Game Changing Women's Sunglasses
2000 years ago Inuit made use of sun goggles, which shielded their eyes from the flare of light that was reflected off the sun. They formed a strip across the eye area, with thin slits that the wearer could see through. Sometimes soot or gunpowder was rubbed on the outside to help absorb the light and the narrow slit helped to focus eyesight. Who would have known that these helpful sun goggles made from driftwood, bone, ivory or antler would one day evolve into the ultimate fashion accessory… the sunglasses.
Sunglasses have taken the world by storm, so here is more on how the team at Ed & Sarna think that women’s vintage sunglasses have changed the world.
The Rise Of Sunglasses In the 20th Century
The modern form of sunglasses was invented in the 18th century with lenses held together by wire and the frame going over the ears to secure them. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that sunglasses became such a big part of pop culture.
The rise of film bought with it a surge in people wearing sunglasses in public. Famous movie stars hid behind shades to avoid the paparazzi and reduce the amount they’re recognised in public. The dazzling lights of movie sets would also turn people’s eyes red, so putting on a pair of sunglasses would maintain their attractive image.
And as the celebrities of the era sported classy shades, the public demanded the same. Soon sunglasses boomed and by the 1940s were worn by most as just a fashion accessory instead of to protect their eyes. Polarised lenses to block intense light became available in 1936, with Ray Bans launching the following year, meaning that sunglasses were now functional and fashionable.
Here are some famous examples of sunglasses from cultural icons that still inspire fashion and pop culture in 2023.
Audrey Hepburn - Cat Eye Frames
Probably one of the most iconic images in all of cinema is Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. As Holly Golightly, she charmed audiences around the world from the very first scene, as she pulls up outside Tiffany & Co, stares through the window and enjoys her breakfast of a coffee and pastry. In the scene, she is famously wearing a Hubert de Givenchy dress, paired with a Roger Scemama necklace and a pair of cat eye frames designed by Oliver Goldsmith. Hepburn bought both the ‘little black dress’ and cat eye sunglasses to the masses with this ensemble and sent people clamouring for large tortoiseshell frames and dark lenses. Check out Ed & Sarna’s selection of vintage cat eye frames here.
Marilyn Monroe - Butterfly Frames
Another pioneer of the sunglasses trend was Marlyn Monroe, as whatever the blonde bombshell wore was instantly coveted by women around the world. Butterfly-framed glasses were said to lift the face due to the frame's upper edges and slender shape. They were seen as seductive and feminine, just like Monroe herself.
Butterfly frames began to fade in popularity from the 70s onwards but recently saw a resurgence in the late 90s, with everybody from Rihanna to Kim Kardashian sporting the classic shape. Ed & Sarna stocks a great selection of butterfly-shaped glasses from top designers such as Christian Dior and Versace.
Jackie Onassis - Jackie O Frames
You have to be a certain type of iconic to have a style of sunglasses typically named after you. But that was how much of a cultural icon Jackie Onassis was in the 60s and 70s. The clothes she wore during her time as First Lady are remembered to this day, such as the pink Chanel suit she wore on the day of JFKs assassination.
But the main element of her style that has lived on is Jackie O Sunglasses. Her timeless style influenced many, as her place as First Lady meant she was constantly being photographed for the world to see. Something that became synonymous with her was her penchant for wearing large sunglasses. It was even said she kept several in a bowl by the front door for her to quickly put on whenever she left the house.
She wasn’t particularly fussy when it came to the exact shape of the glasses, sporting round, square and even hexagon-shaped ones. All have a distinctive oversize shape that blocked rays and exuded glamour.
Vintage Eyewear From Ed & Sarna
Vintage eyeglasses are all the rage in 2023, so if you want to get your hands on great quality, unworn frames from the 70s, 80s and 90s, shop with Ed & Sarna Vintage Eyewear today. We have hundreds of genuine vintage glasses from some of the most iconic brands. You can shop for vintage Dior sunglasses or browse by frame shape if you’re on the lookout for a specific style.
You can even customise glasses with your own prescription or different lens colours, creating your own pair of bespoke sunglasses.
We offer free online eyewear sterling consultations, so give us a call today at 0800 054 6766 to find out more or book online now!