouble to ensure that the fit and the suitability of your glasses is perfect for your needs and that you are completely happy. Their ongoing service is second to none. We can highly recommend The Spectacle Factory..

- Geoff Gosling


Came in today for help with some frames, repaired no questions asked, there and then on the spot Brilliant service

- Alex


All the staff are so helpful and switched on to all your requirements I would recommend them all day what a good experience

- Roy gardiner


The Spectacle Factory offer me the kind of customer service and ability to customise my choice of spectacles that just is simply not available on the High Street. From Initial contact, to delivery of the finished product, you are treated like a loyal friend. Nothing is too much trouble. Unbiased advise, on choosing the correct spectacles for your particular application. A vast range of frames from the very cheapest to the latest designer frames. I choose the Spectacle Factory, because they can provide me with, customised glasses, to align with my particular needs and requirements. Most high street opticians have a 'one size fits all' attitude. The Spectacle Factory does not subscribe to this theory and treats every client as an individual. Their eye sight is very comprehensive and is 50% longer than the industry standard. If you value your eyesight, and want the very best care, this is the place to visit.

- Paul van de Rooy


Rob and the team were excellent help with the professionalism and advise . I will become a faithful member of the spectacle factory!! Thanks again team

- Dan Amin



- James


Excellent advice with a fantastic product range,

- Thomas Sayer


Highly recommend The Spectacle Factory - excellent service will definitely be using again.

- Hattie

Call Now Button

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Please complete the information below to subscribe to our occasional newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Request your FREE eBook

Send me a FREE copy of ‘How to choose the perfect glasses’