The most prominent type of hipster glasses is characterized by large, black rectangular frames, usually made of thick plastic. The size of the frames generally reach from the brow to the midpoint of the cheekbone, or slightly beyond it. Variations on this look include other-colored and round frames. Other types of hipster glasses include various types of vintage glasses, often with unique or comical frame designs such as hearts and cats' eyes. Some proponents of hipster fashion wear popular modern frames, such as blinder shades, as a form of satire directed towards popular culture.
Hipster glasses, in their most identifiable form, are shaped in a frame once most closely associated with nerds. Hipster fashion philosophies concentrate on irony, particularly, the use of "uncool" style elements to appear cool. This allows the individual to project an image of indifference to contemporary principles of fashion, favoring effortlessness over adherence to achieve aesthetic appeal. In some circles, the very idea of hipster fashion is to look "bad" in order to look "good." This perspective caused individuals to gravitate towards large, thick-framed glasses—a symbol of "uncool" nerds—and co-opt them into hipster style.
Given the popularity of the rectangular "nerd" frames at the early onset of hipster fashion, indie style icons began to branch the trend out into similar frames. Common variations of the iconic hipster glasses include brown or amber frames, round "O"-shaped frames, and metal frames. Hipster glasses can also have thin frames, provided that the large size is maintained.
Hipster style is also known to delve into vintage fashion, assembling outfits with pieces at least 30 years in age. This has given hipsters access to more flamboyant styles once popular in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. These include triangular frames, single-piece visors, and comedic gimmick frames, such as frog-shaped ones. The colors of these vintage frames are often loud and uncommon in comparison to contemporary eyewear. The frames can hold tinted, graded, or ungraded lenses, depending on the hipster's intended use.
Certain hipster circles adapt popular contemporary styles in an effort to be ironic in their irony. This involves wearing glasses similar to the styles of mainstream pop, rock, and hip hop artists; diamond-studded or "blinged" frames have been spotted on numerous hipster glasses. In order to balance the mainstream aesthetic with an interest in indie culture, hipsters usually wear these trendy frames with anachronistic ensemble pieces. "Ironic" outfits often pair these hipster glasses with fad clothing items from previous decades, such as 80s spandex tights and leg warmers.