We're celebrating one of our favorite accessories by taking a look back at the most storied style from each of the last ten decades and the brand that started it all. Iconic American sunglasses brand Foster Grant first introduced shades to the States back in 1929, making this year their 85th anniversary. The first pair was sold on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and the rest was history. In the 1960s, Foster Grant catapulted to fame with their now infamous advertising campaign, "Who's Behind Those Foster Grants?" which starred Hollywood celebrities like Raquel Welch, Mia Farrow, and Cindy Crawford (pictured above in a 1999 revival of the famous ads).
"Sunglasses introduced a whole new fashion element for America to enjoy," Matthew Coon, Foster Grant's director of product development and merchandising, tells InStyle. "Sunglasses are one of the key, must-have accessories today."
As for current styles? Coon believes the new is definitely influenced by the old. "Right now, the trend is definitely wearing a revival of the classics," Coon says. "The aviator, the Wayfarer, the club master—those are all classic shapes from the 1950s and 1960s that are timeless, and really look good on a universal group of people. Those are the styles that stay good no matter how many years go by." Considering the multitude of vintage-inspired sunnies available today, we think the styles of years past are here to stay. "Nowadays when we reinvent classics we're able to bring modern technology to each style which makes them a little different, but in essence still the same." A shout-out to Foster Grant for introducing sunnies to America 85 years ago!
It's a throwback summer—no matter whether you prefer ’40s retro or ’70s disco, you can find a pair that recalls the era. Shop sunglasses inspired by each decade in our gallery!
—With reporting by Brooke Mazurek
This feature originally appeared in InStyle’s July issue, on sale and available for digital download now.
1. 1920: CABLE TEMPLES
The secure wraparound design was a favorite of galloping equestrians.
Moscot, $305; moscot.com
2. 1930: AVIATORS
Originally designed for military pilots, these soon became mainstream.
Gucci, $325; nordstrom.com.
3. 1940: COLORED FRAMES
Shades on shades gained popularity to color-coordinate with outfits.
ICU Eyewear, $22; icueyewear.com
4. 1950: CAT'S-EYES
The upswept silhouette was meant to evoke glamour and sexiness.
Shauns, $305; shaunscalifornia.com
5. 1960: OVERSIZE
Options with more coverage initiated a bigger-is-better trend.
Thierry Lasry, $395; barneys.com
6. 1970: ROUND
A rise in funky styles reflected the foxy, fresh disco age.
Tom Ford, $425; tomford.com
7. 1980: MIRRORED LENSES
Colorful, see-and-be-seen specs made for a striking look.
Cutler and Gross, $500; cutlerandgross.com
8. 1990: SPORTY
Athletes helped this tight-fitting style take off.
Fantas-Eyes; $18; fantas-eyes.com
9. 2000: PATTERNED FRAMES
Sunglasses became a way to flaunt your personality. Cool camo? Why not!
Foster Grant, $10; fostergrant.com
10. Present: TECH ADD-ONS
UV-fighting lenses clip on to Google's wearable mini-computer.
Google Glass, $1,500; google.com