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The 2 Best Selling Sunglass Styles of All Time

Updated on April 9, 2012

Aviators & Wayfarer sunglasses have dominated pop culture for twenty (or more) years. What are the real reasons behind the phenomenon? Could it simply be that they are in fact awesome? Or is because these sunglasses are the most commonly worn sunglasses on the Silver Screen? Perhaps it’s that the sunglass market is flooded with stylized designs of the classic look? Whatever the reason, it is an indisputable fact that Aviators & Wayfarers are an iconic style of sunglasses that for what ever reasons, never seem to go out of style.

If you’ve been living in a cave for the last twenty years, you might not know these sunglasses by sight. For those cave dwellers, here are the specs and a little history on these sunglasses:

Aviator Sunglasses are notoriously a teardrop shaped mirrored lens, (although not all aviators are mirrored) with thin metal frames, and a snug, curved earpiece. Originally designed for aviator pilots (thus the name) by Bausch & Lomb and branded by Ray Ban in 1936, Aviators skyrocketed into popularity in the 1960’s. A Hollywood favorite, Aviators are the chosen sunglass style for several iconic movie characters, such as Top Gun’s “Maverick”, played by Tom Cruise.

• Wayfarer Sunglasses differ drastically from Aviators in that wayfarers have a distinctly trapezoidal shaped lens and the frames are made of plastic. Above the lenses, on each side is a silver metal piece, marking them as being, in fact, wayfarers. Manufactured by Ray Ban since 1956 and considered a revolutionary break through, due to the technology involved in production, Wayfarers have been called the best selling sunglass style of all time. Available in literally thousands of colors, patterns and lens tints, the classic black wayfarer has become legendary in Hollywood in well. Famous musicians The Blues Brothers were rarely seen without their wayfarer sunglasses on.

So we know what they look like, but can we identify what exactly makes Wayfarers & Aviators such an enduring style of sunglasses? Can it really be as simple as people mimicking iconic figures? Is the world full of people that just want to look like their favorite iconic figure? Or is more about comfort and blocking sunlight? Whatever the reason, Wayfarers and Aviators are undoubtedly two of the most worn, most frequently bought sunglass styles in the world. Whether sporting a $300 pair of Ray Ban Aviators, or a $10 drug store pair, chances are someone very near you is at this very moment wearing Aviator sunglasses. More than likely, less than ten feet away on the other side, someone is wearing a pair of Wayfarers!


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