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    

Rare B&l Ray Ban Gatsby Style 1 W0931, Rb-3 Lens & CaseB&l Ray Ban 'the General Ii' W0364 Outdoorsman Aviator Rb-50 & Case90's B&l Ray Ban Large Explorer W0504 & CaseVintage "bausch & Lomb - 62[]14 Ray-ban Ambermatics + Extras" Lot Collectible Ray Ban Bausch & Lomb Aviator Gold 5814 Sunglasses Green Tint8 Pairs Of Vintage Courreges Eskimo Sunglasses - Rare !! - 99p StartB&l Ray Ban Arctic Cats G-31 Mirrored Lens Glacier Sunglasses GogglesRay Ban Rb3507 Clubmaster Aluminium 137/40 & Case80's *folding Wayfarer* B&l Ray Ban Usa & Case 90's B&l Ray Ban Outdoorsman Ii 62mm Aviator Large Metal W0229 & CaseVintage Ray Ban Bausch And Lomb Pink Rose Changeable Sunglasses AviatorsRay Ban Rb3447 Polarized Round Metal 50mm Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban Rb2132 622 55mm New Wayfarer & Case Etc.Vintage B&l Ray Ban Double Gradient Mirror Aviator 1/10 12k Gf 58mm Sunglasses B-15 Mirrored Lens B&l Ray Ban Aviator Large Metal Driving Series 58mm & Case80's Bl5022 *wayfarer* B&l Ray Ban Usa & Case B&l Ray Ban *tortuga* 62mm Aviator Large Metal Ii W2181 & CaseAwesome Vintage B&l Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Caravan Square Aviator SunglassesOrig. Vintage Boeing Carrera Sunglasses From 1989, Nos + Box, Mod. 5731 LargeRay Ban 47mm Small Rb2140 Wayfarer 902/51 & CaseRay Ban Rb4165 "justin" 852/88 Sunglasses & CaseOrig. Vintage Gianni Versace Sunglasses, 402, Late 80's / Early 90's, UnwornB&l Ray Ban *air Boss* Orbs Aviator Wraps W2614 & Case1992 B&l Ray Ban Barcelona *olympic Games Series* Wayfarer, 50mm LensVintage Ray-ban Wayfarer Tortoise Shell Baush & Lomb B&l 5022 Sunglasses U.s.a. **new Vintage Ray-ban B&l*traditionals "asbury" Wayfarer Tortoise Nos SunglassesVintage Ray-ban B&l Wayfarer Electric Pearl **excellent Sunglasses & Wayfer CaseBausch & Lomb Wings Green Lens Ray-ban Vintage Sunglasses In Case90's B&l Ray Ban Round Metal Mirror W1861 Sunglasses & Case1990's Blond Frost B&l Ray Ban Wayfarer Ii, 54mm LensRay Ban Large *wayfarer* Rb2140 902 54mm & CaseRay-ban 50th Anniversary "the General" Sunglasses 62mm Bausch & Lomb Lens* 80's Carrera 5544 Glacier Mountain Ski Sunglasses Goggles Vintage Ray Ban Gold Aviator Shooter Yellow Sunglasses 12k Bausch Lomb 1/10 GfOrig. Vintage Boeing Carrera Sunglasses From 1989, New Old Stock, Mod 5731 LargeVintage Ray Ban 50 Sunglasses W/ CaseRay Ban Rb4105 710 Folding Wayfarer & Case Etc.Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator-pilot Outdoorsman 1970s Gold 58-rb-3 Sunglasses&caseLot Vintage Sunglasses Ted Lapidus Charles Jourdan Perry Ellis Oscar De La RentaRay Ban Rb2132 710 55mm New Wayfarer & Case Etc.B&l Ray Ban *clubmaster* W0366 49mm & CaseRay - Ban Ambermatic Shooting Glasses Sun Glasses Raybans Ray Bans Amber MaticRay Ban Rb3507 Clubmaster Aluminium 139/85 & CaseRay Ban Rb4175 Clubmaster Oversized & CaseRay Ban Rb4125 Cats 5000 710/51 Aviator & CaseVintage Leather Steampunk/motorcycle/ski Sunglasses Goggles Side Cups80's Bl5022 *wayfarer* B&l Ray Ban Usa & CaseOrig. Vintage Alpina Goldwings Designer Sunglasses From 1989, Gaga, Kanye, BlackRay Ban Rb2140 50mm Wayfarer 954 & CaseVintage Gianni Versace Retro Green Art Deco Modern Sunglasses Made In Italy 455Ray Ban Rb3025jm 001 58mm Aviator Full Colour & CaseLot Of 3 Vntg, Authentic Ray Ban Sunglasses W/ Cases! Aviator, Shooter,caravan!Ray Ban Rb4105 Large 54mm Folding WayfarerVtg 1960's French Renauld Sea & Ski Spectaculars Soft Vintage Renauld CaseRay Ban Rb3025 001/51 58mm Aviator Large Metal & Case90's B&l Ray Ban Round Metal W0603 Sunglasses & CaseNos 90's *traditionals Premier E* W0868 Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Vintage 1980's Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses 5024 Tortoise ShellRay Ban Rb4125 Flash Lens Cats 5000 646/17 Aviator & Case1990's B&l Ray Ban L1725 Wayfarer Ii, 54mm Lens

Recent News: Sunglasses

Source: Google News

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