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.

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Recent News: Sunglasses

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How to Pack for a Year of Travel in One Carry-On
Condé Nast Traveler, November 4th

Inside I keep a tube of MAC lipstick in Ruby Woo; a YSL Radiant powder compact; vintage sunglasses, coin purse, and wallet; a cute Japanese notebook, ideal for tracking daily spending and scribbling quick notes; a lightweight Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX 100 ...Read more

Portland Threads: Halloween
GoLocalPDX, November 1st

An all black ensemble, hand me down gold jewelry, and a pair of vintage sunglasses, worn by a young woman, looked like something the vampire gang cast of the 1980's movie The Lost Boys would wear. Finally, perfectly layered looks were achieved by ...Read more

On the Frontline of Ukrainian Democracy
Roads and Kingdoms, October 30th

“This is the last day I'm smiling,” a jovial committee member with a pair of vintage sunglasses tucked into his collar tells us in English. He's referring to the exhausting hours and paperwork that await him and his colleagues after the vote. Wearing...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

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

Fendi goes trendy, creates futuristic vintage sunglasses
India Today, November 8th

Italian fashion house Fendi will tap the talent of French designer Thierry Lasry to design its Spring/Summer 2015 capsule sunglass collection. Over the past couple of years, building on the concept of "futuristic vintage", fusing vintage inspirations...Read more

15 Unique Vintage Sunglasses
Care2.com, July 15th

So this week, I wanted to roundup the best of the best vintage sunglasses! If you dig the list but want to buy local, try scooping out your local thrift shop for options or Googling your town name + “vintage sunglasses” to see if you happen to have a...Read more

Jeremih & The Vintage Frames Company: Private Vintage Sunglasses ...
YouTube, August 30th

Jeremih summons the crew of The Vintage Frames Company to roll through Toronto to get him dipped in some Vintage Sunglasses and Vintage Chains. Corey Shapiro (Vintage Frames Company) and the whole team rolls out to Toronto to set Jeremih up with ...Read more