Frame Fashion: Tortoiseshell

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If you’re shopping for frames, you’ve probably seen an assortment of “tortoise” or “tortoiseshell” styles and are familiar with its characteristic mottled multi-hue pattern. Wonder where the name comes from? Before adopting more humane manufacturing practices in the 1970’s, this unique material was regrettably made from the shells of real tortoises since its introduction, nearly 50 years earlier. Rest assured that the tortoiseshell frames you’ll buy nowadays are made of plastic, something that also opens up many new color combinations in tortoise pattern, aside from the classic yellow and amber brown. The result? A timeless and versatile style.

Vintage, new, modern, or anything you make them to be…

There’s a good reason tortoiseshell frames have never quite gone out of style since making their debut nearly a century ago--with countless variations of color combinations and frame shapes, it’s possible to find a pair that flatters everyone! Men and women, alike, can dress a pair of tortoiseshell glasses up or down to go with virtually any casual or formal look.

Tortoiseshell frames have been sported by many iconic figures, including JFK. Today’s celebrities continue introducing new ways of styling this classic yet modern, fashion-forward look. It’s safe to say tortoiseshell frames aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon...

How to wear tortoiseshell frames

By now, you’ve probably caught on to that there’s no right or wrong way to style a pair of tortoiseshell frames--after all, that’s a big part of why they continue to be fashionable! You have a lot of flexibility to work them into any outfit, year-round, but note that they tend to look best with simpler clothing in solid colors rather than busy prints in edgy combinations.

What’s most important is to choose frames that complement features you can’t change as easily as an outfit--your skin tone, eye and hair colors. The best way to tell with this is through experimenting. Try on everything ranging from subtle color combos such as the original dark amber/golden yellow, to the bold and modern spins on the style, incorporating turquoise, red, and other standout hues. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you can pull off with tortoiseshell patterns, as they’re much more flattering than solid-color frames in similar tones. Also try out different frame shapes--rectangular for elegance, or round for a more studious look.

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