Sunglasses – The 20th Century’s Coolest Accessory

Brief History of Sunglasses in Fashion –

Jules-Richard-photo-of-two-women-in-Paris-musée-Nicéphore

Jules-Richard-photo-of-two-women-in-Paris- Image -Musée-Nicéphore 1934-5

By the 1930’s, basking in the sun had become such a norm, that the wearing of sunglasses naturally became a real fashion accessory.

1930s-sunglasses

The classic tortoise shell framed and tinted sunglasses of the 1930’s were worn by many female Hollywood stars.

Bette-Davis---1930s-sunglasses

The tinted lens tortoise framed eye-wear has helped define a specific look that the 1930’s is now specifically remembered for. It is the decade that discovered sunglasses as a fashion accessory!

Alfred-Eisenstaedt--1930s-sunglasses-fashion--Life-magazine--1938

Alfred-Eisenstaedt–1930s-sunglasses-fashion–Life-magazine–1938

Names such as Foster Grant ( the first really commercially popular sunglasses brand ) and Ray Ban by Bausch & Lomb became as fashionable as Chanel.

Carole-Lombard---Ray-Bans-Aviator-sunglasses

Carole-Lombard—Ray-Bans-Aviator-sunglasses

In 1937 with public obsession at an all time high for aviators such as Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh, Bausch & Lomb introduced the brand nameRay Ban to launch anti-glare ‘aviator’ sunglasses.These became particularly popular on the ski-slopes and with mountaineers.as research had shown that many pilots suffered from headaches due to sun glare.

aviator-glasses-chic--general-macarthur

Ray ban Aviator sunglasses -General-MacArthur

These “Ray-Ban Aviators“, with their chic wire frame sunglasses with green glass lenses, replaced the traditional circular celluloid frames with more modernist shapes, and were worn by everyone from Hollywood stars like Carole Lombard to General “I will return!” Douglas McArthur.

Back in 1929 the inventor Edwin Land patented Polaroid and went on to patent various uses for his polarising technology, including sunglasses, but it wasn’t until 1938 when Edwin Land teamed up with American Optical to create the Polaroid Corporation , that the first polarised sunglasses were produced.

Sunglasses have pretty much remained as as a fashion accessory ever since, with each decade providing its own iconic styles, popularised by famous actors and singers.

Iconic Movie Sunglasses

Gloria-Swanson---Sunglasses-fashion

Gloria-Swanson in Sunset Boulevard

Hollywood Costume designers like Edith Head, herself a big aficionado of wearing shades, was one of the first to encourage Hollywood stars to sport sunglasses in the 1930’s and she always grabbed opportunities to adorn her stars like her good friend Gloria Swanson with a pair. Here’s just a few selected iconic images of stars wearing sunglasses from some great movies.

Barbara-Stanwyck-Double-Indemnity-film-noir-fashion

Barbara-Stanwyck-Double-Indemnity-film-noir-fashion

Gene-Tierney---Sunglasses-noir---Leave-her-to-heaven-1945

Gene-Tierney—Sunglasses-noir—Leave-her-to-heaven-1945

Grace-kelly---Sunglasses---To-catch-a-thief

Grace-kelly—Sunglasses—To-catch-a-thief – 1955

Cary-Grant---Sunglasses-chic

Cary-Grant—Sunglasses-chic – North by Northwest

Anouk-Aimee-and-Marcello-Mastroianni-in-La-dolce-vita

Anouk-Aimee-and-Marcello-Mastroianni-in-La-dolce-vita

Peter Sellars - Dr Strangelove-sunglasses

Peter Sellers – Dr Strangelove-sunglasses

Audrey-Hepburn---Oliver-Goldsmith-sunglasses---Breakfast-at-Tiffanys

Audrey-Hepburn—Oliver-Goldsmith-sunglasses—Breakfast-at-Tiffanys

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburns iconic glasses, despite common assumption to being Ray-Bans, are in fact by Oliver Goldsmith.

Blues-Brothers---sunglasses-fashion

Blues-Brothers “a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses”

susan-sarandon-thelma-louise-sunglasses

Thelma & Louise-sunglasses

Men-in-Black-Sunglasses

J – You know the difference between you and me? I make this look GOOD.

Iconic Sunglasses worn by Musical Artists

Bob-Dylan---Ray-Ban-wayfarers

Bob-Dylan—Ray-Ban-wayfarers

John-Lennon---Kirkland-sunglasses-in-Penny-Lane-video

John-Lennon—Kirkland-sunglasses-as worn in The Beatles Penny-Lane

That’s all !

©Glamourdaze2015

Further Reading:

The Top 20 Movie Performances with Glasses
Girls Who Wear Glasses – 1940s Beauty Tips