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Shop Aviator Sunglasses

Undeniably one of the most recognisable sunglasses styles in the market, the aviator sunglasses have come long way from its humble beginnings as necessary gear in military aviation. 

From Functional to Fashion

John Macready, an American pilot, was not immune to the effects of being in high altitudes. He had witnessed firsthand how a friend’s eyes became swollen and frozen after just lifting his misted goggles for a fraction of a second when they were 33,000 feet above ground. This harrowing experience led Macready to be in a working relationship with Bausch & Lomb. Fruits of their labor came out in the form of lightweight goggles with green lenses, maximising visibility while minimising the sun’s glare. 

In 1936 Bausch & Lomb released it to the public and it became an instant success, marketing it as “Ray-Ban” aviators. While ordinary people enjoyed the protection of aviators, with its double bridge and trademark teardrop-shaped lens being large enough to cover the delicate eye area, their use in the military continued on until World War 2.  These sunglasses surged in popularity again when General Douglas MacArthur landed on the coast of Leyte in the Philippines. Waves crashing and the sun set high, the American military leader was donning a pair of aviators as numerous photojournalists immortalised an iconic moment in World War 2 history. 

Post war trends saw the aviator as more of a fashionable accessory. In the 1950s Marlon Brando sported a pair giving off brooding bad boy vibes. From here the aviator slowly associated itself with Tinseltown and Brando wouldn’t be the only celebrity to put aviators on the map. The 1970s was a decade of glitz and glamour as more artists grabbed a pair of aviators whenever they headed out. We’d have the likes of Freddie Mercury, Paul McCartney, and David Bowie using aviators on more than one occasion. Women were not exempt from the trend either: Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry, and Gloria Steinam all wore aviators, proving that women can easily pull off a style that was typically worn by men. 

Fast forward to 1986. Top Gun was just released in cinemas and a handsome young actor named Tom Cruise is the movie’s leading man. As a fighter pilot he can be seen wearing aviators and audiences agreed that it looked incredibly good on him. This would be the style’s latest thrust into modern consciousness – and history – as it continues to appeal to newer generations decades after its military debut. 

Aviators Today

The aviator is indeed in a league of its own in terms of style and functionality. Usually made of metal frames and temples that would curl behind the ears for a more secure fit, the style is ubiquitous. Countless brands have attempted to release their own version of the aviators, experimenting with materials like acetate plastic. 

The classic Ray-Ban aviator has gone through a series of subtle changes over the years but has still maintained its signature teardrop lenses, double bridge, and the promise to protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. 

Aviators are the prime example of a pair of shades that work on everyone. This is because the notorious style stands out, exuding an air of cool and does the talking for the wearer.  And with many brands catering to different head sizes, with smaller and larger fits available, you should be able to find a pair to fit easily.