By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

Brooklyn hipsters, intellectual types, Johnny Depp, Spike Lee, those who are artistically inclined, Clark Kent, Whoopi Goldberg, old people, young people, men, women… seem like a broad range of people? It is. Tortoiseshell glasses are universally appealing.

Tortoiseshell glasses aren’t new, but neither have they changed a whole lot since 1973 when real tortoiseshell was banned under the Endangered Species Act and synthetics took over. But lately, eyewear designers have realized that they don’t have to stick with the amber orange tones we’ve come to expect and have updated the concept of tort with more modern interpretations of high contrast whites and ivories paired with blacks, greys and in even some cases color!

WEAR: (Clockwise from top) The Kate Spade New York Roberta optical style from Safilo has so much going on for a smaller scale frame. Don’t be fooled by its petite sizing and semi-rimless design; its mottled black and ivory tort and naughty librarian vibe are plenty attention grabbing. The DKNY DY4623 optical style from Luxottica has just the right amount of translucence to make the dappled tort seem like its glowing from within. The 8048 sunglasses from Ogi Eyewear up the glamour factor by using a pearlized white mixed with crystal and black and paired with a super feminine cat-eye shape. Morgenthal Frederics goes super bold with their high contrast tort on the Matthew optical style in a chunky, oversized rectangular shape with wide double laminate paddle temples lined in jet black acetate.

WHY: Tortoiseshell is a classic eyeglass material so its appeal cannot really be denied, however, the traditional mottled brown, black and sometimes orange pattern has begun to feel a bit staid. Given that all “tortoiseshell” used today is in fact a man-made material it really isn’t surprising that eyewear designers have really begun to embrace the customization inherent in the doppled material. These new takes on tort are also providing customers with the kind of fashionable, minimalist and timeless eyewear that makes a purchase hard to resist.