Although they are still the epitome of street style, Wayfarer sunglasses were first designed many decades ago in 1952 by founding partners, Bausch & Lomb before being bought over by Italian brand Luxottica in 1999. They still remain the timelessly American summer look and have been hailed by stylist Stephen Bailey as ¨ a mid-century classic to rival Eames chairs and Cadillac tail fins.¨
From a brand of sunglasses to an attitude of life, Wayfarer sunglasses led where the other brands only followed and even 50 years on iconic images of these shades have been spotted on everyone from Leonardo Di Caprio to President Obama as evidence that their design compliments every face shape for a look that’s part business, part luxury and all style.
The ways of the Wayfarer have not always been easy ones. In the 1960´s a decline in the sales of the model gave way to the new found popularity of their rival aviators, before they saw their style popularity ignite once again in the 1980´s thanks to programmes such as Miami Vice and The Breakfast Club – giving them serious longevity and street creed (despite the brief 90´s trend for wrap around glasses…) It was around this time also that the manufacturers reworked their classic silhouettes smoothing their way for a softer and easier to wear Wayfarer experience.
Ray Ban may be the antithesis of anti-glare, but if you are looking to achieve the look with a degree of variation, then these other designer models won’t see you go wrong;
Spitfire Square Sunglasses
Even when Ray-Ban re-designed its Wayfarer, other brands such as these kept things more angular. These shades are harder to wear, particularly for chiselled face shapes, but if you’ve got curvature then Spitfire’s semi-transparent frames with their brown lenses and more angular design are the simplest way to achieving the 1970´s style.
Available from ASOS for £25.
ASOS Classic Wayfarers
With a variety of fiestas and festivals in operation this summer, there are certainly some places that you should not take investment sunglasses in case they end up soiled, snapped or submerged.
Available from ASOS for £8.
Taylor Morris Saratoga II
The Saratoga II’s have a gender neutral design which epitomises the versatility of the all-black Wayfarer. Composed of Italian acetate frames (a trademark of robust shades that won’t snap the first time you drop them) they are supported by full spectrum UV protection glass and contemporary detailing to the arms to make you look that little bit more unique.
Available from Taylor Morris for £145.
Topman Black Rubber Preppy Sunglasses
As experience tells us, Italian acetate is a tough customer which makes an ideal partner for the design of sunglasses. Although they may survive a drop from your pocket, anything more kamikaze could see them snap unforgivingly. Topman has the answer to this with their rubber frames which give extra hardiness for more extreme everyday situations. Even in the event they do fail, at a price like this you can afford to stock up.
Available from Topman for £12.
River Island Square Sunglasses In Dark Wood Effect
There is no dispute that black Wayfarers are a design classic, but as they only come in black, they can be rather mundane look if worn often. Options such as River Island Square Sunglasses In Dark Wood Effect models offer some light relief in the style takes. Fitted with contrasting tinted lenses which offer full UV protection, these retro models present frames with a blue underlining and black graduation detailing on the arms to keep you standing out for all the right reasons.
Available from ASOS at £16.
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Fleck
The original (and to many people, still the best) – This Ray Ban´s tortoiseshell body is mounted on contrasting black arms with the trademark Ray-Ban signature etched on the upper side of the lens. Just the thing for sheer unadulterated brand envy.
Available from ASOS for £90.
Jeepers Peepers Square Sunglasses
Jeepers Peepers have upped the style game by adding a decorative layer of gold tone wiring to their classic Wayfarer. With UV protection and a price friendly tag, these sexy squares will protect your eyes as well as your pockets.
Available from ASOS at £18.
Persol Design Sunglasses Orange
Instantly recognisable for their for their utilitarian / foldable design that adorned Steve McQueen’s face decades ago, the cult Persol brand also has an extended family of Wayfarers in its DNA. These seriously stylish sunglasses boast full the full ´La Dolce Vida´ Italian luxury look with their acetate design and bi-metallic arm features.
Available from Suglasses Shop for £130.
Oliver Peoples L.A Coen Square Frame Acetates
The unique selling point of the Oliver People’s L.A Coen sunglasses is that they are unique. Each pair comes with a tortoiseshell pattern which sets the look and the price tag that you will achieve on another level. Their champagne tinted lenses sit within a comfortable design which flatter most face shapes effortlessly.
Available from Mr Porter at £230.
Thom Browne Square Frame Acetates
Within the fashion world – Thom Browne has a gift of taking more classic items and making them cutting edge with his quirky never the less thoughtful design acumen. This thought succinctly extends to his sharp, square framed acetate sunglasses range as also.
Hand constructed in Italy, they are characterised by a gold wire underframe which features an angular silhouette and signature strip motif on the lens for something that little bit more different.
Available from Mr Porter at £510.