In the mid 1950s, the baddest American mothereffers all wore Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, James Dean, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn donned the simple sunglasses. At the time, the hard plastic shades were a departure from their rounder, metallic predecessors.
Then in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, everybody started doing lots of drugs, getting all colorful and weird, and having sex with strangers. Sales of Wayfarers declined until the early ‘80s, when Ray-Ban partnered with a product placement company. In 1983’s Risky Business, a precocious Tom Cruise wore Wayfarers in between throwing outrageous house parties and having sex with a call girl on Chicago’s L Train. Then there was Miami Vice, The Breakfast Club, The Ramones, Anna Wintour, Jack Nicholson, Run DMC, and on and on. They were cool again.
Around that same time, came the Oakley Frogskins, a very similar pair of sunglasses that also gained popularity until the grunge scene hit and everybody got sad and angry. Fortunately in the late 2000s, once grunge settled out, both Ray-Ban and Oakley resurrected their classics. The $150 Wayfarer is a little classier (and more expensive) than the Frogskins. But I’m a skier. I’m really the antithesis of class. Though they’re available in all kinds of loud colors, I’ll take my Frogskins black on black. I like the minimalist simplicity, not to mention their historical connection to some fine Americans.
Let’s just hope they’re here to stay this time.