By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

WHO: Tree huggers, wood workers, Bob Vila, those who gravitate toward anything “exotic,” hippies, people getting in touch with their natural side and style devotees who loved the wood accessories that appeared on runways the likes of Milly, Rodarte and Donna Karan for Spring/Summer 2011.

WHAT: Real wood has an inherently warm, rich hand to it, so it’s not surprising that eyewear designers drift back to it again and again in an effort to incorporate it into their designs. However beautiful, wood as an eyewear material has historically presented some challenges thanks to its weight, difficulty being adjusted and lack of durability when constantly placed against the skin. This season, designers have overcome some of these challenges in new and interesting ways so the beauty of wood can once again have its moment in eyewear design.

WEAR: (from top to bottom) The Tom Ford TF5156 from Marcolin pairs a classic rounded front and streamlined nose pads with ingeniously curved, rich mahogany-toned wood temples that flow into acetate temple tips; the curve of the temple rounds the wood away from the face so it is not degraded by skin oils, while the acetate tips are also friendlier to the skin. The Tommy Bahama TB166 from Altair pairs a fully acetate frame with large logo plaque inlays in wood to give the frame the natural, tropical feel the brand is known for. The Fiction by l.a.Eyeworks Pro 7701 does away with actual wood all together and gives the acetate a whole new feel and finish that mimics the appearance of a full wood frame without any of its challenges. The St. Moritz from LBI pairs teak temples with acetate temple tips reminiscent of horn for high-end look in a pocket-friendly frame. The 7139 from Ogi is also an acetate frame treated to look like matte, striated wood; lightweight and more durable, the earthy green color also shows the versatility of color this finish treatment has over real wood.

WHY: The public, more than ever, are concerned about the environment and though wood frames have no eco-conscious stance per say, they do speak to the larger movement of people being more in tune with the natural world. In addition to that, wood is just a beautiful material for creating works of art. The use of wood and wood elements in eyewear is also a trend that can be found in every product segment of the industry from the more value focused lines to the super high-end collections, meaning it’s a trend that all consumers can enjoy.