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Fashion Accessories

Brief History of Sunglasses

One should never leave home without your trusty pair of sunglasses, especially on a sunny day, no matter what season. Although fashion tends to dictate which styles of sunglasses are trendy, you should look to make sure that the sunglasses you decide to purchase are able to block out 100% of harmful UV rays. This article will explain a brief history of sunglasses starting off with the five most popular models of sunglasses that have been worn throughout the last 70 years.

 

Wraparound Shades

 

Largely first made popular in the early 1990s wraparound sunglasses are the number one choice for athletes, from regular teams sports to extreme sports.

 

Oversized Sunglasses

 

Oversized sunglasses first became popular in the 1960’s when women purchased them to mimic the ones famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They have recently made a comeback once again in the 21st century and their popularity is largely due to fashionistas like Paris Hilton.

 

Teashade Sunglasses

 

Teashades, also known as John Lennon glasses, were very popular in the 1960’s, but have largely fallen out of fashion since then. It is rumoured that they are making a comeback with recent paparazzi photos of famous actresses and musicians sporting the teashade frames.

 

Aviators

 

The Aviator design was introduced in 1936 specifically for U.S. military pilots and was not made available to the public until a few years later. In 1986 Tom Cruise popularized Aviators as ace pilot Maverick in the movie Top Gun.

 

Ray-Ban Wayfarer

 

Created in 1952 Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer sunglasses opted for plastic frames rather than the tradition metal ones. Originally developed for pilots, Wayfarers quickly became popular amongst Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. In 1961 Audrey Hepburn wore them in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Tom Cruise sported them in the 1983 film Risky Business. Even today the Wayfarer is still a popular model of sunglasses.

 

Although sunglasses have been a popular fashion accessory in the last 70 years, sunglasses actually date back much further in history. The first ever ‘sunglasses’ were made from walrus ivory and date back to prehistoric times. Inuit peoples fashioned flattened walrus ivory with narrow slits to help protect their eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. In arctic regions unprotected eyes will be affected by what is known as snow blindness.

 

It wasn’t until the 12th century that we have written evidence of sunglasses being used in China. These first sunglasses where comprised of flat panes of smoky quartz and were used to protect the eyes from the sun. The 20th century is when the use of sunglasses really took off. In 1929 Sam Foster began mass-producing sunglasses for the American public and from there many companies flourished by simply making sunglasses.

 

So whether your choice of wearing sunglasses is due to fashion or simply a choice to protect your eyes from the sun, remember that sunglasses do not have to be expensive to work properly. They should however be able to protect your eyes from UV rays. A good pair of sunglasses, whether they are a designer pair or cheap knockoffs, should be able to block out 100% of harmful UV rays.