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 Tobacco Round Blue Lens Sunglasses Vgc 1990's *traditionals* Style P B&l Ray Ban Usa & Case90's B&l Ray Ban *wayfarer Ii Deluxe* W1217 Sunglasses Large 54mm Lens & Case*lennon Style* W0603 B&l Ray Ban Usa Round Metal Sunglasses + CaseRay Ban Rb4105 Folding Wayfarer & Case Etc.V. Rare B&l Ray Ban *gatsby Style 8*, Amber Tortoise, W1523 & CaseVintage Ray-ban B&l*very Rare Wayfarer Montreal "jazzfest '89" Sunglasses&case**mint Vintage Ray-ban Bausch & Lomb Wayfarer Ii 2 Ebony 1980s Sunglasses&caseVintage Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses Mirror Lens 12k Gold Filled #51970's Bl5022 *wayfarer* B&l Ray Ban Usa1990's B&l Ray Ban 52mm Caravan & CaseRay Ban Large *wayfarer* Rb2140 956 54mm & CaseVintage Ray-ban By Bausch & Lomb Wayfarer Ii Ebony 1980s **excellnt SunglassesVintage Ray-ban B&l Wayfarer "blues Brothers" 5022 Ebony Sunglasses&bluebroscaseVintage Steampunk Welding Wwii Flying Motorcycle Leather Sided GogglesWw2 Pilot Sunglasses - American Optical A0 Aviator Glasses 10kgf Usaaf VintageRay Ban *wayfarer* Large 54mm Rb2140 901 & CaseVintage B&l Ray Ban Usa Wayfarer 5024 Black Sunglasses Bausch Lomb Bl LensVintage Ray-ban Aviator Caravan Sunglasses Bausch & Lomb1980's B&l Ray Ban *olympian Ii Deluxe* W1307 Sunglasses & Case7) - A Vintage Pair Of Cartier Sunglasses In Their Original Case + Accessories Ray Ban Rb3449 Semi Rimless Lightweight Aviator 56mm & CaseRay Ban Rb3025 002/40 Aviator Large Metal & CaseVgc Ray Ban Rb3025 112/17 Aviator Large Metal & CaseVintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Outdoorsman Black Chrome 58mm G-15 1990s SunglassesVgc Ray Ban Rb3447 Lennon Style Round Metal Sunglasses & CaseVgc Ray Ban Rb3026, L2846, 62mm Aviator Large Metal Ii & CaseVintage B&l Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses Green Tint With Case 62014B&l Ray Ban 24ct Gold *precious Metals* W1904,58mm Aviator Large Metal & CaseVgc *tortuga Lennon Style* B&l Ray Ban Usa Round Metal Sunglasses + CaseVgc Ray Ban *clubmaster Signature* Ltd Edition Rb3016 1016 51mm Lens & CaseVintage Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Rayban Aopa Aviator Sunglasses Yellow Amber Lens 3B&l Ray Ban *changeables* Photochromic 62mm Aviator Large Metal Ii & CaseVintage Cartier 135b 18k Gold Plated Rosewood SunglassesVgc Ray Ban *clubmaster Aluminium* Rb3507 139/85 & CaseRay Ban Rb3025 001/33 Gold 58mm Aviator Large Metal & CaseVgc Ray Ban *wayfarer* 50mm Rb2140 901 & CaseNos Ray-ban Sunglasses Tortoise ShellVintage Ray Ban Driving Series Including Case! Best Deal On The Block!!Vintage Unused B&l Made In Usa Gold Frame Ray Ban Pilots Sunglasses With CaseBausch & Lomb B&l Ray Ban Vintage Sunglasses Gatsby Tortoise Horn Keyhole W15471980's Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban *drifter* Sunglasses + CaseRay Ban *camouflage Clubmaster* Rb3016 1069 51mm Lens & CaseVgc Ray Ban Rb2140 966 Ltd Edition 47mm Small Wayfarer & CaseRare, 80's Vintage *wings* B&l Ray Ban Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban *signature* Rare Prints Wayfarer Large 54mm Rb2140 1016 & CaseVgc 90's *traditionals Style A* Aviator Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Usa & CaseVintage Oakley M Frame Sweep Mumbo With HammersRay Ban Rb4098 Jackie Ohh Ii Sunglasses And CaseVtg Ray-ban Leathers Sunglasses Bausch And Lomb 621114 Usa With CaseExc Vintage 80s Porsche Design By Carrera Sunglasses Aviator Austria 5623 BlackVintage Ray Ban Aviator Really Good Condition Trimmed Leather Frame, With Case.B&l Ray Ban Usa *chromax Outdoorsman Ii* 62mm, W1665 & CaseRay Ban Rb3025 112/69 Aviator Large Metal & CaseRay Ban *wayfarer* Rb2140 902 & CaseVintage Ray-ban By Bausch & Lomb Wayfarer Ii Ebony 1980s **excellnt SunglassesBausch & Lomb Ray-ban "the General" 1937/1987 50th Anniversary -rare (1) Owner! Vintage Ray Ban Leathers Sunglasses Bausch & Lomb 62 Mm Paddle Rare! Perfect!Vintage Ray-ban Aviator Sunglasses/ Genuine/ With Original Leather Case.*lennon Style Bronze Chip* W1676 B&l Ray Ban Usa Round Metal Sunglasses

Recent News: Sunglasses

Source: Google News

All eyes on independent sunglasses brands
Financial Times, April 18th

“RVS Eyewear stemmed from our first company Rare Vintage Sunglasses [still active today], which started with me collecting rare vintage and antique sunglasses and frames from the 1930s to the 1980s,” says founder Vidal Erkohen. Uninspired by the ...Read more

April 17, 2014 in Fashion & Beauty // Made in Chelsea Season 7 Episode 2 Style ...
Platform Online, April 17th

The first thing I fell in love with this week was Sophie's vintage sunglasses look. A pair like this is definitely on my wish list for summer and is what every girl needs to channel her inner Audrey Hepburn. Both fun and elegant these sunglasses will...Read more

As if! Candice Swanepoel does '90s chic with off-duty retro style
Irish Independent, April 16th

Supermodel Candice Swanepoel looked more like Cher Horowitz from Clueless than a Victoria's Secert Angel in her retro ensemble. Her fluffy pink crop top, faded boyfriend jeans and vintage sunglasses combination is a far cry from her usually glamorous ...Read more

Cara Santana wears silky orange shorts and has a sunny disposition
Daily Mail, April 8th

Accessorising with a brown leather handbag on her arm and a pair of vintage sunglasses, the stunning brunette smiled and waved to photographers. Sunny delight: Cara Santana hit the streets of West Hollywood on Monday wearing silky orange shorts and a ...Read more

Nicola Roberts lets her sleek hair do the talking in black outfit
Daily Mail, April 4th

Hair she goes: Nicola Roberts stepped out in London on Friday with poker straight locks and an all-black outfit. Covering her make-up free face with a pair of vintage sunglasses, Nicola looked fresh-faced and radiant as she headed to her car...Read more

Lady Gaga: Floral and Fabulous
GossipCenter.com, April 2nd

Surrounded by fans, the “Applause” songstress opted for a 1980s-inspired floral top and trousers along with vintage sunglasses and a ginger wig as she arrived at the eatery. Gaga has been performing a string of shows at the legendary Roseland Ballroom, ...Read more

Status and Signifiers: Costume in There Will Be Blood
Clothes on Film, March 31st

Spends too much time analysing the clothes of fictional characters and too much money on vintage sunglasses. NOTE: Images have been screencapped from Blu-ray edition and cropped to better highlight costumes. © 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty...Read more

The Sunglass Fix Announces New Replacement Lenses for Vintage Frames
PR Web (press release), March 25th

Thanks to new, precise equipment and specially trained technicians, The Sunglass Fix now manufactures and fits lenses for vintage sunglasses, including rare and unique models. "Our technicians are specially trained in custom cut and fitting lenses," ...Read more