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Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses Review: Original, Rounded, Square, Folding, Shield

Updated on January 6, 2015

Ray Ban Wayfarer

The reason why Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses became such an enduring classic might seem somewhat underwhelming: it's the unpretentious simplicity of design. Launched in early fifties, it still carries the air of that era of American prosperity – marked with a tinge of innocence, expressed through a very focused, utility oriented aesthetic. In fashion, simple is still the hardest thing to achieve.

Simple doesn't mean plain; on the contrary, Wayfarer sunglasses gradually became associated with sophistication and good taste, often mixed with irony and buffoonery. Famous customers who both sip from and pour into this cocktail include Brad Pitt, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Paris Hilton, Scarlett Johansson, and other celebrities.

Modern Wayfarer evolved into a large scale brand department that comprises several models, and employs a range of technological novelties in the sphere of lens and material manufacturing. Today's sunglasses come equipped with polarized or crystal lenses that withstand harsh impact tests.

Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses

Furthermore, fashionable interpretations of the original Ray Ban design feature a selection of colors, and give the classic shape a few twists.

Rounded and Square

These models stretch the frame into a more committing shape, resulting in a sharper, more demanding, mercurial appearance – as opposed to the eclectic tranquility of the original.

Rounded spectacles approach the look of classic circular pince-nez, similar to the optic glasses worn by Barton Fink. Ironically, the “square” image is brought out by an orbicular shape – Ray Ban knack for reversing and subverting ideas makes itself evident here as well. Overall, it's a neat casual design that can imply deliberation and awareness when worn by the right person.

Square Wayfarer explores the other, more aggressive, masculine side of the spectrum: a close look reveals a more than accidental resemblance to the tight Predator, one the brand's sports sunglasses collections. Though clearly casual fashion oriented, the square line veils a few athletic elements. Both models opt for the darker black, tortoise, and deep red.

Folding and Shield

Folding variation retains the original structure, and adds a unique folding function: each pair has a hinge at the bridge, allowing the wearer to fold the sunglasses into a small bundle that can fit into a shirt pocket (without sticking out). Admittedly, some fans consider this change a step away from the main prototype.

Shield borrows a familiar wraparound high-fashion template, and runs it through the Wayfarer mould. Resulting is a bold, vibrant design that projects youthful lightness, and a streak of playfulness that's also characteristic of such fashion Ray Ban collections as Cats and Jackie Ohh.

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