While shades have existed in some form since the 1300s, it wasn't until the 1930s that the sunglasses craze took hold, as more and more Americans and Europeans went on beach vacations. In fact, Sam Foster sold the first modern-day shades, a pair of Foster Grants, on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1929. This trend exploded in the following decades as Hollywood stars and fashion icons such as Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis hid behind glamorous sunglasses, made by the likes of Persol and Emilio Pucci.

Men, meanwhile, took to wire-framed Ray-Ban "aviator" sunglasses favored by World War II heroes such as George S. Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur—this straight-laced military look was later popularized by counter-culture rockers such as Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. In the 1930s, the U.S. military commissioned Bausch & Lomb to make UV-blocking shades, and the company's Ray-Ban aviator glasses debuted in 1936, with anti-glare polarized-lens technology, invented by Edwin H. Land, of the Polaroid Corporation. In 1948, the first mirror-faced aviator sunglasses hit the scene, offering even greater protection from the sun, as well as the ability to watch people in secret.

Thanks to their air of mystery, dark shades became a symbol of cool detachment for beatniks and '50s jazz musicians. Perhaps the most iconic sunglass design is Ray-Ban's Wayfarer, launched in 1952, with its signature chunky frame. Mod and hippie fashions of the '60s demanded more whimsy, and John Lennon favored tiny tinted wire-framed spectacles called "teashades." Depending on the style, sunglasses came to signal urban sophistication, nefarious intent, or inscrutable intellect. Later fashionable looks like those by Alpina, Vuarnet, and Oakley originated as protective gear for athletes. Coveted vintage sunglasses include designs by Neostyle, Paloma Picasso, Oliver Peoples, Revo, Cazal, Matsuda, and Carrera Porsche.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)



Anna Checcoli's homage to the beauty and art of hand fans ('ventagli,' in Italian). Use the left-hand nav to browse… [read review or visit site]



Dr. David Fleishman's comprehensive spectacles site (over 3500 images), in collaboration with museums around the wo… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Courreges Eskimo Sunglasses - Vintage - Rare! * Low Start*Vintage Authentic Chanel S5018 Made In Italy Black Sunglasses Very Rare C501/87Rare Vintage 1970s 80s Nike Sunglasses T-shirt XlOliver Peoples La Glasses With Clip On And CaseTrue Shady Character/tart Optical Arnel Double Diamond Ao Clip On SunglassesVintage Ray-ban B&l Clubmaster~wayfarer B-15 Tortis&gold 51mm **exlnt SunglassesVintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator "leathers" 62mm Brown Changeables Sunglasses&case70's Bl5022 *wayfarer* B&l Ray Ban Usa & Case B&l Ray Ban *olympic Games Series* Wayfarer Ii, 54mm Lens.Vintage 1950,s/early 60's Ray Ban Pearl Cat Eye Sunglasses B&l Light Cream/ivory70's B&l Ray Ban L0226 52mm Caravan & CaseVintage Wwii B&l Ray Ban Pilot Aviator Kalichrome Yellow Lens Shooter SunglassesNos 90's *traditionals Premier E* W0868 Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Vintage Ray-ban B&l Wayfarer Chromax "ashbury" Style 1 W1701 Tortoise SunglassesVintage Rayban Wayfarer 5022 U.s.a B&l Green Lenses Black Acetate Sunglasses90's B&l Ray Ban Round Metal W2277 Sunglasses & Case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Arista 58m Black Chrome *nos 1990s Sunglasses+Original Vintage Rayban Wayfarer Sunglasses Bausch & Lomb 5022Ray Ban Rb4165 *justin* Wayfarer Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban Large *wayfarer* 54mm Rb2140 901 & CaseRay Ban Rb4171 *erika* Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban *wayfarer* 50mm Rb2140 901 & Case Vintage Ray Ban Wayfarer Ii Sunglasses W/caseB&l Ray Ban *tortuga Changeables* Photochromic W0701 Round MetalVintage Ray Bans B&l Aviator Arista 58mm Gold B15 1990's Used Mint SunglassesRay Ban *ice Cream* Rare Prints Wayfarer 50mm Rb2140 & CaseB&l Ray Ban *street Neat* Marble Mosaic 54mm Wayfarer Ii90's *traditionals Style C* Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Usa & Police CaseVintage Ray Ban Leather Driving Series Outdoorsman B&l Gold Used Mirror SunniesRay Ban Clubmaster B&l Usa Vintage Sunglasses W0365Glasses Case "only", Ray-ban Aviator Diamond Hard, Vintage 1985Vintage Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban 12k Gold Filled Frame Shades Glasses With Case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Arista 58mm Gold Frame *nos 1990s Sunglasses++Vintage Ray Ban "the General" Aviator 58mm Rb-50Vintage Bausch & Lomb Ray-ban Wayfarer Ii Tortoise Shell Sunglasses Made In UsaVintage 90's B&l Ray Ban Arista Deco Metals Sunglasses Original OwnerVintage Rayban Rare Gatsby De Luxe Style-1 Model B&l Lenses Sunglasses / GreatRay Ban Bausch & Lomb Usa B&l Mirror Aviator Sunglass Vintage Rare New 62[]14Near Mint 1960's Vintage B&l Ray Ban Gold Ambermatic Aviator Sunglasses 58mmRay Ban *balorama* Rb4089 Wraps + CaseRay Ban *wayfarer* 50mm Rb2140 954 & CaseVintage B&l Ray Ban Wings Pilot Aviator Sunglasses With Mirror Lens France NylonVintage Maui Jim Lahaina Black Wayfarer Sunglasses Made In Japan Mj-197 RareVintage Ao American Optical Gold Aviator Sunglasses Pilot 1/10 12k Gf MilitaryRay Ban *outdoorsman* Rb3428 Road Spirit Aviators & CaseRay Ban Bausch & Lomb Vintage Sunglasses Case In Leather Classic Vintage AviatorVintage Carrera Porsche Design Aviator Sunglasses 5621 Black Case Frame LensesVintage Carrera Porsche Design Aviator Sunglasses 5621 Black Case Frame LensesBausch & Lomb Ray-ban Wings SunglassesVintage Usa Rayban Sunglasses Aviator Style Gold Frame In Vtg BoxVintage Ray-ban B&l Wayfarer Sunglasses Black L2008Vintage Ray Ban B&l W0931 Truegreen Gatsby Style 1 Usa Tortoise Sunglasses PartsAntique Vintage Vuarnet Sunglasses 003 - France Depose Vintage U.s.a Rayban Wayfarer Nomad B&l Lenses Black Acetate Sunglasses 1970 Original 1960's Vintage Oliver Goldsmith Faux Tortoiseshell Framed SunglassesVintage B&l Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses Bausch Lomb Nomad W0946 France90's *traditionals 1 Soft Square* W1491 Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban & CaseRay-ban Ambermatic Shooter Glasses New Old Stock Rare Ray Ban B&l Aviator Gold Rims Sunglasses & Case VintageVtg Ray-ban Sunglasses Aviator Bausch And Lomb 10/12k G F With B & L Case Ec

Recent News: Sunglasses

Source: Google News

Yarn bombing proves therapeutic when mobility is limited
The Grand Rapids Press - MLive.com, August 24th

I would love to tell you that my new ride is a turquoise Vespa that I tool around on while sporting a pair of vintage sunglasses and a really cool head scarf, but the truth is I've settled for a much less sporty rental, a pair of discounted yoga pants...Read more

'To Life' ('A la vie'): Locarno Review
Hollywood Reporter, August 20th

(Benjamin Wangermee, with an appropriate puppy-dog look) who's eager to have sex with her (something her husband can't do since he was castrated in Auschwitz), while the shopping-addicted Clement, with huge (now vintage) sunglasses and ditto hair, ...Read more

A Change of Pace
Palm Beach Daily News, August 9th

Mino Netta, a Palm Beach designer and dealer of vintage sunglasses, hopped on her new bicycle and rode through 150 Worth Avenue to visit friends and find some “freshness” after sitting in front of her computer all day. Palm Beachers can expect more ...Read more

Folk Fest: Highlights from the Hill
Edmonton Journal, August 9th

“I'm sure not all the crews get the same privileges as this one,” McNally joked, channelling inner Johnny Depp with dishelleved dark hair and vintage sunglasses. “It's been the best Folk Fest ever. I'm doing what I'm meant to do.” The 27-year-old has...Read more

Five of our favourite vintage sunglasses!
My Fashion Life, August 4th

What would you say if we told you that you could get your hands and eyes on a pair of vintage sunglasses from the good old days? We don't think you'd know what to say as you'd be too excited, so take a look at five pairs of vintage sunglasses currently...Read more