Fashion 101: Aviator Sunglasses



Have you ever wondered where those cool big lenses and signature frame originated from? Maybe you are a little curious as to how aviation shades have gotten so big in recent years?

In this article I will discuss how “pilot glasses” began, as well as how they got where they are today. After reading this you may just decide on getting a pair for yourself!

The Aviator became a well-known style of sunglasses when General Douglas MacArthur landed on the beach in the Philippines in World War II. Photographers snapped several pictures of him wearing them for newspapers.[2]

The aviator style has been popular since the 1960s, but became even more so following pop culture references of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney[3] and Ringo Starr,[3] and later use by celebrities in films like Top Gun, where Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise sported them, Ray Ban aviators were also prominently featured in films Cobra starring Sylvester Stallone and To Live and Die in L.A. – where two main characters are seen wearing them through the film.

The shades we know today were first created way back in 1936 by none other than Ray Ban. The reason they are known as “aviator sunglasses” is because they were developed specifically for pilots back in 1936. Pilots needed a good pair of anti glare sunglasses, and Ray Ban’s design satisfied this requirement perfectly.

The design that Ray Ban came up with was actually modeled directly from the goggles being worn by the U.S. military at the time. Since the aviator’s debut, they have remained largely unchanged in design and are still standard issue for military pilots the world over.

Maybe even more interesting is how aviation shades have literally taken off with the general public (no pun intended).

Ray Ban started selling aviator sunglasses to the public a year after they were created; in 1937. During the years many different companies have now started making their own pilot shades — Both name brand and no name sunglasses.

Different technologies have also come into fashion… Some of them stay and some of them go. For instance, have you seen those mirrored aviator glasses that were popular in the movie Top Gun? Those are a technology all their own.

Even different lenses are sometimes used, but glass is still the most popular. Perhaps the biggest change has been all the different colors coming out. Blue, purple, and pink are just a few of the colors you can now find being sported on aviation glasses.

Celebrities have also been boosting these shades reputation as of late — Many of the biggest stars can be seen wearing them.

All of the above combined have contributed to the huge success of aviator sunglasses. We can only expect them to get even more popular in the near future.

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