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”)



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]



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 B&l Ray Ban *changeables* Photochromic 62mm Aviator Large Metal Ii & CaseVintage B&l Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses Green Tint With Case 62014Ray Ban *new Wayfarer* Rb2132 902, 52mm & Case*lennon Style Bronze Chip* W1676 B&l Ray Ban Usa Round Metal SunglassesVintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Ww Ii 12k Gf 1940/50s Sunglasses&original Case1970's Bl5022 *wayfarer* B&l Ray Ban UsaRay Ban Rb3447 001 Lennon Style Round Metal Sunglasses & CaseB&l Ray Ban Usa *chromax Outdoorsman Ii* 62mm, W1665 & Case7) - A Vintage Pair Of Cartier Sunglasses In Their Original Case + Accessories 1990's B&l Ray Ban 58mm Caravan & CaseVintage Bausch & Lomb Ray-ban Leathers SunglassesVintage Ray-ban By Bausch & Lomb Wayfarer Ii Ebony 1980s **excellnt SunglassesB & L Ray-ban The General Gold Rim Aviator Sunglasses Rare Bullet Hole U.s.a.Ray Ban *signature* Rare Prints Wayfarer 50mm Rb2140 1016 & CaseRay Ban Rb3190 *flight* Wraps & CaseRay Ban *polarized* Rb3186 Semi Rimless Lightweight Wraps & Case B&l Ray Ban *clubmaster* W0365 Sunglasses & CaseRay Ban Rb4105 601s Matte Black Folding Wayfarer & Case Etc.Vintage Ray Ban Leathers Sunglasses Bausch & Lomb 62 Mm Paddle Rare! Perfect!Ray Ban Chromax Ace Lens 62mm New With Tags. Exc Vintage 80s Porsche Design By Carrera Sunglasses Aviator Austria 5623 BlackVintage Steampunk Welding Wwii Flying Motorcycle Goggles62mm Rare Ray Ban Aviator Tortuga Diamond W1508 Vintage Sun Glasses. No ReserveVintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Outdoorsman Gold 58mm G-15 1970s Sunglasses W/case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Wayfarer 5022 "blue&gold Mosaic" **nos Sunglasses+++Ray Ban Rb4068 Highstreet Wraps Sunglasses & CaseVintage 5022 Rayban Sunglasses Wayfarer B&lMoscot Lemtosh Original Sunglasses Blonde Tortoise Green Glass Lenses Rare *blond Frost* Wayfarer Ii Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban Usa & Bluebay CaseVintage Ray Ban Aviators Bausch & Lomb Purple Frame Rare! Perfect! With Case!Bao Steampunk Welding Wwii Flying Motorcycle Leather Sided GogglesVintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator Arista L2846 Gold 62mm G-15 1990s Sunglasses W/caseVintage Cartier Eyeglasses/sunglasses FrameB&l Ray Ban *wayfarer Ii* W1211 Sunglasses Large 54mm LensRay Ban Rb3186 Top Bar Rectangle Semi Rimless Lightweight Wraps & Case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Aviator "orbs 6 Base" Brushed Gold **nos Sunglasses+++Vintage Ray Ban Ray-ban Pilot Bomber Sunglasses Glasses Green Lense W/ Case NrVintage B&l Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses - Gold Frames 58-14 Ray Ban B&l 90's Yellow Tortoise Wayfarer 5022Vintage B&l Ray Ban Leathers 58 [ ] 14 Aviator Sunglasses & Case Vintage B&l Ray Ban Usa Balorama L2870 Black Wrap SunglassesVintage Bausch & Lomb Black Metal Aviator Sunglasses Made In Usa Ray-ban Case Ray Ban Rb3025 112/69 Aviator Large Metal & CaseB&l Ray-ban Triangle Cardboard For "the General" Aviator Sunglasses Vintage Vintage 1950's Ray Ban B & L Aviator Sunglasses 1 / 10 12k Gf With Leather CaseVintage Ray Ban Aviator Gold Frame Tortoise Shell Sunglasses 62 14 Mm + Case B&lTrue Vintage Wwii Era Ray Ban Aviator Signet Sunglasses B&l 12k Gf 52-22*polarized Lennon Style* Ray Ban Rb3447 50mm Round Sunglasses & CaseVintage 1940s B&l Bausch & Lomb Ray Ban 12k Gold Filled Pilot Aviator SunglassesRay Ban Rb4105 Folding Wayfarer & Case Etc.Vintage Yellow Lens Ray Ban Bullet Hole Shooter Aviator Sunglasses1960's B&l Ray Ban Olympian & CaseRay Ban Wayfarer IiVtg 1950's B & L Ray Ban Aviator Shooting Glasses 1/10 12k Gf W/case Vintage Bausch & Lomb Ray-ban Real Thin Gold Rim Aviator Sunglasses Rare Usa VerVintage B&l Ray Ban 62 [ ] 14 Aviator Gold Frame Sunglasses & Case Ray Ban Sidestreet Crosswalk Oval, B&l W2814, Sidecups, Steampunk + Case**new Vintage Ray-ban B&l Wayfarer 5022 "electric-turquoise" **nos SunglassesVintage Ray-ban B&l "signet" Aviator-clubmaster Black Chrome**nrmint 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

Her fluffy pink crop top, faded boyfriend jeans and vintage sunglasses combination is a far cry from her usually glamorous appearance on the runway. The 25-year-old is currently in London with fellow Angel Adriana Lima to promote the lingerie giant's ...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