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”)

Ventagli.org

Ventagli.org

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]

Antiquespectacles.com

Antiquespectacles.com

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    

Vintage 80's New Round Lens Clear Smoke Front Tortoiseshell Arm Sunglasses B&l Ray Ban *leathers Outdoorsman* 62mm Aviator Large Metal Ii90's B&l Ray Ban Round Metal W0603 Sunglasses & CaseVintage Ray-ban B&l Wayfarer Max Ii Maple Tortoise & Gold Sunglasses&case/pouchRare B&l Ray Ban *gatsby Style 2* W0934 & CaseVintage Authentic Chanel S5018 Made In Italy Black Sunglasses Very Rare C501/87Courreges Eskimo Sunglasses - Vintage - Rare! * Low Start*Rare Vintage 1970s 80s Nike Sunglasses T-shirt XlVtg, B&l, Us Ray Ban Sunglass Curved Wrap Outdoorsman 58 Mm G15 MintVintage Ray Ban B&l Usa Round Metal Leathers Burgundy Rose New Nos Ultra RareRay Ban Rb3447 Round Metal Sunglasses & CaseMirrored Lens 90's *traditionals Style C* B&l Ray Ban Usa & Missoni CaseB&l Ray Ban Usa Classic Collection W1535 Metal Sunglasses + CaseRay Ban Rb2140 "wayfarer Buttons" Rare Prints Ltd Edition 50mm & CaseTrue Shady Character/tart Optical Arnel Double Diamond Ao Clip On SunglassesVitage B&l Usa Rayban Wayfarer Style Blue Mirrored Sunglasses 50-22good Used B&l Ray Ban Usa *chromax Outdoorsman* 58mm, W1663 & CaseRay Ban Rb4125 Cats 5000 Aviator & Case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Predator Series "cats" **nos Matbk Sunglasses&catscaseRay Ban *balorama* Rb4089 Wraps + CaseRay Ban *clubmaster Aluminium* Rb3507 & CaseVintage B & L Ray Ban Wayfarer Max Black Gold Clubmaster Style Sunglasses W1272Vitage B&l Us Ray Ban Caravan Explorer Sunglasses. G15 ,outdoorsman, Large 62mmRare *wayfarer Limited Deluxe* W1212 Bl5022 Wayfarer B&l Ray Ban UsaRay Ban Rb2140 "wayfarer Comics" Rare Prints Ltd Edition 50mm & CaseRay Ban Rb3142 Predator Wraps Sunglasses & CaseVtg B&l Usa Rayban Gold Sunglass John Lennon Style Blue Mirrored Withouttag MintVintage B&l Usa Rayban Wayfarer Style Sunglasses Red & Black Old Stock MintVintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator "leathers" 62mm Brown Changeables Sunglasses&caseVintage B & L Ray Ban Traditionals Tortoise Aviator Vagabond Sunglasses FranceB&l Ray Ban L1725 Wayfarer Ii, 54mm Lens**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Arista 58m Black Chrome *nos 1990s Sunglasses+Vtg Ray Ban Electric Purple/pink "street Neat" Bauach & Lomb Wayfarer Rare UsaRay Ban *wayfarer* Rb2140 902 50mm & CaseRay Ban *wayfarer* 50mm Rb2140 901 & CaseVintage Ray-ban B&l Clubmaster~wayfarer B-15 Tortis&gold 51mm **exlnt SunglassesVintage Ray Bans B&l Aviator Arista 58mm Gold B15 1990's Used Mint SunglassesRay Ban Rb3025jm Aviator Full Colour & Case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Arista 58mm Gold Frame *nos 1990s Sunglasses++90's *olympian Iv Deluxe* B&l Ray Ban Wraps W1974 & Case Vintage Ray-ban B&l Clubmaster~wayfarer G-15 Tortis&gold 51mm **exlnt SunglassesB&l Ray Ban W1344 Classic Collection 5 / Brace Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban Rb4115 Predator Wraps Sunglasses & CaseVintage Wwii B&l Ray Ban Pilot Aviator Kalichrome Yellow Lens Shooter Sunglasses**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Predator Series "cats" **nos Ebony Sunglasses&catscaseRare Vintage Ray Ban B&l Wayfarer Ii Folding Diamond Hard Sunglasses - NosRay Ban *ice Cream* Rare Prints Wayfarer 50mm Rb2140 & CaseB&l Ray Ban *olympic Games Series* Wayfarer Ii, 54mm Lens.Vintage Ray-ban Wayfarer B&l 5022 Sunglasses Tortoise Brown IRay Ban Rb3025 112/17 55mm Small Aviator Large Metal & CaseVintage 1950,s/early 60's Ray Ban Pearl Cat Eye Sunglasses B&l Light Cream/ivoryVintage Gianni Versace Designer Oval Black Classic Gv Sunglasses Made In ItalyPre Owned Oakley Holbrook Matte Black Ruby Red Ducati Edition SunglassesVintage Porsche Design Carrera Sunglasses 5621 90 With Certificate & Both LensesPorsche Design By Carrera Sunglasses 5621-90Vintage 1980's Vuarnet Skilynx Sunglasses 085 Double Gradient & Case---franceRay Ban Clubmaster B&l Usa Vintage Sunglasses W0365**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l "slimline" Chrome~marble Sleek *nos Sunglasses&case+++B&l Ful-vue 23 Safety Glasses Motorcycle Sunglasses Goggles Bausch LombRay Ban Rb4152 *vagabond* Sunglasses & Case

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

How modern summer music festivals became ersatz love-ins
The Globe and Mail, August 1st

Teens Kelly, Taryn and Courtney, meanwhile, wore vintage sunglasses, peasantstyle tops, denim short-shorts and maxi skirts – items they pulled together after studying hippie style online. “I saw a similar outfit on Tumblr and Instagram and I bought...Read more

EXCLUSIVE: Clare V. Launches Eyewear With Steven Alan
Style.com, August 1st

Our graphic designer, Lizzie, had this great pair of big, round vintage sunglasses we wanted to re-create,” she explained. “As vintage collectors, we all drew inspiration from our own pieces.” The sunglasses could certainly pass for vintage finds. They...Read more