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80s Sunglasses: The Frames That Defined A Decade

Throwback fashion has been a big hit in recent years, especially the styles of the 1980s. Television shows such as Stranger Things, The Goldbergs and GLOW have firmly put the decade back into the spotlight, and their fashion moments have proven popular in the styles of today.


One of the most popular elements of 80s fashion that has become a big hit nowadays is the shades. Sunglasses are a great way to complete an outfit, or can even be the standout element of the complete look.


Ed & Sarna Vintage Eyewear absolutely loves the styles of the 1980s, so have put together this guide to what frames defined the decade.


80s Fashion

The defining traits of the 1980s include being big, bright and bold! Hair was higher than ever, oversized clothing became increasingly popular and the colours of clothes were brighter than ever. Celebrity’s influence on people’s clothing became bigger than ever, so eccentric styles began to filter into the mainstream unlike ever before.


Madonna, Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise, Princess Diana and Cyndi Lauper were all massive influences back then, and whatever they wore would soon be seen in shops across the world. The 1970s had begun to see a change in fashion, moving away from the subdued styles of the past, but by the time the 1980s came around, everything began to become bigger and better.


And this motto of bigger and better is reflected in every element of an outfit, including the sunglasses. Demure, small glasses were a thing of the past, as everyone became obsessed with large styles that covered the entire face. Here is a bit more information about some of the iconic styles of the decade.


Oversized Frames - The Bigger The Better

As mentioned before, the bigger the better was key in 80s sunglasses. The trend in oversized glasses first began a few decades earlier when the concept of the celebrity was becoming more prevalent. Movie stars wore sunglasses to shield their faces from the paparazzi and to hide their eyes, which were typically bloodshot from the powerful lights used to enhance movies.


Large frames covered the majority of a person’s face, so was the ideal choice when trying to hide away. The cult of celebrity was hitting an all-time high in the 80s, so the shades were out in force. And like every trend, the styles of the celebrities soon trickled down into everyday use. Bold oversized frames were a statement piece for any look, so check out the selection of vintage oversized frames we stock.


Aviator Obsession

While aviators had been a popular style of glasses since their introduction at the start of the 20th century, they hit a new peak in the 1980s when pop superstar Michael Jackson made them one of the signature items in his wardrobe. He was often photographed and seen in public wearing aviators, most notably even keeping them on when meeting President Ronald Reagan!


Other popular wearers include Tom Cruise in Top Gun, commonly thought to be one of the biggest films of the decade, making over 357 million dollars and remains a popular choice for movie night today! As demonstrated in Top Gun, aviator glasses were originally designed to be worn under headgear by the US military and are characterised by dark lenses and thin frames, typically with a double or triple bridge. Check out the selection of vintage aviators we have here at Ed & Sarna.

Ray-Ban On The Brink

When you think of sunglasses, one of the brands that have become synonymous with the industry is Ray-Ban. Wayfarers are frequently seen as one of the most popular brands of Ray-Bans but at one point, it looked like they were going to be discontinued. But then, once again, Tom Cruise came along. Donning a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers in Risky Business gave the style the much needed popularity it needed, and suddenly celebrities everywhere were sporting Ray-Bans.


Return Of The Round

Round frames were a popular style in the 80s, both for regular glasses and as sunglasses. People wore this style as the round shape softens angles and is especially flattering for those whose faces might be a bit squarer. In recent years the round style has made a comeback, offering a sleek and striking style that will bring a balanced look to any ensemble.


One of the leading figures in the round glasses trend was John Lennon, who had been wearing the style for many years. Once other stars such as Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John began to wear them, the style was firmly established as an 80s favourite. If you’re after round glasses from the 70s, 80s, 90s or noughties, check out Ed & Sarna’s selection here.

Vintage Glasses From Ed & Sarna

Whether you’re a fan of the groovy styles from the 1980s or fancy the styles of the 70s and 90s, then Ed & Sarna Vintage Eyewear is the place for you. We have hundreds of genuine unworn frames from the 70s, 80s and 90s from top brands including Burberry, Christian Dior, Hugo Boss and Valentino.


We source frames from across Europe and America, finding completely unworn frames that are in most cases one of a kind. This means when you shop with us you will make a statement with your unique frames.

If you’d like to find out more about any of our frames, or about how you can even get your prescription put in your lenses, get in touch with us today.

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