Though invented primarily to protect from bright sunlight, sunglasses have grown to become a must-have fashion accessory across genders, through era-defining movie stars and fashion imagery which have contributed to sunglasses’ position as the epitome of cool. Several vintage sunglasses designs have reached iconic status - below we have untangled the most significant styles over the decades to help you in your search for the perfect vintage sunglasses.
Aviator sunglasses have rocketed in popularity over the years, originally launched for US military aviators but made popular through people like Douglas MacArthur, sporting the style at a theatre in the 1940s, through to the hippies of the 1960s, iconic musicians like John Lennon in the 1970s and product placements in films like Top Gun in the 1980s.
A traditional design based on 1950s eyeglasses, browlines were adapted into sunglasses in the 1980s and their retro appeal has made them a recurring favourite amongst fashionistas and festival-goers. Ray Ban’s Clubmaster (a version of the Wayfarer) is probably the most style-defining pair.
Famously worn by Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s, oversized sunglasses are often round or oval in shape, and enjoyed a revive in the early 2000s when contemporary celebrities started to use them to hide from paparazzis.
Sometimes referred to as “John Lennon glasses”, have gained their sartorial status mainly through prominent rock stars like named Lennon, Mick Jagger, Liam Gallagher and Ozzy Osbourne.
Ray Ban’s Wayfarer’s are arguably one of the most iconic sunglasses styles there is. Introduced in 1952, the style has been sported by icons like James Dean, Roy Orbison and Bob Marley, and tweaked a couple of times to mirror the times.
OfV says: On the ski slopes, in the city or at the beach, reference A-listers of the past and present with a pair of oversized designer sunglasses; unisex icons Clubmasters, Aviators or Wayfarers; or classic vintage cat’s eyes sunglasses for a retro spin. Browse Open for Vintage’s decade-spanning edit of vintage sunglasses including Medusa-embellished vintage Versace sunglasses; Chanel’s celeb favourite statement logo shades; or Yves Saint Laurent’s unconventionally shaped 1970s sunnies channelling Yves own iconic personal style. Also – a pair of unique vintage sunglasses is the ultimate conversation starter at the Summer party.
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