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David Letterman’s Glasses Style

David Letterman’s Glasses Style

Human connection and storytelling.


Skills both of which David Letterman has honed over his colourful 40-year career in American television.


Having started out as an Indianapolis weatherman, Letterman’s witty, unpredictable on-air humour made him a stand-out figure amongst the local news anchor team. It wasn’t long before he moved to Los Angeles, where he began stand-up comedy and then most famously, his TV hosting era on the coveted Late Show.


But for you, the eyewear enthusiast, it’s impossible to overlook his taste for stylish spectacles. From colour tinted lenses to full-rimmed acetate frames, his choice of glasses are a key part of his infectiously likeable character.


In this roundup, PRETAVOIR gladly explore and pay tribute to David Letterman’s tremendous glasses style.

David-Letterman-sitting-in-a-chair-laughing

Image source: Deadline


What kind of glasses does David Letterman wear?

Over the years, David Letterman has worn many kinds of glasses by various famous optical brands such as Morgenthal Frederics, Lunor, Moscot, Persol and Oliver Peoples. Most recently in his 2022 Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” he’s seen wearing clear and amber versions of the Oliver Peoples O’Malley spectacles edition.


This quintessentially studious looking frame is the perfect fit for Letterman’s inquisitive nature. As eyewear shapes go, thin circular frames like these are easily one of the most timeless and classic styles you could choose from the Oliver Peoples range with PRETAVOIR.


Notably, Letterman has a relatively narrow face shape which lends itself to the rounded silhouette of his O’Malley glasses. Bringing visual balance to his face and lengthy grey beard, round spectacles like these are easily one of his best glasses styles to date.

Truly iconic glasses | The O’Malley frame first launched in 1988 and has become one of the most famous round-style glasses in the optical industry. Produced by Los Angeles optical brand Oliver Peoples, the elegant circular design was inspired by the glasses worn by former Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team owner, Peter O’Malley.

 

David-Letterman-in-studio-chair-wearing-round-blue-eyeglasses-frame-smiling
Image source: Netflix


David Letterman’s glasses on Netflix


Since his departure from the ‘The Late Show’ in 2015, Letterman has recently branched into the streaming world with his own Netflix series ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction’.


Launching in 2018, he delves into long-form interviews with some of the most famous and successful guests you could imagine. From Barack Obama, Will Smith, George Clooney, Lewis Hamilton, Kanye West, Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Ryan Reynolds and Lizzo, his guest-list has received critical acclaim. 

David-Letterman-sitting-in-chair-wearing-dark-suit-and-blue-spectacles
Image source: Twitter


In his 2022 interview with Cardi B, Letterman wears these rounded blue spectacles similar to the Cutler And Gross 1362 04 Classic Navy Blue frame. If you’re tempted by vibrant spectacles, crystal-coloured acetates are a bold style statement that can really set you apart. 


If you have grey hair like Dave, there’s plenty of opportunity for glasses as colourful as these. Neutral hair (or a big grey beard) means there’s less chance of clashing, giving you the chance to explore outlandish acetate colours.


Close-view-of-David-Letterman-looking-serious-during-interview-wearing-round-yellow-eyeglasses-and-blue-jumper

Image source: TVGuide.com


You can tell that Letterman is a keen fan for the round glasses style. It seems in every interview he’s wearing a new colour, invariably round, often with a classic keyhole nose bridge.


Seen above, he wears the Oliver Peoples Gregory Peck in the semi-transluscent ‘Raintree’ acetate. Needless to say, if you have a pale complexion like Dave’s, earthy tones such as amber, brown or honey contribute a charming warmth on cool-coloured skin.


If you’re considering a new pair of glasses, full-rim acetate frames can understandably feel very bold on your face. In this instance, transparent acetates like David Letterman’s (above) are a great way to reduce the starkness of your glasses, letting light through the frame making it seem less dominant.

David-Letterman-wearing-crystal-glasses-frame-with-blue-tinted-lenses

Image source: The New York Times

David Letterman’s tinted lenses


Commonplace amongst Hollywood’s spectacle wearers, lightly tinted lenses are part of David Letterman’s everyday eyewear ensemble. 


Tints like these hark back to the ‘80s, but they bring a whole new colour-dimension to any pair of glasses you might wear. In his most recent Netflix series, Letterman wears crystal acetate glasses with mildly tinted blue prescription lenses, identical to the Saint Laurent Sl 51 Rim 004. Combined with the clear acetate, this addition of colour brings the understated frame to the fore.


If you’re curious about these fashionably coloured lenses, they’re made by specially dying your prescription lenses in a colour tint-bath. For visual comfort and practicality, their darkness can be controlled, ranging from lightly coloured – all the way to a much darker sun lens. For more information, feel free to get in touch, email hello@pretavoir.co.uk or call on 0800 954 5689.

David-Letterman-wearing-large-orange-Persol-sunglasses-and-wool-hat-laughing

Image source: Facebook


David Letterman sunglasses style

Congruous with his playful nature, Letterman’s choice of eyewear is an integral part of his perception. His unflinching confidence matches his outlandish choice of big sunglasses from well known brands such as Persol and Oliver Peoples.


Seen above, he wears the Miele coloured acetate Persol 0649 204/Q8 sunglasses. 


Comfort is king


Pioneered by Persol in the 1930’s, the Italian sunglasses brand introduce their ‘Meflecto’ system to cater for a wider range of fits. If you have a large head and struggle with frames pinching you, look out for Persol’s ‘Meflecto system’ sunglasses. They have flexible bridges and temples which help reduce pressure points on your head for day long comfort.


It’s no wonder David Letterman is such a fan of their frames.

Young-David-Letterman-wearing-large-retro-eyeglasses-and-suit-whilst-smoking-a-cigar

Image source: New York Times


‘70s style David Letterman glasses

Big Cigars. Even bigger spectacles.


It’s no secret that David Letterman has a fondness for chunky cigars. But just look at the size of those enormous ‘70s glasses. 


Like all fashion trends, large-frame glasses are back in force. Today in the 2020’s, retro size frames like the Chanel 3417 1695 Glasses are a staple spectacle style amongst optical trendsetters.


If you wear varifocals, tall frames like these are an excellent choice as they provide ample room for your multifocal lenses. For distance vision, intermediate or close reading, big frames are stylish and practical in equal measure.

Portarit-of-David-Letterman-with-grey-hair-long-beard-and-eyeglasses

Image source: Pinterest


Final words 

Watching Letterman interview so many famous people, it’s easy to overlook his talent for putting people at ease. As a host, he weaves insightful conversation with carefully curated questions and mutual vulnerability.


Like his guests, he too puts himself out there for the world to see. 


Watching him on his deep-dive chat shows, you have to admire his confidence; both in himself and his choice of eyewear. Something we can all learn from as glasses wearers who’re passionate about frames that define our own personal traits and individuality.


Hopefully you found this article inspiring.


Thanks for stopping by.


Jamie Bartlett is the co-founder of Glasgow eyewear brand, Banton Frameworks.Jamie Bartlett is the co-founder of Glasgow eyewear brand, Banton Frameworks. As a spectacle frame maker and designer, he also writes to over 100k monthly readers about eyewear fashion and optical craft.

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