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Viewing the World Through John Lennon Glasses

January 16, 1986

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round. I really love to watch them roll.--John Lennon

They can be described as round. Very round. The frames are small. Very small. But the easiest way to identify them is to say "John Lennon" glasses.

Once they were called granny glasses. But Lennon and the '60s changed all that. Now, those funny little frames are becoming popular again. Well, maybe not again. They've been around. Watching and waiting as styles came and went, rolling along in obscurity until a newer generation re-discovered them. (Of course, the hippies have never forgotten.)

"Sure we sell them. We always have," said Roy Siegel, manager of Aardvark's Odd Ark in Canoga Park. "Generally, the people who shop here are looking for cheap clothing that's different."

Although the second-hand store specializes in the unusual, Siegel did not seem to think the glasses were strange or out-of-date. Nor had he noticed a dramatic increase in sales. "They have always been a steady seller through the years, mostly with the '60s generation. Now they're popular with the kids under 21," he said.

The store carries a variety of Lennon sunglasses. Some are tinted in shades of green whereas others are black. Their cost? A whopping $5.

The fashion is not limited to the young or the faded-Levi's generation. In the last two years, they have become a popular item among all age groups for prescription glasses.

"I get requests all the time. They're just a very comfortable frame, " said Melanie Jones, an employee of For Eyes in Westwood.

Even though the new versions are lighter than their '60s counterparts and now have model names like "Devon" and "Prep," it's hard to break an old habit, said Jones.

"First they'll try describing the frame, but then they'll just say, 'you know, John Lennon glasses.' "

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