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Kickass Women and their Glasses


Since opening its doors three years ago, HOLLY Eyewear has specialized in women, style, and the glasses that empower them with both confidence and style. So, with International Women’s Day today, our thoughts naturally turn towards women who’ve made weighty waves in their lives, and ours - and the glasses they wore.

This year we want to celebrate some of these amazing trailblazers - with a glimpse into their unforgettable contributions, their iconic eyewear style, and tips on how you can make it your own.

It was tough to choose just a few influential women for our list this year, so we used a few criteria to help us out. To make the list this year, our candidates needed to have…

  1. Been a trailblazer - breaking molds and smashing stereotypes
  2. Made significant and irrevocable contributions to society
  3. Shown unique and memorable personal style
  4. Made her glasses a magnetic and iconic signature

Without further delay - our list of kickass women and their famous eyewear in celebration of IWD 2019!

Shirley Chisholm

American politician, educator, and author

“If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

- Shirley Chisholm

Likely Shirley Chisholm’s most famous statement! But there’s so much more to know about this inspiring trailblazer.

From early-childhood education consultant to politician, Chisholm succeeded to sit on three State Legislatures, to be nominated the Democratic National Committeewoman from New York State, to become the first Black woman elected to Congress, and the first to run for Presidency in 1972. Chisholm argued for the recognition of languages other than English on state literacy tests, instituted unemployment benefits for domestic workers, expanded the national food stamp program to provide greater access for infants and children, introduced a bill that resulted in putting millions of dollars in federal funds towards childcare. Because of her own experience being challenged in politics, all those whom Chisholm hired for her office were women; half of whom were Black.  

Chic, tailored, and a fan of expressive patterns, one of Chisholm’s greatest style signatures was her eyewear. We think she’d choose a finely decorated cat eye to compliment her message, rather than take attention from it.

Yoko Ono

Musician, Pioneering Performance Artist, Anti-War Activist

“Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world. Just start thinking peace, and the message will spread quicker than you think.” - Yoko Ono

A controversial woman in every way, Yoko Ono has dedicated her life to the pursuit of world peace and performance art that makes you question your experiences and beliefs. She’s also been considered the most hated woman in popular culture. Ono isn’t about ‘easy.’ She challenges, exposes, pushes boundaries, and changes your life through her statements, songs, and art and has received two Grammy Awards, an NME Inspiration Award, and a Glamour Award for Outstanding Contribution.

Though Ono’s used her eyewear as a personal power statement for decades, changing up the shape and style over time, one of her best known looks is the small round frame. It also happens to be one of the most important trends of 2019. Bite a bit of Ono’s style with these black and gold round Masunaga frames for your own update on the look.

Iris Apfel

Entrepreneur, Interior Designer, Model

“When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.” - Iris Apfel

Everyone’s favourite bespectacled nonagenarian,  Iris Apfel’s incredible impact as a businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon is undeniable.

A trailblazer in the 1940s, her travels brought global design, style, and culture to America. Her influential work included the interior design of the White House for nine presidents. Apfel has received both the Women Together Special Award of the Year (2016) and the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Award awards from the United Nations. She’s also the oldest person to ever have a Barbie™ made in her image.

Iris is absolutely known for her signature oversized round glasses - but she didn’t actually need them when she first started wearing them. She just loved how they looked!

We wouldn’t want her to stray too far from what’s become an iconic representation of her style, but we would jazz them up with some extra jewels. After all, as Apfel once said: “Coco Chanel always said take on thing off. I always said, put another on!”

Angela Davis

Radical Activist, Master Scholar, Lecturer, Writer

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” - Angela Davis


Angela Davis’ controversial and radical efforts greatly contributed to the American civil rights movement. From her notorious involvement with the Black Panthers, the US Communist party, and others, Davis has never shied away from advocating for the oppressed on issues like gender equity, prison reform, and alliances across racial lines. Davis’ conviction and strength have held deep and memorable influence - so much so, that her style is embedded in all of our minds as an image of fortitude and intellectualism.

Her eyewear choices have been subtle compared to her accomplishments - but no less spec-tacular! Going thin or rimless has never meant her style was quiet - instead, Davis chose sharp and unusual cuts for impact, focusing in on geometric oval shapes. We’d match her radical independence with frames from a brand known for their boundary-breaking style - hexagonal frames by Andy Wolf whose sharp lines stand out and disrupt an  otherwise understated frame.

Audrey Hepburn

Actor, Humanitarian, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Style Icon

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” - Audrey Hepburn

One of the most awarded stars in movie history, Hepburn received 11 awards including Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, an Emmy, a Grammy, a SAG Award, and a Tony!

Her acting career was matched by her humanitarian work with UNICEF. She visited, and provided on-the-ground assistance to, nine countries with the charity. She testified before the US Congress, took part in the World Summit for Children, launched UNICEF's State of the World's Children reports, and hosted the Danny Kaye International Children's Award ceremonies, amongst her many UNICEF efforts.

Hepburn is also the second woman on our list to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, bestowed by George W. Bush in 1992.

Another of Audrey Hepburn’s major contributions? Her iconic sense of style. Her eyewear on screen and off have become synonymous with glamour - and have literally never gone out of style. Get Hepburn inspired style with our oversized, smokey-lens Gucci frames - a perfect update to her sunnies in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Gloria Steinem

Journalist, Lecturer, Political Activist, Feminist Organizer

"A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men."‬ - Gloria Steinem

Often considered the Mother of Modern Feminism, you might more likely remember Gloria Steinem for her exposé of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire after she went undercover as a Playboy Bunny.

The founder of both Ms. Magazine and New York Magazine, Steinem has pieces in every major publication from Esquire to the New York Times and has written and produced critical documentaries for HBO, Lifetime, and VICELAND. Beyond her nine books and dozens of articles, Steinem helped found and forward numerous organizations including the Beyond Racism Initiative, the Women's Action Alliance, the National Women's Political Caucus, Women's Media Center, Voters for Choice, and Equality Now. She’s also an advisor to TIME'S UP  and the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women. You know that initiative, “Take Our Daughters to Work Day”? We can thank Steinem for that initiative, too!

For her dedication, President Obama awarded Steinem the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, in 2013.

Steinem’s eyewear the most attention-getting aspect of her All-American classic style. Known for her oversized frames, and use of fashion-forward tints, Steinem’s style is right on trend once again. In fact, we fondly refer to the Chloé frames we recommend as ‘the Gloria Steinem frame’ in tribute!  

Marilyn Monroe

Actor, Model, Civil Rights Advocate

“A wise girl knows her limits, a smart girl knows that she has none.” - Marilyn Monroe

The sexiest woman in history was also much more than her physical appeal - though we would never discount that quality either! Monroe made 29 films for which she won two Henrietta Awards, a Golden Globe Best Actress, a David di Donatello, and a French Crystal Star Award. Three of her films have been been added to the Library of Congress's National Film Registry!

Monroe was a founding member of the Hollywood branch of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy; elected an alternate delegate to California’s Democratic caucus, and supported the civil rights movement. Monroe used her influence to promote talented people who were not being heard. Her promise to buy a front-row table every night if Hollywood’s Macombo club booked their first Black entertainer for an engagement, meant that Ella Fitzgerald finally received the media attention that Fitzgerald herself said changed the course of her career.

Monroe’s choice of curvy smokey-lensed cat eye frames sex appeal heightened her mystery and sex appeal. We think mixed material Thierry Lasry frames with a sultry amber lens are perfect for a modern Marilyn moment.  

And that’s our round up for this year’s International Women’s Day, but there are so many more notable women we’d love to feature in the future! Has one of the women in our post inspired your eyewear style? Or is there another famous woman you’d love to see on your blog? Let us know!

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