Style: Wayfarer Sunglasses

This simple and stylish summer outfit would look great paired with classic black wayfarer sunglasses. Photo: Urban Thrift

This simple and stylish summer outfit would look great paired with classic black wayfarer sunglasses.
Photo: Urban Thrift

In the mid 1950s, Ray-Ban, the brand behind aviator sunglasses, created glasses with plastic frames that became known as the wayfarer. This now-iconic design was a huge break from styles of the past. The angular shape and plastic frame made these shades stand out among the lightweight metal-framed eyewear of the day. Stars such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Bob Dylan, and Audrey Hepburn wore these glasses on or offstage, boosting their popularity with consumers and fashionistas everywhere.

Wayfarer shades remained trendy throughout the 1960s. They experienced a resurgence in popularity during the 1980s and were once again sported by celebrities, musicians, and other public figures.

At Urban Thrift, we have both classic style wayfarers and their bolder counterparts. Photo:  Urban Thrift

At Urban Thrift, we have both classic style wayfarers and their bolder counterparts.
Photo: Urban Thrift

Part of this was due to a deliberate marketing plan: in order to rebuild their flagging popularity, Ray Ban used product placement in over 60 movies during this era. However, this boost in sales dropped off in the the 1990s, which prompted designers to go back to the drawing board. They revisited the Wayfarer to update the style and render them more versatile by downsizing the frame slightly and rounding off some of the angular edges. This updated frame became popular for sunglasses, and has also been used for prescription glasses over the last few years. Today, both the classic vintage wayfarer and the redesign are popular.

There are now  tons of variations on wayfarer frames: there’s something to suit any wardrobe. The monochromatic vintage style can be dressed either up or down depending on your mood, because it pairs just as well with a red lip or dressy shirt as they do with summer skirts or casual shorts. However, if you want to add a pop of colour to your summer look, bold frames have also become very popular for both men and women. So are patterned frames and colourful, partially tinted or mirrored lenses. We think that these look fantastic with shorts, a T-shirt, and fun sneakers for a bright and carefree summer look.

Will you be wearing wayfarers this summer? Let us know what kind of sunglasses are your favourite on Facebook or in the comments section!

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