Ray Ban Wayfarer glasses are nothing if not iconic. Born in the 1950’s as sunglasses, they have flattered the many changing faces of fashion throughout the decades, and today they are among the most recognizable glasses on the market. They were originally intended for men as they are typically quite large and angular, however they have grown popular with women too.
Wayfarer glasses have a broad upper rim that is made of plastic and goes out to a point (sometimes called “wings”). The original Wayfarers were sunglasses and had a black rim to match the dark lens color, and although this style is still popular as a timeless, go-to pair of sunglasses, today Wayfarers are found in almost any size and shape, to use as sunglasses, as vision correcting spectacles or even just as a fashion statement.
Back to the History of Wayfarers
The first Wayfarer glasses, introduced in 1956, were completely different to anything that had been seen before in eyewear designs of the time. Unlike the reformed style we are familiar with today, original Wayfarers looked almost like horn-rimmed glasses, with a large upward curve of the frame at the outward edges. At that time, the design was revolutionary. Ray Ban Wayfarers were new and incredibly stylish, and this was reflected in the wearers of the glasses. They became standard fare for Hollywood stars of the age such as Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, who needed a functional yet good-looking pair of sunglasses to shade themselves from all that Californian sun!
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Throughout the 60s, Wayfarer glasses became more and more fashionable, their popularity buoyed up by their association with fame, glitz and glamour. Perhaps due to their versatility, Wayfarers appealed to a very wide audience and so no typical demographic appeared. Everyone from the rich and famous to students, artists and business people were wearing the Wayfarer glasses.
Despite two slumps in popularity in the 70s (they may have died out altogether if it weren’t for a $50,000 product placement deal in the 80s which made the prominence of Wayfarers in films and TV impossible to ignore) and the 90s (when wraparound sunglasses threatened to take over the style completely), the Wayfarer style of glasses kept coming back.
In the early 2000’s the style underwent a drastic remodel, and the style popular today is smaller and more angular than the original design. Now with the benefit of many different shapes and colors, and the easy availability of Wayfarer-style glasses from many different eyewear companies, there is a pair to suit everyone, no matter your budget, face shape or taste.
Wayfarers – Not Just the Sunglasses
Whilst the Wayfarer style is still a hugely attractive choice for people wanting to buy sunglasses, nowadays this shape is the most popular type of nerd glasses, thanks to classy subtle curves that make them look smart and fashionable at the same time. For that reason, hipsters that praise everything vintage could not overlook Wayfarer glasses too!
Wayfarer glasses without the tint are a really good option for a pair of glasses which will be flattering as well as making a statement. They can be fun and quirky and are always cool, so if this is the impression you want to give then these are the glasses for you!
The ever developing technology of lens and frame production means that frames these days are a lot lighter than for example, the frames used for the original Wayfarers, which means it is possible to emulate the original style at a fraction of the weight. Glasses have never been more comfortable to wear.
Are Wayfarer Nerd Glasses for You?
As already mentioned, Wayfarers are a very versatile style of glasses, and they are available in many different variations so there is sure to be something that suits you. This style will particularly suit face shapes which have a larger jaw as it can balance out the face. If you have this type of face (a square face, round or triangular that tapers out to the bottom of the face) then a pair of Wayfarers in a dark color such as black or brown will provide width around the eyes and forehead area and create a more balanced impression. For those with a heart shaped face or an inverse triangle shape (with a wide forehead) then it may be that a pair of Wayfarer glasses in a lighter color will suit you better. It is not necessary to emphasize the width around the eyes for people with this face shape so if the glasses are lighter, smaller and more subtle then it is possible to wear the style without creating an imbalanced face appearance.
For an up to date look, invest in a pair of red or white glasses, or experiment with patterns for example a tribal pattern. One of the coolest and boldest ways to wear this style is oversized – it can look strange if you have a pair of glasses that are too small for your face. This isn’t an exact science though, the bigger the better! Wayfarers are an opportunity to make a statement with your eyewear and can be teamed with many different looks.
Celebrities Who Rock Wayfarer Nerd Glasses
Wayfarer glasses have been made famous over and over again by many different stars throughout the years. In the 50s and 60s they were worn by everyone from movie stars to musicians including Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan and James Dean. It hardly seems coincidence that in the same year 360 000 pairs of the sunglasses were sold. Throughout the 80s big names continued to make the style their own, Madonna, Debbie Harry (from Blondie) and Michael Jackson being just a few of the star studded list.
There are many eyewear companies that make their own versions of the Wayfarer style, so it is possible to get your hands on a pair no matter what your budget is. Admittedly, owning a pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers is really special and if you go with this brand you will pay for the quality as well as the cool factor. Ray Ban have been expanding on their Wayfarer designs so there are now several different models to try and more exciting colors than ever before – what are you waiting for?