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Happy Women’s History Month! That’s right, March is the month that rightfully highlights and celebrates the contribution of women all over the world to significant events throughout history and in contemporary society.

Even today, women everywhere are still feeling the effects of the patriarchy and continue to fight for justice and equality for all genders. While there is still a long way to go, there’s no denying that the position of women has come far from what it once was thanks to the efforts of many incredible women throughout history.

So, in this article, it's only fitting that we celebrate some of these iconic women - as well as their sense of style! We’ll look at some significant and inspirational figures of female power and discuss how you can pay homage to them through your choice of eyewear.

The Origins of Women’s History Month

Did you know that it was a woman (Hedy Lamarr) who pioneered the technology that would form the basis for WiFi? Or that a woman (Mary Anderson) is to thank for the original design of windshield wipers?

For too many years, women have been marginalised, ignored, unappreciated and discriminated against both in their daily lives and in their contributions to society. Women’s History Month strives to change that, instead celebrating women everywhere and their contributions to society.

Originating in the United States, Women’s History Month initially began as a weeklong observation in Santa Rosa, California back in 1978. This was subsequently championed by Gerda Lerner (an Austrian-born American historian and women’s history author) and the National Women’s History Alliance in 1980 to be recognised as a national week, then month in 1987.

Since then, it has spread internationally, now being officially observed in Canada (where it’s observed in October, rather than March), Australia and, of course, here in the United Kingdom.

Iconic Women & Their Eyewear

Benazir Bhutto

A politician and stateswoman, Benazir Bhutto served as the 11th and 13th prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990, then again in 1993 until 1996. She was the first woman to be elected to head a democratic government in a Muslim-majority country.

Bhutto had elaborate and impressive academic merit, having achieved a BA at Harvard University, before going on to study and achieve a second BA in philosophy, political science and economics and the University of Oxford, which she then followed up with an MA in international law.

A member of the left-wing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), she served two terms as Prime Minister, with her second term being particularly notable after she made headway in Pakistan’s international relations, attracted foreign investment in the country and implemented a number of social programmes.

Not only was Benazir Bhutto an incredibly intelligent and inspirational woman, but she was also very stylish - having been known to wear some notable styles of glasses, such as her signature rectangular frames.

Iris Apfel

Known for her eccentric and iconic style, we sadly lost Iris Apfel on March 1st this year (at the grand age of 102!), but there’s no denying that her legacy will continue to live on.

Apfel was an American businesswoman, interior designer and fashion designer. Her fashion sense was as flamboyant as her personality, and her signature look was her oversized and thick-rimmed round black frames.

Her illustrious career really took off when her and her husband, Carl Apfel, launched Old World Weavers, a textiles firm, where they specialised in the reproduction of fabrics from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The job saw them travelling to Europe biannually in the search for unique and rare textiles that could not be sourced in the United States.

She took part in various design restoration projects over the course of her career, including work at the White House for nine different presidents. Her vast experience, knowledge and success saw her becoming a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin back in 2011, in its Division of Textiles and Apparel.

Despite her round frames being her signature look, on occasion Apfel could be seen donning other styles, such as a pair of oversized, polka dot cat-eye frames.

Marilyn Monroe

One of the most famous actresses from Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe’s name continues to be recognised by generations all across the world.

Having endured a difficult childhood, Monroe rose from her humble beginnings to become one of the most well-known models and actresses of her generation. A key figure in the sexual revolution of the ‘50s, her image challenged traditional gender codes of behaviour related to sexuality, with women today continuing to feel liberated and empowered by Monroe.

Over the course of her acting career, Monroe accumulated a highly respectable 15 nominations for various awards, 10 of which she won.

Unfortunately, Monroe left us too soon, but her iconic style lives on. Cat-eye sunglasses were one accessory she favoured that we particularly love - exuding a timelessly feminine elegance.

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is a London-born novelist, essayist and short-story writer. With her debut novel, White Teeth, becoming an instant best-seller and winner of numerous awards, Smith has gone on to have a successful bibliography, along with numerous accolades.

She has won a number of notable awards for her various works, including the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ First Book Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Women’s Prize for Best Fiction.

We aren’t just fans of Zadie Smith’s writing, but of her love of eyewear, too. Her go-to style of glasses tends to be classic and simple black square frames, although we have also seen her rock some gold-rimmed aviators, too!

Vintage Trends


If there’s one vintage style of glasses frames to wear today as an homage to women in history, it’s the cat-eye frame. Synonymous with icons of the ‘50s and ‘60s, this style of frames is truly an example of an accessory made for women by a woman - that woman being Altina Schinasi.

Inspired by the lack of interesting frames for women, Schinasi designed this more glamorous shape, patenting the design that was originally known as the ‘Harlequin’ frame in the 1930s - as inspired by the romantic and whimsical harlequin masks worn at ballroom dances during this time.

This style of glasses continues to exude elegance and empowered femininity. We think this pair of Think Pink cat-eye frames are perfect to add to your collection, featuring the signature upswept shape and dark tinted lenses that really add to their allure.


Rectangle sunglasses have made a comeback in contemporary fashion. With many brands drawing on this style in their modern pieces, you can stand out from the crowd by buying a unique pair of original vintage rectangular frames.

With thick, hammered gold arms and luxurious, warm frames, make this pair from Paloma Picasso your sunglasses for the season. Their angular shape is in-fitting with today’s trends, whilst their quality offers you endless wear.


Whilst originally associated with pilots, aviator frames have gone on to become a staple style of sunglasses for the summer, remaining popular year after year.

If you’re looking to channel your inner Amilia Earhart, this pair of Christain Lacroix aviators are a must to add to your accessories collection. With the frame sitting along the underneath of the lenses, this upside-down design not only exudes glamour, but is the perfect accessory to pay homage to the widespread and underappreciated innovation of women throughout history.

Empowerment & Representation

For too long, women have simultaneously been seen for nothing more than their looks, yet policed and judged on what they choose to wear. That’s thankfully starting to change; style and intelligence would often be perceived as mutually exclusive, but that is no means the case - one can exist simultaneously with the other.

Women everywhere are reclaiming their right to make a statement through their fashion, whilst proudly owning their intelligence, knowledge, worth and achievements. By wearing statement eyewear pieces inspired by iconic women throughout history to modern day, you, too, can feel empowered and confident.

These women not only represent key moments in fashion throughout the decades, but are a celebration of the diverse female role-models the world needs. Now it’s your turn to take inspiration from them and leave your own mark in the world as the strong and independent woman that you are!

Celebrating Women’s History Through Vintage Sunglasses

If you’re looking for a subtle way you can pay homage to female icons throughout history in celebration of Women’s History Month, then let it be through the power of vintage fashion.

Here at Ed & Sarna, we’ve curated a collection of Iconic Women’s Sunglasses, offering you the perfect way to incorporate a touch of vintage into your contemporary style. All of the sunglasses we source are genuine, never worn deadstock, so you also get to benefit from the quality craftsmanship synonymous with the times.

Get in touch with us today with any enquiries, and we’ll be happy to help you.

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