Teashade Glasses and Sunglasses

Published: 23rd May 2011
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We often get calls and requests for "John Lennon Style Glasses and Sunglasses", and although everybody knows what the term means, and certainly John Lennon (and at times Yoko Ono as well) popularized the iconic style of the round style glasses early in his career with the Beatles - the glasses and sunglasses themselves have actually been around for a long time.

The origin of the John Lennon style glasses can actually be traced back to the mid 1960's when they became popular - particularly as sunglasses - in order to mask the outward symptoms of drug use which often lead to bloodshot eyes or at other times when opiates were consumed the constriction of the pupil. They became known as "teashade" spectacles and were usually given some sort of tinted coating such as mirror sunglasses or very dark tinted prescription sunglasses.

For this reason it became quite common for the glasses to not actually be prescription glasses or prescription sunglasses, as their primary purpose was not to correct vision, but rather to prevent easy detection of drug consumption by police.

The basic form - if not the function - of the glasses became a standard for the teashades, being defined as completely round glasses supported on basic nosepads and the frame being wire. As described above, it was common for them to have a sunglass tinted coating, and this lens coating itself became a fashion symbol as they could be multi-coloured and in some cases even elaborately designed psychedelic artistic canvasses for the eyes.

John Lennon is clearly the best known of teashade style spectacles, although as the shape has evolved over time with larger lenses and exaggerated forms, other well know personalities such as Ozzy Osbourne have also adopted the glasses style as their own. Whether hoping to catch some of the style of John Lennon or just for aesthetic reasons, many of the popular entertainers in the last couple of decades became almost as well known as John Lennon for wearing this style of glasses, even if not needed for vision correction. Some of the best known examples would be Roger Daltrey, Liam Gallagher, Mick Jagger - and very recently even the pop star Lady Gaga has been known to sport a pair of John Lennon glasses in her publicity shots.

The teashade style of glasses and sunglasses however has not been limited to the music industry, as they have also been spotted in more contemporary and darker roles; the Matrix series of movies featured teashade sunglasses as worn by Seraph in the starring role and other movie examples abound.

The original John Lennon style of glasses and sunglasses are sold under licence from the John Lennon Estate, but many renditions are available today through opticians shops and online glasses stores. They have become increasingly popular in recent years and have enjoyed something of a resurgence with personalities outside of the music business wearing them on the red carpet and out and about - although of course not for their original intentions !

Even kids have been involved in the resurgence as this style of glasses became enormously popular after being worn by Harry Potter in the J.K Rowlings series of films of the same name.

Sometimes a good style of glasses becomes iconic, and this has certainly been the case with the teashade glasses after they have moved out of the subculture of the 1960's and into the mainstream again of the recent past. Perhaps not the most practical choice for everday spectacles, as they tend to have a limited lens area, but perfect for a casual pair of sunglasses to be worn as a second pair.


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Spex4less provide a wide range of spectacles, varifocal glasses and prescription reglaze of glasses online.John LennonGlasses also available from our online glasses store

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