New eyewear styles start trending all the time — from this Summer’s rise in oversized Aviators, to the yearlong revival of 70s-inspired looks. But when it comes to your everyday pair of glasses, most people rely less on trends and more on a desire to find something that’s classic, streamlined, and easy to wear. But “classic” is always in flux. While a decade ago, large chunky plastic frames were on the fringes, now the style is firmly mainstream. So from Alaska to Hawaii, we looked through the last year’s state by state sales to see which glasses most people across the US are actually buying, and to discover the new normal.
Here are just a few of the interesting insights we gained:
1. Blue is the new classic hue — joining the ranks of popular glasses frame colors like black, brown, gray, and tortoise.
2. Alaska buys purple frames at nearly 3 times the national average.
3. “Top Gun” states Massachusetts (#1), Maryland (#2), and California (#3) rank highest for their love of Aviator glasses.
Check out the full findings below.
What are the most popular glasses in your state?
The most popular glasses colors in different states
Hawaii goes back to black
Our 12-month study of popular frame colors and shapes shows that for every 100 pairs of glasses sold in the United States, 72% are either black, tortoise, brown, or gray. And Hawaii leads the pack with a whopping 35.33% of their frames coming in classic black. There are only 5 states where these eternal basics are not found in more than 70% of the best-selling frames: The vast plains, open skies, and rolling hills of Nebraska (32.3%), South Dakota (31.8%), Vermont (31.1%), Montana (30.7%), and Colorado (30.1%) all opt for a slightly more colorful palette.
The Badlands turn blue
Nearly 1 in 10 Americans are now sporting blue frames, and in some US states blue glasses have already replaced gray specs in overall popularity. The states where blue eyeglasses are more popular (or tied with) gray include: Mississippi (7.3%), Oregon (7.6%), New Mexico (8.5%), Kentucky (8.7%), Colorado (9.5%), Missouri (9.5%), North Dakota (10%), Montana (10.7%). The state showing blue the most love by far is South Dakota, where 10.9% of all glasses sales come in the royal hue.
Montana tests its metal
The 90s are back with rounded thin metal frames, and nobody loves the new metallics more than Montana. Big sky country buys 1.6x the number of gold frames compared with the national average. Coming up close behind in their love of gilt-y pleasures is Washington DC which is 1.5x more likely to buy gold, along with Albama (1.4x), Louisiana (1.2x), and New York (also 1.2x more likely).
North Dakota is crystal clear
Clear glasses are another style that has gone from trending to traditional in no time flat. Clear eyewear is a great way to get light, barely-there definition with an icy twist. This multidimensional look is most popular in North Dakota and New Mexico, with California and New York trailing just behind.
Alaska turns to purple
Rounding out the list of national outliers is Alaska, where people are nearly 3 times as likely to buy purple frames compared with the national average, though only 6% of their overall frame sales incorporate the berry-colored hue.
The #1 ranked states for each frame color
Black: Hawaii (35.33%)
Tortoise: Alabama (25.05%)
Brown: Mississippi (18.54%)
Gray: Wyoming (13.82%)
Blue: South Dakota (10.94%)
Green: South Dakota (7.81%)
Red: Idaho (6.32%)
Purple: Alaska (6.00%)
Pink: South Dakota (5.21%)
Gold: Montana (3.24%)
Clear: North Dakota (1.85%)
White: Nebraska (1.78%)
Orange: Kentucky (0.18%)
The most popular frame shapes by state
Rectangular frames are as popular as ever, representing 50% of sales in every state except Indiana, Oregon, Alabama, Rhode Island, Colorado, and New York. DC is ahead of the curve when it comes to round styles at 50% above the national average, and Aviators rule in Massachusetts with sales 32% above anywhere else in the US.
Massachusetts takes flight
The other big name in eyewear this season is the classic Aviator shape from the 70s and 80s. Though perpetually popular as sunglasses, these high-flying frames have found their way firmly back onto the fashion scene as clear specs with Massachusetts showing them 32% more love than the national average. Close neighbor Maryland follows suit at 29.5% above average, but California (27.5%), New York (26.5%), and Rhode Island (25%) are hot on their tails and closing in fast.
Frame shapes: A state by state roundup
Rectangle frames are most popular in North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Kansas, New Hampshire
Oval glasses reign supreme in Missouri, Minnesota, Idaho, Arkansas, and Florida
D-Frames are a hit in New Mexico, Michigan, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Round specs never go out of style in DC, Arkansas, Louisiana, New York, and Oregon
Cat Eye frames are all the rage in Wyoming, Indiana, Vermont, DC, and New Mexico
Aviator glasses soar with Massachusetts, Maryland, California, New York, and Rhode Island
The #1 ranked states for each frame shape
Rectangle: North Dakota – 62.59%
D-frame: Rhode Island – 19.50%
Cat Eye: Wyoming – 15.67%
Round: Washington DC – 11.46%
Oval: – Vermont – 11.38%
Aviator: Massachusetts – 2.64%
Curious about how we found these results? Here’s our methodology:
We started by identifying the main eyeglasses frame colors, styles, materials, and shapes (ie. black, brown, tortoise; or round, cat eye, oval). We then took a look at the number of products in each of these categories sold in every individual state over a twelve month period from March 2016 to March 2017.
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