In 1952, Ray Ban probably didn't realize how important their newly introduced style called the
Wayfarer would be, or for how long. The first versions were black with black lenses, and the style roared through Hollywood, beat culture, and the general culture like no other. Sure, the aviators were and are extremely popular, but the Wayfarer changed sunglasses forever. For one thing, they had the ear-pieces at the top of the frames, which today doesn't seem significant. But in 1952 it was revolutionary.
And then, Hollywood "royalty" started wearing them for the practical purpose of shielding their eyes from the bright California sun on studio backlots. The fact that they looked amazing turned out to be a wonderful side benefit. They were photographed on stars as different as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, and Kim Novak. President Kennedy wore them in the 60s, and President Obama has been photographed in them nearly 60 years later. They've been seen on Bob Dylan, Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Sienna Miller, and Will Smith. The only other style that can even compete in the same ballpark as far as versatility is the Ray Ban Aviator.
The Wayfarer was nothing less than sculpture for the face, and the style singlehandedly brought about the domination of plastic-framed eyewear pretty much permanently. Hollywood's love affair with the Wayfarer eventually worked its way into American culture in general. Anyone who can remember life before the early 1970s knows just how ubiquitous the style was, both on the street, and on vacation, where it seemed every dad in America owned a pair.
Though the Wayfarer's popularity has soared and dipped over the nearly six decades since the style was introduced, they never go out of style, because they simply cannot be beat for their classic look, and their superior function as eye protection. The roster of stars who wear Wayfarers in 2010 is every bit as diverse as the ones who wore them 50 years ago.
Today's Wayfarer comes in numerous pop-art colors and lens combinations, including sorbet pastels like pink and aqua. For the bold, they come with white frames, and for anyone who simply wants a "go-to" pair of sunglasses that will always look great, they're still available in traditional black-on-black. It would be hard to come up with anything in style culture more identifiably American than Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. They're up there with baseball, road trips, tailgate parties, and Weber barbecue grills in the backyard as far as enduring icons of American style and culture.
You can see the official history of the Ray Ban Wayfarers by clicking on the following link: History of Wayfarers