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 80s New Champagne Round Blue Lens Sunglasses Vintage 80s Round Sunglasses New Circle Tortoiseshell Gold Details W0603 B&l Ray Ban Usa Round Metal Sunglasses + Case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Arista 58mm Gold Frame *nos 1990s Sunglasses++B&l Ray Ban 62mm Aviator Large Metal Ii L2846 & CaseNos 90's *traditionals Premier E* W0868 Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban 70's Vintage Yves Saint Laurent Leather Aviator 8359 Y62 Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban Rb2132 6054/85 *new Wayfarer* & CaseRay Ban *wayfarer* 50mm Rb2140 955 & CaseRay Ban *signature* Rare Prints Wayfarer 50mm Rb2140 1016 & CaseRay Ban Rb2140 962/40 50mm Wayfarer And Case 70's Bl5022 *wayfarer* B&l Ray Ban Usa & Case Ray Ban Rb3447 Round Metal Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban Rb3025 112/17 55mm Small Aviator Large Metal & CaseVintage Ray Ban Bausch & Lomb Wayfarer Ii Mint In Package! Case! Box! Wow! Usa!B&l Ray Ban *blonde Frost* Wayfarer Ii, 54mm Lens.B&l Ray Ban *wayfarer Max Ii* W1273 Sunglasses & Chloe CaseRare B&l Folding Wayfarer Ray Ban Frame France, Matte Black Rare B&l Folding Wayfarer Ray Ban W0670, Matte Black **new Vintage Ray-ban By B&l Engraved 24k Gp Oval "lennon Style" *nos Sunglasses Early Antique Silver Civil War Look Mcallister Sunglasses Turn Pin Spectacles B&l Ray Ban L1724 Wayfarer Ii, 54mm Lens & Prada CaseOriginal Vintage Wings (ray Ban) Brown Lens By Bausch&lomb UsaCartier Vendome Santos Aviator Sunglasses Frame Original Owner Boxes Papers**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Arista 58m Black Chrome *nos 1990s Sunglasses+Vintage U.s.a Rayban Aviator Outdoorsman B&l Lenses Sunglasses In Leather Case Vtg B&l Ray-ban Usa W1662 Wnas Chromax 58mm Driving Series Aviator SunglassesVtg Ray Ban Aviator Pilot Sunglasses Gold Color Frames Green Lenses W/ Case B&l Ray Ban *wayfarer* Large 54mm Rb2140 & Case90's B&l Ray Ban W2188 Sidestreet Oval & Case1970's B&l Ray Ban Vagabond AviatorsLot 19 Pair Sunglasses Aviators, Wayfarers, Clip Ons B&l American Optical & MoreVintage 1970's Ray Ban Aviator Shooting Sunglasses Ambermatic Bausch & LombVintage Ray- Ban B&l "clubmaster "sunglasses! Black.Sidestreet Crosswalk Oval, B&l Ray Ban W2814, Sidecups, Steampunk & CaseVintage B&l Ray Ban Sunglasses 'side Street Diner' Gold &tortoise W2188 W/caseRay Ban Rb4039 *polarised* Lightweight Wraps & CaseVintage B&l Ray Ban Tortoise Shell Gatsby Sunglasses Style 1 W1516 +case+clothSmall Ray Ban Rb3025 004/51 55mm Aviator Large Metal & Case90's W1858 B&l Ray Ban Usa Round Metal Sunglasses + CaseVtg 80s B&l Ray Ban Outdoorsman Ii Arista 24k Gold B-15 Brwn Top Mirror 62mm NosAuthentic Vintage Ray Ban Chromax Driving Series Sunglasses Nos :0)Ray Ban Aviator Style Sunglasses, Cable Hook, 12k Gf, P490**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Predator Series "cats" **nos Matbk Sunglasses&catscaseVintage Bolle Sunglasses Glacier Mountaineering Leather Vents Perfect W/caseVintage Ray Ban Wayfarer 2 Ii L1724 Yyas Bausch & Lomb Black SunglassesAlpina M1 Sunglasses Large 64-14 Bausch & Lomb Rayban Tortoiseshell Design Wayfarer Ii Sunglasses L1745 Nr**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Predator Series "cats" **nos Ebony Sunglasses&catscaseVintage Gold Tone Aviator Outdoorsman Ray Ban Sunglasses90's Vintage Usa Ray Ban 62 14 Aviator Sunglasses And Original CaseVintage Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses. Shield, Gun Metal, Green Tint Rb3211 W/caseRay Ban Rb3025 001/33 Gold 58mm Aviator Large Metal & CaseVintage Ray Ban B&l Wayfarer Ii 2 All Black Sunglasses With Case Bausch Lomb Bin**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Predator "midnight-sky" Side-street **nos Sunglasses++Vintage 60s Chanel Tortoiseshell Oval Sunglasses Vintage Ray-ban B&l Traditional-wayfarer B-15 French Cocoa "cats" 80s SunglassesPorsche Carrera Large Gold Rimmed Sunglasses-interchangeable LensesB&l Ray Ban *predator Ps8* W2175 Wrap Sunglasses & CaseVintage Rare B & L Bausch Lomb Ray Ban Aviator France Style A/l 1568 Sunglasses

Recent News: Sunglasses

Source: Google News

'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

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

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