By the 1980’s Ray Ban had capitalized on what are now commonly called “Aviators” when they placed a pair over the eyes of the iconic Tom Cruise in his hit blockbuster “Top Gun.” Today, despite hundreds of companies producing sunglasses, Ray-Bans continue to be one of the founding fathers of modern spectacles and an iconic fashion statement across the globe.
Following this historic achievement, government agents working in protective and combat-related roles would use these shields not only to improve the clarity of their vision in the sun, but to conceal where they were looking.This trend in Hollywood, like any trend in Hollywood, increased the mass appeal, and film buffs from around the world began adopting the large framed sunglasses worn by the Hollywood elite.Manufacturers like Sam Foster began to produce them in bulk, and the use of sunglasses was no longer limited to people wanting to avoid strain to their eyes — sunglasses had become a fashionable accessory and one that every man and woman wanted to flaunt proudly.100 years ago, a man would own at least a few hats.Today, sunglasses have taken their place and hats are worn by only a very few men.Sunglasses have since become synonymous with James Bond-style secret agents and Secret Service bodyguards charged with protecting high risk or affluent members of society.
By wearing sunglasses (both indoors and out), they didn’t have to wait for their eyes to adjust as much as they would have had they forgone the use of sun glasses as protective eyewear.
While this is the first documented use of sunglasses, the Roman emperor Nero was the man who really brought sunglasses to public light. Legend has it that Nero would watch the gladiators battle through emeralds he placed in front of his eyes.
While they would obviously distort his vision, they provided him some much-needed relief from the reflective rays of the hot summer sun.
While they certainly protect your eyes, they are also an excellent way to add personal style to your outfit.
With that said, there are some hard and fast rules one should adhere to when wearing shades.
Nero wasn’t the only one to use minerals as protection from the sun; in China, people would use smoked quartz crystals to combat the blinding glare.