A Retrospective: Sunglasses Then and Now

Far beyond being just a practical solution for protecting your eyes from that long-awaited summer sunshine, sunglasses are a staple style essential for any fashionable individual packing their bags for that luxury holiday.

Sunglasses attract a great deal of attention at Fashion Weeks worldwide every year and like every other fashion accessory, different styles of sunglasses periodically come in and go out of fashion, adapting to suit the contemporary market.


The 1960’s saw a battle between the stylish and innovative lens technologies of the Aviator sunglasses, first introduced by Ray-Ban in 1937, and the fresh, colourfully embellished ‘Teashades’, such as the iconic ‘LOVE’ sunglasses synonymous with the late 60’s.

Love Sunglasses worn by Marianne Faithfull


By the 1970’s, main-stream fashionable sunglasses boasted a host of new quality designers such as Bausch & Lomb, Carrera, and Oakley.


Designer labels took over the sunglasses arena in the 1980’s, with established fashion giants like Dior dominating the market with their flashy, over-sized and glamorous style, made immensely popular by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (or Jackie O). This trend continued well into the 1990’s, with a horde of fashionable jet-setting celebrities donning over-sized, high-profile label sunglasses as their choice of luxury vacation accessory.

Jackie O Sunglasses


After witnessing the sensational stir which sunglasses featured by designer giants, including Paul Smith, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Burberry caused at Fashion Weeks in New York, London and Milan, it is clear that this season’s trending sunglasses styles are all about the frames.

Unisex styles dominant this year. Thick D frame sunglasses, such as Céline Shadow Ombre Sunglasses, and the sophisticated refined shapes of designers such as Prada and Jil Sander are placed in the spotlight, alongside simple yet quirky experimentations with geometric shapes and patterns.

Celine Shadow Ombre Sunglasses
Celine Shadow Ombre Sunglasses

The classic Ray Ban Aviator also resurfaces for this season. Delightfully unisex the Ray Ban Aviator gets a contemporary twist this summer with an injection of colour. Frames ranging from electric blue to burnt orange, gunmetal grey to silvery green prove the allure of this iconic and effortlessly cool style to be consistently strong.

Feminine fashion offers in addition to these delightfully unisex styles glossy, sophisticated cat-eye shapes specs, as featured by Dita Magnifique. The psychedelic colours and embellishments of the 1960’s also make a huge return to contemporary female fashion including the pretty pastels colours, those candyfloss pinks, peppermint greens and lemon yellows, as featured by Dior in their innovative range of butterfly-framed metallic sunglasses.

Sunglasses styles 2013
Left: Dita Magnifique Right: Dior Demoiselle 1

From kooky star design sunglasses to Hollywood-glamour frames, sunglasses for summer 2013 are all about taking the vintage and adding that little contemporary twist.

written by Hannah Tyrell

1 thought on “A Retrospective: Sunglasses Then and Now”

  1. There sure are a lot of posts about the history of sunglasses. I like this one because of all the vintage photos. Look at the size of those Jackie O’s! Those are what I need.

    Have you seen the playful interactive infographic CTS Wholesale Sunglasses had created? Every time I open it I think of the paper dolls we played with as kids – the ones with the white tabs that folded over when you put them on the dolls. Check it out at http://www.ctswholesalesunglasses.com/content/history-of-sunglasses/

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