Sunglasses have, apparently, been around for hundreds of years. Some wise man in China fashioned some to protect his eyes from the sun’s glare in the 15th century. Clever him. They only really became popular in the 1930s, when pilots started wearing the ‘Aviator’ style of sunglasses. Although this craze was widespread for a time, the Second World War meant people’s minds were elsewhere and sunglasses were not seen for a few years. Glamorous film stars and celebrities were keen on them in the 1950s and 60s, but it was in the 70s that they once again became widespread. Hippies loved to wear shades, man.
The thing I’ve never quite understood about sunglasses is why people feel the need to wear them even when it’s not sunny. OK, if you’re a celebrity or a British royal trying to escape the press’ beady eye, perhaps they are a good idea. But for the average man or woman on the street, you need to have real delusions of grandeur to want to wear the sunnies year round.
Take last week for example. There I am, happily minding my own business doing the weekly shop, when suddenly the doors to the food store swing open, as if a bolt of lightning had struck them. In from the dripping rain and gloom came a tall, striking woman, with long flowing blonde hair and clearly a good taste in shoes. Skin tight jeans, red nails and a bright red cami top completed the look. Her pretty features were somewhat masked by the huge sunglasses she was wearing. This despite the fact that at that point we hadn’t seen the sun for several weeks, and the rain was literally being thrown down by a very angry God.
Said sunglasses-clad woman strode purposefully through the shop, occasionally stopping to pick up an aubergine, chocolate, or other necessary purchases. She mustered her goods to the checkout and left without saying a word. It was as if a beautiful, mini-tornado had whirled its way through our local convenience store. Strangely enough, I secretly kind of liked her.
Think of all the heroes and villains of the popular culture films we have grown up watching. The protagonists of The Terminator, Men in Black and Top Gun are but a few examples. Sunglasses are the crowning glory on either a scoundrel or a saint. They make a person look edgy, stylish and cool. If you hide your eyes from the world, you are hiding how you really feel. This gives you a certain amount of power.
Imagine a world where you could not read people’s facial expressions, or make eye contact with people. It would make people listen much more carefully. Whether you were doing a job interview, or simply going out for dinner with friends, our whole social world would be very different.
The styles of sunglasses to choose from are many and varied. Perhaps you like the Wayfarer type, with its allusions back to the 80s, or Police brand shades. Maybe you like to go retro and wear 50s style glasses, or those polarised action hero sunglasses we see in the films. Girls can bling up their sunglasses with a pair of diamante shades from Dolce & Gabbana, whilst guys can add the bling by wearing a pair of gold tops. However you prefer to wear them, there’s bound to be a pair to suit you this season. My advice would be to get looking now, before the summer rush.
Just try not to wear them in the rain and the dark, if you’re in my part of town.
About The Author: David writes about the changing world of how classic brands continue to offer the same range of successful products decade after decade and survive the ever changing storm in one of the world’s most competitive and fad-focussed consumer markets.