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History of Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an essential accessory, and for good reasons. Not only do they protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays, they add fashion and pizzazz to any ensemble. Both men and women rely on sunglasses every day to look stylish and have better eye health.

Have you stopped and wondered about the history of sunglasses? They didn’t just appear out of nowhere! You might think that sunglasses were invented in the 20th century – but think again. Sunglasses (in some form) were used over 2000 years ago. Now that’s a long time ago!

Want to learn more about the history of sunglasses? Read on to find out these practical fashion accessories became a staple in men and women’s wardrobes, and how you can get your own pair of great sunglasses for a great price!

So, what’s the earliest pair of sunglasses that we know of? Well, it was over 2000 years ago when the Intuit made their very own makeshift sunglasses from walrus ivory. The purpose of these prehistoric sunglasses was to protect against snow blindness from the glare of the sun on the snow. The ivory was flattened, and little slits were made so that they could see through them. These sunglasses or snow goggles were used when hunting.

In the 12th century, sunglasses were used for stealth more than sun protection. They were made from smoky quartz and were worn by judges in China. Why? So that they looked like they didn’t have any expressions when they heard cases.

The 1700s and 1800s saw bigger improvements in sunglasses. People began to develop them for medical reasons over fashion. An English optician named James Ayscoughinvented blue and green sunglass lenses to correct vision impairments. These glasses were used in the 1800s and prescribed for patients with syphilis. Ironically, these early sunglasses resembled John Lennon sunglasses!

In the 1920s and 1930s, Hollywood glamour was all the rage, and sunglasses were a big part of a star’s ensemble. They became a huge fad, and actresses and actors relied on sunglasses to avoid being recognized by the public. They also wore them to hide their red eyes – a result of arc lamps used in filming. This was also around the time when Sam Foster introduced his mass-produced vintage sunglasses.

Women’s cat eye sunglasses became popular in the 1950s, with Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn rocking the look. In the 1960s, funky, chunky, and bold sunglasses were what every man and woman wanted to match their outfits.

80s sunglasses were fun and still are! Top Gun was popular, making aviator sunglasses for men and women’s aviator sunglasses top sellers. Everyone wanted aviators! Big tortoise shell sunglasses were popular too, and the bigger the better. Big shades in red, white, and more show big 80s style.

Today, sunglasses are anything from fun and wild to sophisticated and practical. You can buy designer brands and less expensive sunglasses to match your look. At Hello Shades, you can get great retro styles for less. Whether you’re looking for cool modern shades like men’s Clubmaster sunglasses or awesome retro sunglasses from different decades, we’ve got you covered!