Have you ever wished you could be someone else for a day? Sunglasses have a way of doing that, of allowing you to step out of your skin and into a new persona. Sunglasses provide allure and mystery and second-hand sunglasses are the simplest way to update your style. So if you want to discover the very best in sunglasses design in order to adopt a whole new mystique for yourself, check out our guide of the top iconic shades of the last several decades. Perhaps you’ll find the pair that resonates with your inner-self and end up like Karl Lagerfeld, feeling so at home in your shades you never want to take them off.
Of all the sunglasses for men, none of them are as iconic as the aviator shade, a fashion and cinematic classic. Of course, the most famous pair of aviators was probably the one worn by Tom Cruise in Top Gun but they weren’t the first. The tear-shaped shades were designed in 1937 to protect U.S. Air Force pilots from sun glare. These are some of the most highly engineered sunglasses on the market so if you want extremely functional glasses that just drip with cool factor, aviator shades are going to be your go-tos. Though a favourite of the male crowd, aviator shades are a strong choice for wearers of any gender who want a pair of sunglasses that match their innate swagger. Just check out how many times Angelina Jolie has been photographed in her beloved Alexander McQueen aviators if you don’t believe us.
Round sunglasses have been the favoured shape of some very influential musicians throughout the 20th century and today. While Sir Elton John boasts of having over 250,000 pairs of sunglasses, the ones he is most known for are his round glasses with coloured lenses. Elton John is clearly a man who loves wild and outlandish fashion so if you also want to celebrate your larger-than-life personality, these sunglasses might be perfect for you. He’s not the only musician known for his round shades. John Lennon was perhaps the first to adopt the look and he will forever be remembered wearing them so selecting a pair of round frames can give you a retro, groovy style. Round frames are often paired with coloured lenses so aren’t restricted to a traditional dark frame. Go wild like Elton and choose any colour you can imagine.
Oversized sunglasses are perfect for those fashion lovers who want a chic, stylish look. In fact, two of the most fashionable women in history, Audrey Hepburn and Anna Wintour, are known for their big framed shades. While celebs sometimes wear oversized sunglasses to try to protect their privacy, the result is normally the opposite. These sunglasses are definitely statement pieces, offering the wearer glamour and allure. But you don’t need to wear your most fashionable clothes with these sunglasses- by wearing these your whole ensemble will get an instant style boost.
The trick to pulling off oversized sunglasses is in the shape. If you have a round face, opt for a more rectangular frame and if you have an angular face go for oval frames. If you have an oval face- lucky you! Sunglasses of all shapes are made for you.
Cat eye sunglasses are one of our favourite retro sunglasses. They have the power to transport the wearer back to the ‘50s and ‘60s. Modern versions of this design feature oversized frames but if you still love the original, check out our pre-loved vintage selection on Vestiaire Collective. Ready to get back to the office and conquer the corporate ladder? For our idea of power dressing, enter the office wearing a pair of Bottega Veneta’s cat eye tortoiseshell acetate sunglasses with a smart blazer and some killer high-rise trousers. People will know you are confident, classy and ready to succeed.
For those who are drawn to the bad boy persona, the Ray-Ban® Wayfarer sunglasses are going to be right up your alley. From James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause to the always-sexy-in-sunglasses Tom Cruise in Risky Business, the wayfarer sunglasses are the hallmark of a rebel look. The trapezoidal frame has been loved by celebrities and the general public since it launched in the ‘50s and carries a universal appeal, being flattering on just about any face type, of any gender. These glasses feature 100% UV protection and the best polarisation on the market making these not only a timeless style, but healthy for your eyes, too. By shopping at Vestiaire you can be sure that your pre-loved shades are the real deal thanks to our specialised team of authenticators.
Cyberpunk shades are the only type of sunglasses on this list that look to the future for inspiration instead of the past. Sunglasses of this genre have enjoyed cinematic momentum that propelled the style to mainstream success. From Neo in The Matrix to Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, these are strong, bold sunglasses that are designed for a very certain mood. This is the mood that Kim Kardashian used as inspiration when designing her own line of sunglasses in 2019, blending mask-like glasses with athleticism. It’s not the first time the world of sports has offered up style cues. Sunglasses giant Oakley began designing glasses for cyclists in the ‘80s but their penchant for innovative design and quality has turned it into a household name. Their Sutro line is highly recommended for cyberpunk fans.
Sunglasses are the perfect item to make into a statement piece. From bright colours and bold frames to nontraditional shapes and bedazzlements, there are so many ways to make your sunglasses the showstopper of the summer. You can even design your entire signature look around a great pair of statement shades. Think about it: Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most iconic names in fashion for decades and his signature look was undeniably defined by his sunglasses.
But what about your signature style? Which sunglasses will be the anchor for that? If you’re anything like us, you’re curious about pre-loved styles you’ve never tried before. Perhaps you want your sunglasses to reflect that mentality with some hyper-modern design like Balenciaga’s sleek Swift Oval sunglasses with their futuristic shape.
Oval sunglasses suit just about every face shape so these are the perfect gender-neutral frames. Kurt Cobain was known for wearing a pair white oval sunglasses that Christian Roth designed for women. But leave it to Kurt Cobain to not bother with arbitrary gender lines and wear whatever he pleased. His sunglasses are now iconic. Also known as clout goggles, these frames are a light-hearted accessory for a streetwear ensemble.
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy is another fashion icon who rocked the oval sunglasses in the 90s. Two very different personalities in the same type of shades proves that oval sunglasses are a versatile and timeless unisex choice. If you want to channel the sartorial leanings of a Kennedy, Acne Studios has given the clout googles a grown-up revamp that you can search for on Vestiaire Collective.
Tinted sunglasses are an easy way to stand out from the crowd and infuse your wardrobe with a pop of fun. Any shape of sunglasses can come with tinted lenses so whether you prefer aviators or cat eyes, a more colourful life can be yours. Having tinted lenses can really uplift your mood, too.
Colours like yellow and orange give a ‘70s retro vibe whereas pink and blue evoke the sweetness of the ‘90s bubble pop era. You can really personalise your look by choosing a shape and tint that gives you the vibe you aspire to. Many top brands like Gucci and Stella McCartney offer tinted glasses in a variety of styles that you can search for pre-loved on Vestiaire Collective. So go wild and don’t be afraid to play with colour.
Vintage sunglasses are a time-honoured way to add an instant style boost to your outfit. While every decade has a signature style of sunglasses, one of our favourites sprang from the supermodel era of the ‘90s. Thanks to Gianni Versace, the idea of supermodels on the catwalk came to life and stars like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell enjoyed a decade in the spotlight. Both of these icons of style were fans of oversized sunglasses so if you want to pay tribute to the glamour of the era head to Vestiaire Collective to buy a pair of vintage ‘90s shades in a sustainable way. Vintage sunglasses are time-tested pieces that will never go out of style so you can enjoy them in your wardrobe for decades.
A pair of sunglasses becomes iconic because it transcends mere form and function. It can reflect a moment in time and truly puts the finishing touch on your look. A great pair of shades is a timeless investment that can evoke nostalgia, playfulness, glamour and more. So much power in such a small package.
At Vestiaire Collective, we are proud to offer a wide selection of sunglasses from the past several decades. From retro to classic styles, a pair of shades can amplify your look and be a fun way of redefining your personal style. Buying a pre-loved pair of sunglasses is the best way to shop for sunglasses in a more environmentally friendly manner. Since amazing sunglasses already exist from all decades, and in so many unique styles, there’s really no reason to consume raw resources to make a new pair.
We encourage Fashion Activists everywhere to consider circularity with every piece in their wardrobe so don’t forget about your accessories. Choosing timeless, pre-loved sunglasses transcends trends so you won’t need to participate in the wasteful loop of shopping seasonally. Instead, you’ll have a pair of shades you adore that will be as iconic years into the future as they were when they were first made. By shopping for pre-loved sunglasses at Vestiaire, you can become an icon of fashion and sustainability and inspire others to make thoughtful consumer choices for the health of our planet.