Best Fishing Glasses? Why Polarized Sunglasses are Better for Fishing

Polarized sunglasses are indeed useful for fishing. They reduce glare and help the angler better see into the water to spot fish, habitat, and structure. Professional anglers know this, and you won’t find one without polarized sunglasses on the water. Fishing guides also understand the value of polarized lenses. But you don’t have to be a pro to take advantage of polarized lenses for fishing. A recreational angler can gain the same advantages.

For a limited time: Get a free solar charger when you purchase a new pair of Costa sunglasses! Perfect for keeping your phone charged on the fishing boat. 

Polarized Fishing Sunglasses Provide Better Vision

It’s no secret that polarized sunglasses cut glare and provide sharper, clearer vision. That makes a huge difference on the water. The sun’s rays reflect off the water’s surface, making it harder to see. Polarized sunglasses cut that glare so fishers can see above the water, and also into the water. Depending on the water’s depth, polarized sunglasses often help anglers see all the way to to the bottom. When you know the structure of a shallow lake, pond, or river, as well as submerged rocks, logs, and vegetation—you increase your chances of success. Of course, in certain conditions, seeing the bottom can also help the angler spot fish, such as trout holding in the river current, or a bass near a submerged log. And remember that prescription polarized sunglasses are available if you wear prescription glasses.

Make Sure your Fishing Glasses have UV Protection

Improving your sight and thus improving your angling success is the key advantage to wearing polarized lenses, but it’s important to protect your eyesight against ultraviolet light. UV rays can cause permanent damage, and the intense sun coming off the water puts anglers at particular risk. Ensure that your polarized lenses offer 100 percent UV protection. Polarization alone does not protect against UV rays—UV protection is another layer that must be added to the lenses.

Buying Polarized Fishing Sunglasses

There are a few sunglasses manufacturers who specialize in polarized sunglasses for fishing, including Costa Del Mar and Maui Jim. Good fishing sunglasses will also block light entering through the periphery of the frames, so wraparound designs are helpful. And don’t forget the strap for your glasses. A short strap allows you to remove your fishing sunglasses when you need to, and keeps them out of the way while you’re trying to land a fish, or release that fish back into the water. Some straps also have flotation built in, giving you an extra measure of security if they somehow get knocked into the water.

Get a new pair of Costa fishing sunglasses and a free solar charger now at FramesDirect.com while supplies last!

Should I Wear Sunglasses While Driving?

You should wear sunglasses while driving to improve safety and comfort, both of which will be enhanced if you choose the right lenses for your sunglasses—lenses with the proper tint, polarization, and UV protection.

How Do Sunglasses Help While I’m Driving?

Seeing clearly while driving is essential, and wearing sunglasses will help in most cases. Whether it’s bright and sunny out, or even when the skies are overcast, sunglasses help out a ton. And polarized sunglasses in particular reduce glare coming off the road, other vehicles, and from other sources. Polarized lenses not only reduce the glare, they make objects sharper and enhance colors on the road, providing a crisp view and safer driving.

Should I Wear Polarized Sunglasses?

Yes, you should wear polarized sunglasses while driving. Polarization is what provides the clarity when there is glare on the road, one of the biggest impediments to safety behind the wheel. The sun coming off another car’s windshield, a piece of metal, or the wet road can make it extremely hard to see. Police reports often cite glare as a cause of a crash. But even if you are able to arrive at your destination safely, driving without sunglasses can leave you fatigued and can lead to vision problems in the long term.

Sunglasses May Help in Rain and Fog

Sunglasses will help, but polarized lenses in your driving glasses will help you see better in rainy or foggy conditions. Without polarization your glasses will simply make it darker and harder for you to see. But a lens with a lighter tint and polarization can make foggy or hazy conditions more clear. Polarization helps clear up the glare caused by light reflecting off the wet road and objects. Polarized lenses also filter the haze caused by humidity in the air.

How Dark Should My Driving Sunglasses Be?

Good driving sunglasses will not allow too much or too little light to get through. Sunglasses you use at the beach or for other activities outside in the bright sun may not be the best for driving. Many drivers will buy two or more pairs of sunglasses for driving. Glasses with a dark tint will be appropriate for the brightest days. But you’ll need a lighter tint on days when the sun is less bright, or for overcast, foggy, or even rainy days. Drivers too often buy the darkest tint they can find and ignore them when it’s cloudy. That’s a mistake. Good sunglasses can be helpful on days with less sun, providing a crisper view and improved visibility. But how much tint do you need?

  • Strong sun – 70% to 85% tint
  • Medium sun – 40%-55% tint
  • Low sun – 15% to 30% tint

Avoid wearing sunglasses darker than 5% to 10% for driving at night.

Other Types of Lenses for Driving

If you’d prefer to buy only one pair of glasses, there are a couple of options. Photochromic lenses change with the amount of light — turning darker the more light is detected. Just make sure you buy lenses that are sensitive to visible light as well as ultraviolet light. Vehicle windshields often have UV filters, which can make your photochromic glasses react differently to UV light than they will to visible light.

Another popular type of lens is the graduated tint lens, ideal for drivers who find wearing darker sunglasses difficult when they try to read the car’s instrument panel. But you don’t have to settle on one tint for the entire lens in your driving sunglasses. Graduated lenses can have a darker tint in the top portion of the lens to block out the strongest sunlight, giving way to a lighter tint near the bottom to better see your instruments inside the vehicle.

Ray-Ban New Wayfarer RB2132 with Gradient Tint

Should I Get UV Protection Sunglasses?

Yes, ultraviolet light protection is important in all glasses, but particularly in sunglasses. The darker tints in sunglasses let your pupil enlarge, exposing your eye to potential UV damage. Contrary to popular belief, polarized glasses do not automatically include UV protection—it has to be added to the lenses.

What is UV Protection and How Do UV Sunglasses Help?

UV glasses, which protect against ultraviolet radiation, are growing in popularity as more and more people learn about the harmful rays from the sun. While most people protect their skin from the sun, some don’t realize they should protect their vision. After all, your eyes absorb the same harmful rays. UV blocking glasses can help prevent serious damage. The health risks are real and include cataracts and macular degeneration. UV protection sunglasses may help prevent the damage UV radiation can do to your eyes.

Risks of Eye Exposure to UV Light?

There are three different types of ultraviolet radiation — UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. You probably don’t hear much about UV-C because the earth’s ozone layer absorbs it so its threat is minimal to nonexistent. But UV-A and UV-B each can cause long-term and short-term damage to your eyes and your vision. And while the sun is the daily risk when it comes to ultraviolet radiation, welding machines, tanning beds, and lasers can also produce UV rays.

Short-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation without wearing UV protection sunglasses will most likely cause short-term effects similar to a sunburn, but in your eye. Your eyes may be red and puffy and could feel gritty, like you have sand in them. You could be very sensitive to light and may suffer excessive tearing. Fortunately, these symptoms are usually only temporary. But if your eyes are exposed to long-term solar radiation, you stand a greater risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life.

What are UV Protection Sunglasses?

UV protection means blocking the ultraviolet light from reaching your eyes. Just as sunscreen helps protect your skin from UV damage, UV glasses block most of the ultraviolet rays reaching your eyes. It’s possible to block 99 percent to 100 percent of ultraviolet rays from reaching your delicate eyes and causing damage.

UV sunglasses, however, must offer both UV-A and UV-B protection to block at least 99 percent of ultraviolet radiation. They should also block 75 percent to 90 percent of all visible light to maximize protection. Be cautious of buying sunglasses that are not UV-blocking glasses. The dark tint may allow your pupils to remain larger, exposing you to greater impacts from UV radiation.

Anybody who spends a lot of time outdoors should consider wearing wraparound UV glasses to cut down the amount of UV radiation that may enter the eyes from the periphery. And, it’s important not to forget children and teenagers. While it may be tempting to skimp on children’s UV sunglasses, don’t! Protecting children’s eyes is especially important because they spend so much time outdoors.

Does Polarization Mean UV Protection?

Some people get confused by the difference between the terms polarization or polarized sunglasses and UV sunglasses. They are not the same thing, even if some companies advertise them together. While most polarized lenses are also UV-blocking glasses, polarization by itself does not protect your eyes from UV radiation. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, “polarization is unrelated to UV protection, so you still need to ensure UV absorption of the lenses.”

The effects of a polarizing filter on the sky in a photograph. The picture on the right uses the filter.

Do Regular Glasses Have UV Protection?

UV protection may be applied to regular sunglasses. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says “UV coatings on prescription clear lenses are as effective as those on sunglasses.” The AAO points out that it is not the dark tint that blocks the UV radiation, but the UV coating that is applied. Also, the type of lens material matters. According to the AAO, polycarbonate lenses block ultraviolet radiation without any coating, but plastic lenses must have the coating added to be considered UV blocking glasses.

Make sure you buy sunglasses with UV protection or you’re risking eye problems later in life. And when you get regular prescription glasses, opt for the UV coating to better protect your eyes all the time.

Featured image: jase on Flickr

What Happens if You Wear Glasses When You Don’t Need Them?

Your friend has new eyeglasses, and curiosity has gotten the better of you. You’ve never needed glasses and you wonder what it’s like to wear them. But after trying on the flashy new specs, you feel disoriented, dizzy, or even get a headache. Your eyes have a difficult time focusing, even after you remove the glasses. It seemed harmless to wear your friend’s new prescription glasses, but now you wonder if you’ve damaged your eyesight. Can wearing glasses when you don’t need them, or wearing someone else’s prescription, ruin your vision?

You can relax. While wearing glasses when you don’t need them may cause discomfort, it won’t permanently damage your vision. Wearing glasses doesn’t change your eyesight—they won’t weaken your eyes or make them stronger. The appropriate strength lenses allow your eyes to focus to provide clearer vision only while you’re wearing them.

Should You Wear Glasses You Don’t Need?

Though you won’t damage your eyes by wearing someone else’s glasses, the wrong prescription—or even a new prescription in your own glasses—may cause headaches, eye strain, blurry vision, watery eyes, and dizziness. What causes these symptoms? Your eyes and brain ‘speak’ to each other, and wearing a pair of glasses made for someone else confuses the message sent to your brain. Your retina sees an image that is out of focus, blurry, and distorted as the correction isn’t appropriate for your eyes. Both your eyes and brain have to work harder, which causes eye strain and discomfort. The discomfort caused by wearing someone else’s prescription will ease soon after you remove the glasses.

Eyeglasses, whether prescribed or unprescribed, will not accelerate deterioration of your vision. Weakening vision is something that happens to all of us as we age, with or without corrective lenses. Likewise, you will not improve your eyes by wearing glasses. Glasses don’t change your eyes –  the lenses only bring the world into focus to allow you to see clearly while you are wearing them. You won’t make your vision better or worse as a result of wearing glasses.

Wearing glasses when you don’t need them will not damage your eyes, but there’s no reason you should be uncomfortable if you want make a statement with eyewear. If you want glasses for fashion rather than for vision correction, save yourself the headache and order your frames with plano, or non-prescription lenses.

Main image credit Matt Stratton on Flickr.

Are Contact Lens Prescriptions and Glasses Prescriptions the Same?

Are contact lens prescriptions and glasses prescriptions the same? In other words, can you use your glasses prescription to order contact lenses? The short answer is no, probably not. Glasses prescriptions and contacts prescriptions are not interchangeable.

Your eyeglasses prescription is not likely to be the same as your prescription for contact lenses. That means that even if you already have glasses, you will need a separate prescription for contact lenses. A current prescription is required by law for any retailer to sell you contact lenses, as many factors come together to determine your ideal contact lens prescription.

How do glasses and contact prescriptions differ?

A contact lens rests directly on your eye, while eyeglasses sit 10-12 millimeters away from your eyes. Glasses prescriptions take into consideration the distance from your eyes to the lenses. That means the same prescription would be too strong for contact lenses.

Your eye doctor will check for proper fit and prescribe contact lenses based on the size and shape of your eye. He will determine the base curve (BC), or shape of your cornea, and diameter (DIA), or size of the lens—measurements you would not find on a prescription for eyewear. If you have an astigmatism, your glasses lenses would be shaped to correct it, but contact lenses need to be properly fitted to ensure the appropriate correction.

A prescription for contacts also specifies a brand, as fit and material vary from brand to brand. A change in brand requires another visit to an optician to ensure the new lenses fit as they should.

Lens strength and measurements aren’t the only considerations. Contacts are not appropriate for everyone. Conditions such as dry eye, blepharitis, hard to fit eyes, or an uncommon prescription may cause damage or discomfort. Discuss contact use with your optometrist if you have any of those conditions.

What about online prescription calculators?

While online conversion tools are readily available, only professionals should use them. A prescription for contacts also expires after a year, while eyeglasses prescriptions can be valid for two years. Further, while eye doctors can convert glasses prescriptions to contact prescriptions, this practice doesn’t work in reverse.

If you are considering contact lenses, visit your optometrist for a contact lens consultation and fitting. Your eye doctor is required to provide you a prescription after a contact lens fitting so you may purchase your contact lenses online or through another retailer.

So, if you’re ready to switch out your frames for a pair of contact lenses, either part-time or full-time, head to the eye doctor’s office to figure out exactly what prescription will give you the best possible vision.

Are Non-Prescription Glasses Safe?

As we age we may find it more difficult to make out smaller print or fine details; many often joke about needing longer arms as they stretch to read a book. Changes in the eye due to presbyopia make it harder for eyes to focus, and it happens to all of us beginning around the age of 40. If you can’t see your crossword puzzle as clearly as you used to, a little magnification may be all you need. Inexpensive reading glasses may be tempting, but are non-prescription glasses safe? Will you damage your eyesight if you use a pair of glasses without the okay from your optometrist?

How do reading glasses work?

Reading glasses offer magnification in lens powers from +1.00 to +3.00. Non-prescription glasses are used for focusing on close-up work such as reading, computer or smartphone use, or even outdoor hobbies. Both lenses offer the same strength and do not provide correction for astigmatism or other vision conditions. These lenses only magnify, making it easier to focus on text or other details. While over-the-counter readers are available without a visit to the eye doctor, bifocals or progressive lenses may be a better option if you already wear prescription glasses.

Will reading glasses damage eyesight?

Non-prescription glasses will not damage your eyesight or change the structure of your eyes. Glasses lenses work by bending light to help your eyes focus. An incorrect lens strength may cause symptoms of eye strain such as dry or watery eyes, sore eyes, headaches, or sore neck and back. The good news is that  the symptoms go away after you remove the offending lens. When you’ve found the appropriate strength, the magnification offered may be enough to make reading or close-up work more comfortable.

How do I choose reading glasses strength?

Consider the activity for which you will wear the non-prescription glasses when choosing your lens strength. Different strengths may be necessary for reading than for using your computer or gardening. You may want a pair of readers in one power for your morning newspaper, and a pair for the golf course in another.

The racks of reading glasses at discount stores can help determine your correct power. Try on some drug store readers and look at a magazine; the glasses are too strong if you find yourself holding it unnaturally close. You can also use your age to get a ballpark number. If you are in your 40s, start with a +1.00 to +1.25, and then add half a unit for every decade older you get.

While cheap reading glasses will give you an idea of what lens strength you may need, the power may not be consistent from pair to pair. The glasses at the drugstore are inexpensive, which means you sacrifice quality. The designer reading glasses at FramesDirect.com are made to look better and last longer.

Can anyone use reading glasses?

While one of the diopters, or strengths, found in reading glasses will work for most people, many people have one eye that is stronger than the other or may require additional vision correction for conditions such as astigmatism. You may also find the optics in the ready-made readers are not centered for your pupil measurement. Even if reading glasses work for occasional use, visiting your eye doctor for a regular check-up is still recommended. If you find you’re wearing your reading glasses more and more throughout the day, an optometrist can provide an option that best suits your needs.

Can I wear glasses if I don’t need them?

Gone are the days of hiding your eyewear; glasses have made the jump from annoying requirement to chic fashion accessory. If you don’t need glasses but want to wear them anyway, reading glasses—even weak ones—may cause eyestrain and discomfort. If you want glasses solely for the style factor, request plano lenses, or lenses without correction. While you may not need glasses to see better, there are benefits to wearing ‘fake’ glasses. Non-prescription lenses can include an anti-reflective (AR) coating that reduces symptoms of eye strain and deflects harmful blue light, and an anti-UV coating can protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

While regular trips to your eye doctor might seem like a hassle, they can solve problems as they arise. Non-prescription readers may be helpful as a backup pair or for occasional use. However, you should consult your optometrist if you experience eye strain or worsening vision. Whether you choose readers or prescription glasses, flaunt your fabulous frames (and give your arms a rest).

Prescription Sunglasses vs Photochromic Lenses: Which Is Best?

You’re driving down the road with your eyeglasses on, sunglasses perched crookedly over them—glasses wearers can likely relate to this less-than-chic scenario. You need your glasses to see clearly, but heading outdoors means squinting through the harsh rays from the beating sun. Deciding between sunglasses and clear vision isn’t the struggle it once was with the availability of both prescription sunglasses and photochromic, or light-adaptive lenses.

What Are Photochromic Lenses?

Photochromic lenses are often known by the popular brand name Transitions®. These lenses are clear indoors, but a chemical reaction within the lens causes them to darken after about 30 seconds of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. After moving indoors, the lenses become clear again within a few minutes. Adaptive lenses are available in a range of materials, lens colors, and lens treatments such as anti-glare coatings. Some adaptive lenses become polarized as they tint. Even some prescription progressive and bifocal eyeglasses can use Transitions lenses.how do photochromic lenses work

Should I Get Transitions Lenses or Prescription Sunglasses?

There are pros and cons on both sides of the Transitions lenses versus prescription sunglasses debate. Both can block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Both light-adaptive lenses and prescription sunglasses lenses can be used in most optical-quality frames, including designer styles from top brands. Other considerations include:

Type of Activity

When trying to decide between the two, first consider what you spend the majority of your time doing.
Adaptive lenses are convenient for quick trips in and out.
For activities that include time on the water or snow—where bright light may reflect back at you—prescription sunglasses with polarized lenses may be better suited to the job.
Adaptive lenses react differently to glare from shiny surfaces such as snow and water, so they may not darken enough to meet your needs.
Photochromic performance can be influenced by temperature, so lenses can also take longer to adjust in cold temperatures.

Convenience

Many people appreciate the opportunity to accessorize with bold sunglasses, while others find it a hassle to switch between prescription sunglasses and regular glasses.
Carrying a pair of each means you may be more likely to leave a pair of glasses somewhere.
You may forget to bring sunglasses when you need them.
Children who wear eyeglasses, especially, can benefit from glasses that automatically change to suit light conditions.

Cost

When it comes to Transitions lenses, cost earns a check in the ‘pro’ column.
Transitions lenses last for about three years—longer than the life of a typical eyeglasses prescription. After about three years, the lenses may not get as dark and could show signs of yellowing.
While you’ll pay an upgrade charge for the photochromic treatment, buying only one pair of prescription glasses saves you money overall.
A pair of Rx sunglasses can cost as much as, or more than, a pair of regular prescription glasses.
With prescription sunglasses, you’ll replace two pairs of glasses rather than one each time you update your prescription.

Versatility

Photochromic glasses can reduce eye strain by continuously adapting to changing light conditions. This means:
Reduced sensitivity to the light, no squinting into the sun
Full protection from UV rays every time you step outdoors
Transitions lenses change in response to the brightness outdoors, so you will benefit from an ideal amount of tint on cloudy days as well; prescription sunglasses may be too dark for a semi-cloudy day.

Disadvantages of Photochromic Lenses

While photochromic lenses are useful for a walk outdoors or BBQing with family, there are some drawbacks.
A common complaint is that small-framed eyeglasses with variable tint lenses are not large enough to comfortably block the sun. For the best protection, sunglasses should wrap around to cover the whole eye to effectively block stray UV rays.
Variable tint lenses will not be as dark as sunglasses and may not provide enough protection on a bright day. Sunglasses can block up to 85% of light, while Transitions lenses block a maximum of 75%.
You may find that Transitions lenses are not ideal for outdoor photography as the display on your camera may be difficult to see.
You may need to remove your glasses when you pose for outdoor portraits to avoid dark lenses in your photo.

Do Transitions Lenses Work in the Car?

Most light-adaptive lenses do not work in the car. Photochromic lenses darken as a response to the ultraviolet rays from the sun. Since windshields have filters built into the glass to block UV rays, your lenses will not react. Transitions® Drivewear™ lenses work with both visible and UV light and will darken behind the wheel, but are not recommended for nighttime driving.

The sun’s UV rays can cause cataracts and damage the retina, so wearing UVA/UVB protective sunglasses each time you go outdoors is more than just a fashion statement—it’s a necessity. The choice between prescription sunglasses or light-adaptive lenses is up to you. If Transitions lenses aren’t right for you, avoid the doubled-up look with a pair of designer prescription sunglasses.

Summer Style Mentions Roundup

Autumn is here, and we’re looking back at how we spent the final weeks of the lazy, hazy days of summer. We caught as many rays as possible, and we weren’t the only ones to throw on a pair of sunglasses and show off our summer style. Just check out how some of our favorite Instagrammers styled their FramesDirect sunnies!

Bri and Ami of hungryhipsters hit the festival scene wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses. In addition to soaking up some sun and listening to live music, they taste-tested their way across the venue. Photos of their fantastic style and delicious festival bites had us wishing for more.

We’re out doing our festival thing again??

A post shared by Bre Chiero (@hungryhipsters) on

Laura of The Pixie Cut never fails to thrill us with her fun, flashy looks. If you like fabulous hair, edgy fashion, and things that sparkle—with a few furry surprises thrown in—you’ll love this. Check out her impressive collection of sunglasses, including these Prada Cinema frames from FramesDirect. She styled them perfectly straight through summer and into the fall.


The Northern Southern’s Elizabeth showed off a similar pair of Prada sunglasses throughout the season. She proved that sunglasses go with anything: easygoing dresses, ankle tie pants, chic denim, and trendy ruffles.

Looks like Prada was a popular pick this summer! RiannStar wore her Prada Cinema sunglasses to music festivals, on helicopter tours, sipping mojitos, and savoring coffee while she explored San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Laguna Beach, and other California destinations. She also included us in yet another favorites roundup, d’awww.

Watch her thrift, watch her slay slay. Danielle from Hello Mrs. Blog pairs her Prada sunglasses from FramesDirect with thrifted pieces to show us all that glam goes anywhere. Whether she’s out wine tasting with her girls, working hard as a wedding photographer, attending weddings as a guest—or even climbing to the top of a mountain—her boho-chic style give us some serious inspo. We just can’t get enough of the outfits and accessories (or the scenery) she shares.

When you’re having a good hair day, it must be documented ??? @sheinofficial @framesdirect

A post shared by Danielle / Hello Mrs. / (@hellomrs_blog) on

A velvet crop top and floral print overalls are appropriate for hiking right?! ? @framesdirect

A post shared by Danielle / Hello Mrs. / (@hellomrs_blog) on

Saturday mornings at @storycoffeeco ??

A post shared by Danielle / Hello Mrs. / (@hellomrs_blog) on

One way I keep my wardrobe fresh and unique, is by shopping at thrift stores! Plus it’s cheaper too ??? @savers_thrift @framesdirect

A post shared by Danielle / Hello Mrs. / (@hellomrs_blog) on

Summer may have disappeared on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put away those sunnies. We will be watching to see how designer eyewear shows up as photos with backdrops of changing leaves turn to snowy slopeside selfies. What style will come out on top for fall 2017? Tinted lenses, tortoise frames, or frames with a double bridge or funky shape—no matter which you pick, share your style on Instagram with #ShowYourFrames.

When Did Aviator Sunglasses Become So Popular?

Aviator sunglasses may be fashionable, statement-making eyewear in 2017, but this popular shape has been on the scene since 1936. The teardrop-shaped sunglasses were originally developed for use by US Air Force pilots. Since then, they have made countless appearances in movies, in celebrity wardrobes, and on the runway. The classic ‘pilot-style’ aviator frames seem to land on the ‘top trends’ lists more often than not. When did aviator sunglasses become so popular?

Aviator Sunglasses in History

Bausch & Lomb developed the original aviator-style sunglasses as an alternative to flight goggles that couldn’t perform as the job required. Flight capabilities were advancing rapidly while the pilots’ gear stalled. The sunglasses Bausch & Lomb created wouldn’t fog up like goggles, offered a comfortable, more stylish fit, and the large shape and dark or mirrored lenses blocked more light to better protect pilots’ eyes. Originally called ‘Anti-Glares,’ they were branded ‘Ray-Ban’ upon their release since they sought to ‘ban’ the harsh ‘rays’ from the sun.

General Douglas MacArthur, 1944.

Ray-Ban aviators became standard military issue during World War II and became famous after photos surfaced showing General Douglas MacArthur wearing his.

The image became the go-to ‘wartime’ look in Hollywood. After the war, the military style became popular among both private and commercial pilots, police officers, and sportsmen due to their utility and performance.

The thin, wire-framed sunglasses evolved through the years as makers began to put their own spin on the style. Randolph Engineering took over the military contract in the 1980s, and countless designer brands began to release their own aviators. Thick plastic frames and shield-style aviators began to appear, as did tinted lenses and various frame finishes. The 1970s brought feminine styling to the rugged military look using softer colors and rhinestones. This fresh approach gave the large, tough frames a unisex appeal.

Aviator Sunglasses in Pop Culture

The aviator style’s rose in popularity as it appeared in more and more films throughout the decades. Beginning in the 1950s, Ray-Ban paid to place aviator sunglasses in movies and the trend stuck. Military and police films drove the popularity of the style, while celebrities favored the look on stage and in public. Elvis wore a flashy version of the oversized frames in the 70s, and Michael Jackson rocketed thick shield aviators into popularity during the 80s.

Robert De Niro donned an updated square version of aviators in Taxi Driver, which gave the style a boost. Sales leapt a shocking 40% after Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer wore aviator sunglasses in  Top Gun.

Hollywood continued to feature aviators on screen year after year. Cobra intimidated in a pair of outdoorsman aviators, Johnny Depp’s Raoul Duke showed off Ray-Ban shooter aviators in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Bradley Cooper’s character counted on classic Ray-Ban aviators to shield his eyes from the brutal daylight in The Hangover.

This iconic style seems to be in the middle of yet another resurgence of popularity. Maui Jim, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci are among the countless designer labels that have released their own aviator sunglasses. It’s a chic, high-fashion staple on both the runway and red carpet, yet retains its rugged, tough image. While Tom Cruise wears a pair of Randolph Engineering aviators in the recent crime film American Made, fashionistas and frenzied dressers grab their aviator sunnies before heading out on the town. After 80 years , the style’s popularity shows no sign of slowing down. With a decades-long run, maybe the question should be, were aviator sunglasses ever not popular?

The Story Behind the Wayfarer: Ray-Ban’s Most Rebellious Frames

The Ray-Ban Wayfarer is one of the most iconic pieces of eyewear of all time. You may not know the name, but you know the look.

Since 1937, Ray-Ban has been a leading manufacturer of premium American eyewear. One of their earlier designs – The Aviator – put them on the map. Aviators were designed specifically for pilots who had trouble seeing focusing their eyes due to the ultra bright blue and white hues of the sky. The design took off.

Then in 1952, Ray-Ban had its second big hit with the Wayfarers. The inspiration came from two unexpected sources: the Eames lounge chair and tailfins from the classic Cadillac design.

An odd mix, sure, but the result is a stunning piece of American fashion that’s endured for decades.

At a time when most glasses were metal, these were made of plastic, and the temples had a distinctive flared angle. Designs like this may seem standard to our eyes today, but half a century ago, these were revolutionary.

‘Unstable Dangerousness’

As 1970s fashion critic Stephen Bayley puts it, the Wayfarers “spoke a non-verbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness.”

When movie star bad boy James Dean was seen wearing Wayfarers, it cemented the frames as a symbol of rebellion.

Other stars followed soon suit.Audrey Hepburn could be seen sporting the specs, followed by Cary Grant, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe. It wasn’t just actors: artists and musicians like John Lennon, Andy Warhol, and Bob Dylan all embraced the defiant, radical spirit of the Wayfarers.

Of course, seeing every major icon of the ‘50s and ‘60s sporting these had a tremendous impact on sales. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. It wasn’t until the 1980s when then Wayfarers came thundering back into the public eye.

 

The 80s Resurgence

Ray-Ban made a product placement deal in 1981 that put Wayfarers onscreen over 60 times in movies and TV shows. After Tom Cruise paired Wayfarers with tighty whities in Risky Business, sales skyrocketed. Viewers saw them on Don Johnson in Miami Vice, on Bruce Willis in Moonlighting, and on Tom Cruise again in Top Gun.

Almost every major musician of the ‘80s wore them at concerts: Michael Jackson, Madonna, U2, Billy Joel, Queen… the list goes on!

And they’re still going strong. James Franco, who once played James Dean in a TV movie early in his career, can be seen wearing the specs some 50 years after Dean rebelled without a cause. Celebs like Johnny Depp, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johanson, Bruno Mars, Joe Jonas and Robert Pattinson avoid the paparazzi in the distinctive Wayfarer frames.

Are You a Wayfarer?

Ray-Ban Wayfarers have unquestionably survived the test of time, remaining a top seller a half decade after their premier.

Wayfarers look stunning on oval-shaped or round faces, and the design is perfect for males and females.

 

This is the perfect time to get your your own pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer eyeglasses and save big at FramesDirect.com. Click here to get some of your own.

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