The Rich History of Men’s Wayfarer Sunglasses
- by Off The Cuff
- September 22, 2023
- 4 min read
No matter what you like, there’s a style of sunglasses out there for you.
However, when you think of a timeless and stylish pair of sunglasses, nothing beats men’s Wayfarer sunglasses.
We all know that Wayfarers provide effortless style. Whether you’re pairing them with a bespoke suit or a t-shirt and jeans, you’ll be looking sharp.
What you might not know is that Wayfarer sunglasses have a rich history dating back to the 1950s.
Below, we’ll walk you through the history of men’s Wayfarer sunglasses. But first, let’s touch on the characteristics that define the iconic frames.
What Are Men’s Wayfarer Sunglasses?
The Wayfarer sunglasses design is defined by a horizontal rectangle shape. Near the top, the frames are broad and reach out to a point—this is sometimes referred to as “wings.” The lower half features a rounded shape that covers a wide range of the eye area without being too overbearing.
The result is a classic design that has been popular for decades. It exudes a bold yet sophisticated style that works with any outfit.
History of Men’s Wayfarer Sunglasses
So, where did these iconic frames come from?
The Wayfarer design dates back to 1952. They were invented by Raymond Stegman—then working for Bausch & Lomb, the parent company of the popular glasses brand, Ray-Ban. Stegman’s design vision was simple yet ahead of its time: create a frame shape with masculine and aggressive shapes.
Wayfarers found moderate success in their first few years. However, this changed with the release of Rebel Without a Cause in 1955. Starring James Dean, he donned a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses throughout the movie and inspired a generation of men to get the frames for themselves. James Dean wasn’t the only huge star to sport these classic frames, either.
Throughout the 1960s, several other icons helped cement the popularity of the Wayfarer sunglasses, including Bob Dylan, Muhammad Ali, and even The Beatles. Next to the round frame glasses often worn by John Lennon, they were synonymous with the look of the 1960s counterculture movement.
While the 1970s were more of a down period for the Wayfarers, things would take a serious turn for the better in the 80s.
1982 saw Bausch & Lomb sign a monumental contract to place the Wayfarer sunglasses shape on the faces of icons in movies and television. From this contract, sales of the product skyrocketed and reached nearly 2 million units sold. The 1980s then concluded with Michael Jackson sporting the frames as part of his look for the “Bad” tour.
Unfortunately, as fashion trends come and go, the 1990s were another down period for the Wayfarer shape. Other brands, such as Oakley, popularized a wrap-around frame shape that dominated the decade.
It wasn’t until the late 2000s that the Wayfarer frames took over the market once again. In 2007, after noticing significant sales of their older frame styles on eBay, Ray-Ban released a remade version of the old Wayfarer shape.
Today, the Wayfarer frame shape continues to be one of the most popular sunglasses on the market. It’s hard to beat the combination of versatility and effortless style that they provide.
3 Wayfarer-Style Sunglasses From Joseph Abboud
Sold on the Wayfarer style?
If so, we have some excellent options that mimic the design—check out three of our favorites.
Black Square Sunglasses
You can never go wrong with a solid black pair of sunglasses.
These Black Square Sunglasses from Joseph Abboud exude effortless style and classiness. Featuring an injected frame, a smooth temple design, and polarized lenses, these sunglasses are a must-have for your collection. They’re ideal for any outfit—pair them with a well-fitted suit or your favorite casual look.
Get the Black Square Sunglasses from Joseph Abboud for $40.
Crystal Modified Rectangle Sunglasses
Need a change of pace from the black sunglasses? How about these unique crystal frames?
The Crystal Modified Rectangle Sunglasses will have you turning heads. With a crystal frame front, satin gunmetal temples, and polarized lenses in solid blue smoke, these sunglasses make a style statement like no other. We love them paired with any outfit—casual or formal.
Pick up these stylish frames from Joseph Abboud for $40.
Black Round Sunglasses
Similar to the square shape, but with a more rounded top—you can’t go wrong with the Black Round Sunglasses!
These frames have all the features you’d expect from a pair of Joseph Abboud sunglasses: an injected frame, a silver accent piece, and a sporty temple design that we know you’ll love. No matter the occasion, you’ll be happy to have these sunglasses on to elevate your outfit.
Pick up the Black Round Sunglasses for just $40.
Find More Stylish Pairs of Sunglasses From Joseph Abboud
We love the Wayfarer sunglasses design. It’s one of our favorites.
However, we also love other styles of sunglasses, too. For example, Aviators, round frames, and much more.
Find all of your favorite styles of sunglasses in the Joseph Abboud sunglasses collection today!