20 STYLISH SUNGLASSES TO LOOK SUPERCOOL ON THE BEACH THIS SUMMER
It seems like almost everyone is jet-setting off somewhere warm these days after almost two years stuck on our small island – and what’s the best accessory to bring to a sunny clime? Sunglasses, of course! Whether you love classic black, tortoiseshell, or a cool pair of aviators or if more funky and fun like 70s circle frames with coloured lenses or 80s Ray-Bans are your thing, there’s a frame style for everyone – or more than one style! Let’s take a look at the coolest unisex sunglasses trends for summer 2022. And if you aren’t getting away just yet, you can enjoy these as you strut down the city streets after work, when you get invited to a BBQ in your neighbour’s garden, or when you visit the British seaside to enjoy some fish ‘n’ chips.
Fun and trendy frames
If you saw our recent blog posts on nail trends and fashion trends for spring-summer 2022, you will know that the 90s are back in a big way this season. Who knows how long it’ll last? But if you want to be on-point and on-trend this summer, you can check out some of these trendy 90s-inspired frames.
- Bottega Veneta Eyewear Gold Tone Classic Square Sunglasses (£285): these gold-tone square sunglasses have frameless grey lenses and are made in Italy. For those who love a nosepad, these sunglasses come with one.
- Linda Farrow Dries Van Noten D-Frame Sunglasses in Beige (they also have brown and yellow) (£265): Linda Farrow collaborated with the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, which has been described as deluxe bohemia, to create crystal beige acetate chunky frames into a bevelled temple with industrial metal exposed elements transitioning to a contrasting coloured top. The beige sunglasses have a contrasting orange lens and offer 100% UV protection.
- Loewe X Paulas Ibiza Eyewear in Flower Cat-Eye Acetate Sunglasses (£290): these playful aesthetic beige sunglasses look like flowers but in a cat-eye shape.
- Balenciaga Xpander Butterfly Sunglasses in Silver (£370): even though they’re described as silver, these Spring 2022 Clones Collection Balenciaga Xpander butterfly sunglasses have a metalised brown bio-injected nylon with mirror silver lenses. This unique shape has open frames on the top of the eye, which is unique.
- Jacquemus Nocio Wayfarer-Frame Acetate Sunglasses in Pink (£285): these fun pink frames are very bubblegum 90s and wouldn’t have looked amiss on Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, or Britney Spears.
These timeless frames will never go out of style. If you want an investment pair of sunglasses that won’t wane with passing trends, these are for you.
- Isabel Marant Eyewear square tortoiseshell-acetate sunglasses (£180): these 50s-inspired frames are oversised with a classic tortoiseshell effect.
- Ray-Ban Wayfarer Ease frames (£184): these polarised and unisex sunglasses have been cool since their invention in 1937 (the brand not this particular style).
- Moscot X Saturdays NYC Toma Sun (£370): this style comes in black or tortoiseshell. If you want something classic but still a little unusual, this is the pair for you.
- Giorgio Armani Women’s Round Sunglasses (£243): this style of shiny yellow Havana frames in a round shape is reminiscent of the brand’s archival style.
- Totême Classic D-frame acetate sunglasses (£240): these classic black frames will be timeless and won’t go out of style.
For the gal or guy who’s a little “extra” and full of sass and glamour, these frames are sure to please and be eye-catching to boot.
- Leonie Bio Plastic Sunglasses (£295): these fun sunglasses come in five colours to match your mood. Their classic profile is a little 60s glam.
- Vivienne Westwood Sophia Sunglasses (£195): inspired by the glam and gorgeous Italian actress Sophia Loren, these hexagonal frames with curved sides, have tonal lenses for a unique and stylish look.
- Gucci Eyewear GG-logo Oversized Square Acetate Sunglasses (£290): these oversized 70s-inspired square sunglasses have a large gold-tone GG temple logo and provide full sun protection whilst making you look glam without a care in the world.
- Valentino Garavani Cat-Eye Acetate Frame Roman Stud (£270): these unique cat eye sunglasses come in three amazing colours. The cut-out lenses are certainly attention-grabbing.
- Gucci Cat-Eye Frame Sunglasses (£520): for a little sparkle in your life, these contemporary 50s-inspired cat-eye frames have creative purple lenses with the Gucci house name on the side. They’re adorned with crystals around the rim for added charisma.
Both men and women cannot go wrong with the all-around classic aviators.
- Chloe Eyewear Vitto Aviator Metal Sunglasses (£350): these gold-tone metal Vitto sunglasses have a classic aviator shape with burgundy rims and gradient-blue lenses. They’re an oversized take on the classic high-flying shape.
- Michael Kors Richmond Sunglasses (£190): available in olive, silver, or gunmetal, this classic aviator silhouette has a timeless shape with a new fashionable edge.
- Kenzo Grey Aviator Sunglasses (£190): aviators meet funky goggles in grey with green lenses. These are fashion-forward for the most daring.
- Tom Ford Wide Fit High Bridge Aviator Sunglasses (£305): these sleek minimalistic sunglasses don’t feature flashy logos and the designs are modern but will remain timeless. This take on the aviator comes in a warm brown with gold-toned lenses.
- Victoria Beckham Aviator Sunglasses (£305): these unique aviators come with light brown lenses with gold-toned metal with tortoiseshell accents and a cutout along the middle of the brows – they also come with a quilted leather case.
Short history lesson: where did sunglasses originate?
Sunglasses have been popular since the 1930s. However, prehistoric Inuit people developed a type of pre-sunglasses fashioned as snow goggles of flattened walrus or caribou ivory with narrow slits to prevent snow blindness. The Roman emperor Nero was also rumoured to have enjoyed watching gladiator fights via cut emerald spectacles.
The first sunglasses invented in 12th century China were made from smoky quartz shaved into flat planes and named Ai Tai (i.e. “dark clouds”), protecting the wearer’s eyes from glare. These types of primitive “sunglasses” were also described in documents to be used by judges in ancient Chinese courts to conceal their facial expressions when questioning witnesses. King Louis XIV’s court used smoky glass filters attached to telescope lenses to view the 1706 solar eclipse. By the 18th century, there were reports of tainted mirror-like framed Murano “gondola” glasses (a type of Venetian glass) used to shield the eyes from the glare of the canal water. An early surviving depiction of someone wearing sunglass-like glasses is of scientist Antoine Lavoisier in 1772, who used to work with amplified sunlight and later in the 19th century, sunglasses were worn by railway passengers. All early “sunglasses” were designed to protect the wearer from glare and it wasn’t until later that the need to protect the eyes from UV was discovered.
More modern sunglasses didn’t appear until the 1800s with Jean-Marie-Théodore Fieuzal who was the first to use UV protection with yellow shaded glasses. Rodenstock GmbH created the first sunglasses to protect against UV and not just glare.
In 1913, Sir William Crookes, a British chemist and physicist, introduced Crookes lenses which were made from glass containing cerium, a substance that blocked UV light. Cerium is a soft, ductile, silvery-white metal and one of the chemical elements. It tarnishes when exposed to air. It’s a rare earth mineral that doesn’t play any biological role in the human body but isn’t toxic upon exposure.
In the early 1920s, sunglasses use became widespread, popularised by movie stars and later inexpensive mass-produced sunglasses made from celluloid were produced by Sam Foster in 1929. Interestingly, celluloid was originally invented as a substitute for using ivory and tortoiseshell and was first used in combs, which was Foster’s original business until 20s starlets started to sport shorter hairstyles and he found the sunglasses market more lucrative. He marketed his goods on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey in Woolworths on the Boardwalk.
In 1938, Life magazine wrote a feature on his sunglasses describing them as a “new fad.” Over 20 million sunglasses were sold but only about 20% of those pairs were for sun protection, with most being used as fashion accessories. Later, pilots started using sunglasses and the aviators were born. A little after Foster was creating his sunglasses, Edwin H. Land invented the polarised sunglasses in 1936.
Currently Xiamen, China produces the most sunglasses, exporting over 120 million pairs each year. Do you wear sunglasses for eye protection or fashion or both? We all know that a good pair of sunglasses can make you feel glam – or cover up your face when you haven’t quite had the time to perfect your makeup before nipping out.
Which of these sunglasses on our list would you wear? Do you prefer classic and timeless styles, something new and fun, or something else entirely? Are there any sunglasses you absolutely love and have had for years? Feel free to share those too. Snap a pic and share it on our social media.
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