Marilyn Monroe - Librarian in How To Marry A Millionaire

By 1953, when Marilyn Monroe starred as Pola in “How To Marry A Millionaire,” the ‘sexy librarian look’ had found its archetype.  She is a kind of gender-reversed Clark Kent in this film.  Playing a woman who is embarrassed to be seen in glasses, Marilyn Monroe establishes the tantalizing aesthetic and sets the tone for the next several decades of women’s frame-styles with her catwoman frames in the film.  She quotes Dorothy Parker, saying that, “Men don’t pay much attention to a woman in glasses,” but nothing could be further from the truth in this case.  In the movie, the man who falls in love with her glasses wins her heart.  A sort of double irony, in this specific instance, is that Marilyn Monroe was extremely nearsighted in real life, and often wore glasses at times when she was out of the limelight.  Later on in the 1960’s Batman series, Julie Newmer as Catwoman and Yvonne Craig as Batgirl – both of whom have ‘librarian alter-egos cement this cliché.

Catwoman in Glasses

‘Sexy librarian’ generally appear as some kind of permutation of Pola’s ‘catwoman’ frames, but the point is not the specfic style of the frame, but that the frames are noticeable.  When she is wearing those frames she is not trying to hide the fact that she’s wearing glasses.  She’s even flaunting it, maybe a wee bit.

Like garters, glasses are supposed to be sexy on women because men want to take them off of that woman.  But this oversimplifies the fetish.  There is something absolutely paralyzing about the object itself – be it garter or glasses – that entrances the male gaze.  That is, after all, the definition of a fetish.  “Any object…that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.”  Pola’s glasses fit the bill here.

Tom Ford Librarian Glasses

The simple fact is that eyeglasses are sexy.  Or at least: they can be sexy. Some women refuse to wear eyeglasses because they think it might make them less attractive. It doesn’t. Men find eyeglasses appealing for several reasons. They add a layer of mystery. They highlight intelligence. Men are stupid: they may not notice how naturally intelligent you are unless you’re wearing glasses.  Or conversely, they may think you are intelligent simply because of the fact that you are wearing glasses with no further evidence.  Glasses draw attention to a woman’s eyes. The style of eyeglasses can reveal a little something about the woman wearing them.

Tina Fey Sexy Librarian Look

In a good conversation, a woman’s eyes tend to be the part of the body that men focus on, and glasses, literally, frame the eyes. A woman wearing eyeglasses may seem more insightful and focused. The design of the frames can divulge a few intimate secrets. The woman might want to convey a sense of seriousness, but if she’s wearing animal-print frames, she’s giving the world a hint that she has a wild side. If the frames have a tint of color, it boosts the effect of the irises’ natural pigment.

The most important part of choosing glasses is making sure you are confident in the ones you choose. Confidence shows, and is extremely sexy. Choose the frames and lenses that cry out to you, whatever look you go for. Wear your sunglasses with pride and they will add a mysterious magnetism to your look.


Why not check out this rare video of Adam West (Batman) checking out a book from Yvonne Craig (Batwoman) in a 1967 unaired pilot for the ‘Batgirl’ television series, or have a look at this video – The Secret Origins of Batgirl (below) where you can see Yvonne Craig wearing her librarian glasses just before changing into Batgirl.

Video removed.



Thomas Stone is a freelance blogger for Eyeglass Guide


4 thoughts on “The Sexy Librarian Look”
  1. What draws me to sexy librarians is that their true beauty appears to be hidden beneath glasses, conservative hair styles, and/or clothing. The thrill, then, comes from "unwrapping" them and finding an attractive, desirable woman. I've been fortunate enough to  encounter a few in my life, and I found them to be closer to Tina Fey and Yvonne Craig than Marilyn Monroe. Even with glasses, Marilyn is too overtly sexual to be a sexy librarian.

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