The 1960s gave us many things—mod fashion, a man on the moon, JFK, bell bottoms and the hippie culture, the Vietnam War, the Beatles, Martin Luther King, Jr., and on and on and on. These events and people shaped what the coming decades would be like, and have influenced all of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Today, on what might be one of the last really sunny, really hot, and really humid days of the summer (I just cringed when I wrote that—where did the time go?), I am most thankful for one thing in particular that came out of the 1960s—the oversized vintage sunglasses.
Please don’t think me shallow, vain, or ignorant; oversized sunglasses were absolutely not the most important thing to come out of the 1960s—but talk about a trend that lasted and gained immense popularity, am I right? Everyone has a pair (and if you’re like me, you have 50 pairs of inexpensive ones because you’re constantly crushing them in your handbag, sitting on them when you forget you tossed them on the driver’s seat of your car, or dropping them right at that moment when you slam the door shut and crush them [I probably do that more than anyone else in the world]). The oversized sunglasses fad really started with Jackie O—just add it to the list of things I love about her (right after sleek Vintage Chanel suits and before pillbox hats). Jackie O was one of those people whose reach was far and long-lasting—my father has a little red vintage MG, and when he takes my mom out for a ride (seriously, they’re adorable), she always insists on tying a scarf over her hair and donning her oversized sunglasses “to look like Jackie O!”.
Sunglasses had been around long before the Kennedy’s descended on the White House, of course. Ancient peoples had all sorts of forward-thinking designs to help shield their eyes from the sun’s glare, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that wearing sunglasses became more widespread. Sam Foster first introduced inexpensive mass-produced sunglasses to America in 1929, and their popularity took off from there. Now sunglasses come in all shapes and sizes, and for many different activities—climbing a glacier today? Better take your glacier goggles! Thinking about a space walk? They’ve got glasses for that! And so I give you this advice—summer may be winding down, but the sun still shines bright in fall and the glare off the snow in winter is unbearable without something to shield your eyes. The perfect time to buy sunglasses is anytime! We’ve got a couple pairs of great vintage Fendi sunglasses in stock right now as well as Vintage Chanel—and there’s no better time to snatch them up.
written by Heather Cox and edited by Sarah Korsiak Cellier for Rice and Beans Vintage