Put on a pair of Wayfarer shades, and you’ll look cooler no matter what you’re wearing. It’s as if they have this mystical power to give you a swagger so smooth you’re almost a different person. There’s just something about the trapezoid shape and Cadillac tail fin-inspired structure that oozes sophisticated style.
Everyone from Bob Dylan to Tom Cruise rocked a pair of these timeless shades — we can probably name a random celebrity or pop culture icon from the past or present and find a picture of them donning a pair. There’s a pair of Wayfarers out there for everyone and we’ve decided to gather the best interpretations of the iconic silhouette. However, before we jump in, we’ll go over a little bit of their fashion history to get you better acquainted with the shades.
The Wayfarer Design
A Brief History
Ray-Ban introduced the Wayfarers back in 1956, setting the fashion world on fire with a pair of bold shades, and everyone instantly fell in love. They were designed four years prior to their release by American optical designer Raymond Stegemen, who worked for Bausch & Lomb, Ray-Ban’s parent company during the ’50s. Everyone under the sun was rocking a pair, including John F. Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. They were in vogue for a solid couple of decades until they faded for a brief break. Then, the sunglasses snatched the spotlight again in 1980, making a prominent appearance in The Blues Brothers. Their popularity dipped in the early 2000s, only to resurface once again in the early 2010s, lighting up mainstream fashion. Style is the only thing that never goes out of fashion and the Wayfarers have style to last a lifetime.
Warby Parker Thatcher Sunglasses
Warby Parker offers slender frames that have a bold, classic style with acetate construction. They fit almost any face shape with their wide, comfortable frames and are built with hand-polished cellulose acetate and scratch-resistant lenses capable of blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays. They also have minimal branding for a more discreet look. This iteration of the Wayfarer design comes with a one-year, no-scratch guarantee.
Oakley Frogskins Sunglasses
Made in America, these Oakley Frogskins Sunglasses are inspired by the 1980s, projecting a retro vibe. They have high definition ‘Optics’ lenses with magnificent clarity across the entire field of view and ‘HDO’ refraction, providing you with a true visual image, keeping your brain from working overtime to process all the details in front of you. To further help your eyes, Oakley’s lenses block 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, as well a harmful blue light. Protecting your eyes on the brightest day, these Frogskins sunglasses are always reliable.
Raen Arlo Sunglasses
These frames channel the classic style of the ‘50s and ‘60s with a commanding bravado. The hand-tooled frames are constructed from Zyl acetate and formed with a saddle-style bridge for extra comfort. They’re put together with stainless steel five-barrel hinges for durability and custom hardware at the temples. The Carl Zeiss CR-39 lenses protect your eyes against harmful UV rays, keeping them fresh and in focus. These handmade sunglasses are also prescription ready.
Electric Swingarm Sunglasses
Electric’s Italian-made Swingarm Sunglasses come with the option of premium polarized lenses. These anti-glare lenses, which also increase visual comfort and contrast, allow you to see through glare on the water’s surface. They have 100% UV and HEV (High-energy visible light) protection and 98% blue light protection from melanin, keeping your eyes safe while adding style to your outfit. Constructed with mold injected ‘Grilamid’ polycarbonate frames, these durable shades are perfect if you’re on the go. Standing by their handsome product, Electric offers these sunglasses with a lifetime warranty.
Tom Ford Leo Sunglasses
Legendary American Fashion Designer Tom Ford re-imagined the Wayfarer silhouette and produced a modern version with beautiful gold accents. These Italian-made shades are built using polarized Blue 6 Base CR39 lenses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. The 52 mm lenses are slightly smaller than the original Wayfarer and the edges are more rounded and less aggressive for a designer-wear makeover. They’re made with a lustrous black acetate frame showcasing rose gold palladium metal ’T’ details. In case your vision isn’t as fresh as your style, these shades are also prescription friendly.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Folding Classic
Ray-Ban made their iconic Wayfarer silhouette even better with a version equipped with a practical folding capability. These always-in-style shades are modeled after the original Wayfarer Classic that started it all. Fashion and convenience are rolled up into one with these beautiful shades so you can take them wherever you go and know you’ll have room for them when the sun goes down. These glasses have polarized green classic G-15 lenses, which were originally used for the military, offering superb clarity, comfort, and protection. The lenses absorb 85% of visible light and block a solid majority of blue light while reducing the brightness of shiny surfaces for an optimal view.
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer
These classic shades look exactly like the original design that came out in the 1950s except for the metal studs. They have various lens treatments, including crystal green, crystal grey gradient, and G-15 polarized. Ray-Ban’s 54 mm shades are legendary, having been worn by plenty of pop icons and historical figures with the list growing every year. They have been a Hollywood favorite for decades both on and offscreen, adapting to any fashion trend you throw at them. Although there have been plenty of fashion-forward interpretations of the Wayfarer, the original still wears the crown for being the best of the bunch.
Persol PO3164 Sunglasses
World-renowned eyewear company Persol gives you a smoother version of the classic Wayfarer structure. They feature Persol’s signature ‘Meflecto’ technology, the world’s first flexible stem system created for optimal comfort that removes the pressure on the head from the arms of the sunglasses. The 56 mm acetate crystal lenses are one of the larger eye windows for the Wayfarer design for those wanting a little more coverage than the norm. The sunglasses are finished off with Persol’s legendary logo on both arms called ‘The Arrow.’ They come in a variety of colors, including black, gradient grey striped green, and striped brown.
Tracksmith The Charles Sunglasses
Collaborating with Article One, Tracksmith created their first pair of running sunglasses for men taking inspiration from the classic Wayfarer blueprint. Made with TR90 polymer plastic, which is extremely durable, flexible, and adjustable, these shades are made for the road. The hypoallergenic frame will hold its shape after it adjusts to your face and bends to move along with you. These lightweight sun blockers will help running look like a breeze.
Oliver Peoples L.A. Coen Sunglasses
Known for their superb quality and vintage style, Oliver Peoples knows how to make fashionable specs. Their La Coen Square Sunglasses have a universal fit with acetate frames accented with stud details at the frame’s front. They have discreet branding so people will be focused on the style of the shades rather than the power of the logo. The lenses also have 100% UVA/UVB protection.
Moscot Gelt Sun
Moscow’s Gelt Sun shades have diamond-shaped rivets and a comfy keyhole nose bridge for a bold, classic style. These handcrafted acetate sunglasses feature a five-barrel hinge and acetate nose pads for a relaxed fit. The Gelt Suns have minimal accents, such as Moscot temple engravings and Moscot’s signature acetate tips to help them stand out without screaming for attention. They also have real G-15 glass lenses for amazing clarity.
Garret Leight Calabar Sunglasses
Garret Leight’s take on the Wayfarer silhouette comes in the form of the slick Calabar shades. Like the original Wayfarer design, they’re inspired by ‘50s car fins. Constructed with a cellulose acetate and a metal core wire, these shades are as sturdy as they are stylish. The square-shaped design works well for all face shapes and comes in several dashing colors, including matte russet, champagne, and black laminate crystal.
Salt Lopez Sunglasses
Built with thicker temple profiles, Salt’s Lopez sunglasses keep the classic ‘50s look while feeling more audacious. They’re made with reliable acetate frames and small metal studs on the front of the frame to help the shape of the shades command the scene. To keep your peepers protected, the polarized lenses shield your eyes from all the harmful rays of the sun while providing you with a clear view ahead.
Cutler And Gross Square Frame Sunglasses
Made in Italy from fine glossy black acetate and intriguing square frames, these Cutler and Gross sunglasses solidify the company’s flawless craftsmanship and designs. They have wide tapering arms, grey lenses with 100% UV protection, and come with a hard case to keep them protected when night falls. They’re a pair of daring shades meant to go with just about any outfit.
Thom Browne Navy Sunglasses
If you’re looking for Wayfarer sunglasses with a more formal, high-end vibe, Thom Browne’s Navy Sunglasses are a luxurious option. Making a name for themselves by modernizing the suit, Thom Browne gives the Wayfarer a contemporary look unlike any other company. These shades have dark blue custom acetate 100% UVA and UVB lenses with anti-reflective coating, titanium temples, and custom tri-colored signature temple tips. With business blue frames and gold arms, these sunglasses are a dapper remake of the Wayfarer style. The 49 mm lenses are significantly smaller than the original design.
Silver Screen Shades: 20 Best Movie Sunglasses
The Ray-Ban Wayfarers are a pair of popular shades that have graced the silver-screen on more than one occasion, joining several sunglasses with notable screen time in classic movies. Check out our list of the 20 best movie sunglasses and expand your sun blocker collection.