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Retro Rayban Sunglasses

Updated on April 25, 2013

It seems sunglasses fashions are always changing - there's been some weird and wonderful styles over the decades, from the little round shades of the 1920's, which returned in the 60's, to the sexy 'cat's-eyes' of the 1950's , 70's aviator and mirror glasses, 80's wayfarer's and 90's diamente studded styles.

It's interesting to note that in prehistoric times, inuit people wore a kind of goggle-like sunglasses to protect their eyes - they were made from flattened walrus ivory and covered most of the eye. leaving ony a very narrow slit to see through. Not surpisingly though, that particular retro style has never made a full come back.

Sunglasses were really popularised by the Hollywood stars of the early 20th Century, who had to move about incognito, lest they be mauled by adoring fans.

Metallic Wayfarers
Metallic Wayfarers
Original Rayban Wayfarer style
Original Rayban Wayfarer style

Classic Wayfarers

The original Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses were designed in 1952 and in their day, were a revolution in eyewear, as they departed from the traditional metal frame that had previously dominated the sunglasses scene.

Wayfarers were hugely popular in the 50's and into the 60's but lost favour in the seventies as the aviator and 'teardrop' styles took over. However, they made a big comeback in the 1980's when it became uber cool to wear the retro style.

Wayfarers are now the most copied sunglass style of all time, worn by hipster and conservative alike. Despite the imitations though, for optical quality and visual clarity the original Raybans are hard to beat

Rayban 80's Clubmaster

Hip Clubmaster sunglasses
Hip Clubmaster sunglasses

Another hot 1950's stye is the retro 'clubmaster', a browline design that emphasises the upper section of the an eyebrow would. These were so popular, they made up half of all sunglasses sales of the decade.

The browline design was invented by by a man called Jack Rohrbach in 1947, so they go back a fair way but the style has become such a classic they are still extremely popular with the trendy set in the 2000's.

With the new generation of Clubmaster's, rayban designs are as cutting edge as ever and while these designs have vintage kudos, there's modern changes to the lens, such as safety toughened glass, super high UV protection and superb clarity. But hey, they're Raybans, so that's to be expected.

There's a big variety to choose from in the Clubmaster style -including tortoiseshell, coloured, black, transparent and blended black with colour.

True Vintage

True Retro Raybans
True Retro Raybans

The two-tone Rayban "Retro' is about as vintage as you can get - in design, colour and general ambiance. These are classic fifties Wayfarers with a slimmed down resin frame and rounded lens, so reminiscent of that fabulous fifties era.

Rayban know sunglasses - they've been around since 1937 and were introduced to the US via the Air Corps. They invented ant-glare and lightweight sunglasses. These days, most Raybans are made from carbon fibre and the lenses are scratch resistant, tough, greatly reduce glare from water and shiny surfaces and offer 100% protection from the harmful rays of the sun. Thus, with the Rayban retro styles you get classic styling melded with the benefits of modern technology.


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