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”)

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Recent News: Sunglasses

Source: Google News

Olivia Palermo Shares Her Style Diary
Marie Claire.co.uk, July 29th

Oh what we'd give to play dress-up in Olivia Palermo's wardrobe (an epic walk-in affair, no doubt). Well we no longer need to just imagine the spoils, as the stylish socialite has been keeping an exclusive fashion diary, documenting everything she...Read more

Summer Looks Inspired by Pitchfork Music Festival
Uloop News, July 25th

The sound of electronic bass drops mixed with acoustic guitar chords is audible from blocks away. As you approach the park, a cloud of smoke sits atop the mass of people inside the grounds. Welcome to Pitchfork, the neo-hippie, Midwestern music...Read more

Greased lightning! Ferne McCann and Charlie Sims rock a retro vibe as they ...
Daily Mail, July 24th

She polished off the look with a pair of white plastic-framed vintage sunglasses and a cute little lilac handbag. Meanwhile, Charlie was also dressed the part wearing a tight white T-shirt, skinny jeans and monochrome loafers. Nifty fifties: The stars...Read more

French Dressing
Boston Herald, July 16th

I'm also a lover of vintage sunglasses. These Chanel beauties from 1STDIBS.COM are timeless and fun. 3. You can NEVER go wrong with a silk Hermes Scarf. Purchase one a year and start your own collection! 4. Stateside, you can channel your inner ...Read more

#HandbagConfessions: Pharrell Williams' new prodigy Jetta
handbag.com, July 8th

I also always carry my vintage sunglasses that my mum got me as a birthday present." What is your dream handbag? "Oh my gosh, I'm so clumsy I can't have a proper handbag, I need a backpack. If I did have a dream bag it would be a handbag that has a ...Read more

Two Boutiques, Six Fourth-of-July-in-Philly Ensembles
Racked NY, July 1st

2014-06-nostalgia_12jpg.jpg Earl Salko lace print shift dress, $50; vintage black felt hat, $35; vintage sunglasses, $25. Celebration Scenario #2) What to Wear to a July Fourth Pool Party "Our Earl Salko shift dress is another best-seller because it's...Read more

LA Summer Fashion Spectacular 2014
LA Weekly, June 30th

by Wendy Waagenaar and couture jewelry from the Jubilee Collection created by Tarina Tarantino. Eleven Paris' SEAT M shirt from the LA Collection, Moods of Norway's Even Flo Slim Silk pant and bow tie with vintage sunglasses from Out of the Closet...Read more

Best Bets
New York Magazine, June 29th

How to Buy Vintage Sunglasses Three tips from J. Kirby Harris, owner of Vintage Optical, popping up at the Annex Markets lot (W. 25th St. nr. Broadway) weekends in late July. (Photo: Courtest of the vendor). 1. Do the optician check. “Inspect the...Read more