Eyewear Chains Get a Chic Revamp

This isn't your grandmother's accessory.

Model Wearing Sunglasses with Chains
(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

Eyewear chains have officially gotten the high-fashion seal of approval. For a while, the trend was exclusive to your grandma and frat boys (a weird combo). This season, the retro style got the chic revival it deserved, and eyewear chains have officially evolved from strictly functional to full-blown fashionable. Designers have revamped the accessory using metal, chains, pearls, and beads to bring your look up a notch. Maybe your favorite pair of black sunglasses feel a bit boring? Add a gold chain to spice things up. Tired of using your regular glasses? Eyewear chains will save you. Essentially jewelry for your sunglasses, this trend is super fun. Check out our top eyewear-and-chain combos, below.

1. Supermodel-Approved Sunnies

Supermodel-Approved Sunnies

(Image credit: Future)

We love a trend that's supermodel-approved. Since this is a Hadid-verified look, why not invest in Gigi's current favorite sunglasses? Gigi has been rocking these Amavii Benjamin sunnies for weeks now, and the rectangular aviators are the perfect mix of cool and masculine. When it comes to chains, the options are truly endless with these bad boys. To really encapsulate that laidback-cool look, I paired them with a streetwear-inspired gold chain.

Shop the look:  1. Amavii Sunglasses, $155; 2. Frame Chain Eyewear Chain$109.

2. Double Trouble

Double Trouble

(Image credit: Future)

Tortoise is a great option if a thick black frame is just too dark for your liking. If you’re a risk taker, why not try double tortoise? I’m loving these squared-oval frames with this oversized chain. This combo would look great paired with a white button-down, jeans, and a spring trench. Très chic!

Shop the look: 1. Crap Eyewear Sunglasses, $99; 2. my my my Eyewear Chain$42.

3. Classic Cat-Eye

Classic Cat-Eye

(Image credit: Future)

Cat-eye sunglasses are a true classic; this retro style is beloved by many. A red cat-eye is my absolute favorite, and this bold style required an equally as fabulous chain. When I found this “Happy Heart Sunnies Leash” I gasped—these two together are a match made in kitsch heaven. The combo is flirty and fun, and perfect for all of my girly-girls out there.

Shop the look: 1. Celine Sunglasses, $460; 2. Venessa Arizaga Eyewear Chain$150.

4. Mix It Up

Mix It Up

(Image credit: Future)

I love the idea of mixing materials when it comes to eyewear chains. I started with these cool octagonal Chloe sunnies, and added a coral chain with a natural feel to balance out the frame's sharp edges. The coral chain pops against the rusty pink lenses, while making the frame feel a little more casual. The metal and coral is a fun and fresh combination.

Shop the look: 1. Chloe Sunglasses, $420; 2. Donni Eyewear Chain$75.

5. Luxe Lady

Luxe Lady

(Image credit: Future)

This season, Fendi really made the trend their own. A gold chain-link chain with lettering is perfect for all of my luxe-loving ladies out there. Pair this splashy chain with a huge pair of sunnies to complete the look.

Shop the look: 1. Fendi Sunglasses, $460; 2. Fendi Eyewear Chain$630.

6. Minimalists, Rejoice 

Minimalists, Rejoice

(Image credit: Future)

If you're a minimalist, a chunky eyewear chain is probably your worst nightmare. But not every chain is meant for the maximalists (is that a word?). Try pairing your simple round frames with a sleek sliver chain. The metal-on-metal look is timeless and understated.

Shop the look: 1. Warby Parker Sunglasses, $195; 2. Amazon Eyewear Chain$11.29.

7. Eternally Chic

Eternally Chic

(Image credit: Future)

A nod to the trend’s origins, Chanel gave us “grandma chic” with this timeless pearl chain. The black metal frames are sleek and complement the delicate pearls. You can’t go wrong with the classics, and this is an eternally stylish pairing.

Shop the look: Chanel Sunglasses with chain, $1,140.

8. It-Girl Sunglasses

It-Girl Sunglasses

(Image credit: Future)

Calling all my It girlsYou probably own these sunnies already. If not, what are you waiting for? This throwback '90s silhouette—slim rectangular shape, thick black frames—is hot again. It’s very Hailey Bieber and Dua Lipa (two very cool It girls.) Another thing It girls love are gold chains, so why not combine the two?

Shop the look: 1. Le Specs Sunglasses, $79; 2. BaubleBar Eyewear Chain$42.

9. Fresh Off the Runway

Fresh Off the Runway

(Image credit: Future)

If you're a fashion girl through and through and like your looks fresh off the runway, you’re in luck. Gucci’s eyewear chain with oversized links is one of their most talked-about accessories of the season. Paired with oversized black octagonal frames that feature yellow lenses, I can assure you this combo is nothing short of fashun.

Shop the look: 1. Gucci Sunglasses, $535; 2. Gucci Eyewear Chain$340.

10. So '70s

So '70s

(Image credit: Future)

Linda Farrow’s S/S20 collection pays homage to the brand’s '70s heritage. These gold oversized sunnies are the perfect way to incorporate the '70s trend into your wardrobe. Add the ivory chain with round geometric links to wrap up your retro look. This combo belongs on a yacht in St. Tropez—just add a headscarf, white linen dress, and gold jewels.

Shop the look: 1. Linda Farrow Sunglasses, $880; 2. Linda Farrow Eyewear Chain$215.

11. A Queen in Hearts 

A Queen in Hearts

(Image credit: Future)

These Saint Laurent Sunglasses are inspired by a vintage poster for Stanley Kubrick’s cult 1962 film Lolita. The charming heart shape is so fun, and the white is perfect for days spent in the Hamptons or Malibu. To accentuate their playful shape, I’ve paired them with a Fry Powers baroque pearl chain. The pearl chain features rainbow beads that will pop against the white shades. This duo will add some whimsy to your wardrobe.

Shop the look: 1. Saint Laurent Sunglasses, $420; 2. Fry Powers Eyewear Chain$385.

A version of this story appears in the March 2020 issue of Marie Claire.

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Shelby Comroe is the Credits Editor and Fashion Assistant at Marie Claire covering all things fashion and giving credit where credit is due. Check her out @shelbycomroe on Instagram if buying designer handbags is your idea of a retirement plan!