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In the 1980s, men’s fashion was all about experimentation with different accessories and styles. It was in this decade that sunglasses evolved from a practical tool to shield the face from sunlight, to an everyday essential to highlight any outfit.
Since there were different styles in the 1980s, you can immediately turn any of your favourite sunglasses into a cool vintage accessory. All you need is a proper, matching outfit, additional accessories, and the right attitude. From iconic rock stars to elegant preppy models, sunglasses have shaped a whole decade of men’s fashion, and it is now your turn to find your own style and rock this accessory to make your statement look.
Whether you are looking for an overall look inspired by men’s fashion in the 1980s, or you are seeking some inspiration for your next outfit, here you will find the best sunglasses, which have now become an iconic piece.
The Origins of Sunglasses
We all love sunglasses, but do you really know how and when they were invented? Understanding their story and their initial purpose could be another good way to investigate all the secrets and potential of your sunglasses!
Allegedly, the idea for dark lenses which could protect our eyes from sunlight dates back to Ancient Rome. Emperor Nero would enjoy taking part in outdoor events, especially to watch gladiators fighting in the arena. However, he didn’t like the sunlight to block his view, and consequently he asked all his best experts to find a solution.
He soon started using an emerald to protect his eyes. Of course, this tool wasn’t shaped in what we know today as sunglasses. This accessory was only invented in the 20th, with the rise of the film industry. Actors needed a way to protect their eyes against the sun when filming outside the studios.
Types of Sunglasses
The first step to choose the perfect sunglasses for you, is to take into consideration your face shape.
- Round Sunglasses. Round sunglasses only rose in popularity in the 1990s because of their minimalist design. They are usually perfect for those with sharp jawlines.
- Square Sunglasses. Sharper frames are perfect to give definition to those with subtle cheekbones.
- Aviator Sunglasses. These were a must, back in 1980. Their long shape and thin metal frames can help balance your face’s features.
- D-Frame Sunglasses. These sunglasses are the perfect balance between a retro style and more modern features. Whether your face shape, this accessory is perfect to amplify your look and highlight your personality.
1980s Men’s Sunglasses Lookbook
Embrace the Michael Jackson’s Vibe
Michael Jackson was maybe one of the first fashion influencers among teenagers in 1980. You can revive his vibe by copying his look with black, oversized sunglasses, leather pants and jacket, and the right attitude.
Photo by Mister Spex (Ray-Ban RB 3597 002/11)
Be Under the Spotlight
Reflective sunglasses were one of the biggest trends, back in the 1980s. They are still very popular and are usually perfect with any outfit, provided that you wear them with some gold chains or big ring to make sure that all the attention is focused on you.
Photo by Trendhim (Paul Riley Aviator Silver-Tone Mirrored Polarised Sunglasses)
Live the Magnum P.I. Lifestyle
Detective Magnum enjoyed his life in Hawaii, and always rocked the best pair of Vuarnet Skilynx Aciers. Although these are now very expensive sunglasses, you can still replicate his look with any type of aviator sunglasses. Don’t forget your Hawaiian shirt!
Photo by Eyeshop (Vuarnet Edge 1613 Black/Skilynx)
Heavy metal and punk rocker stars, who inspired the metal men’s fashion, usually wore big and eccentric sunglasses, which covered half of their face. Today, this style is known as cyber punk-inspired, and it is very popular. However, if you have a small or round face, this may not be your cup of tea.
Photo by Oakley (Sutro Prizm Road)
Get the Ray-Ban Wayfarers Look
Ray-ban Wayfarers were very popular first in the 1950s and then again in 1980, after they appeared in several movies and TV shows. They were worn by pop stars, stylish men and women who made this accessory a timeless legend.
Photo by The Optic Shop (Ray-Ban Sunglasses Wayfarer Black)
Style Isn’t A Mission Impossible
Tom Cruise has always been one of the best dressed actors since 1980. To replicate his iconic look, you only need a leather jacket, some straight-cut jeans, and your favourite aviator sunglasses. Are you ready to save the day like a true hero?
Photo by Sunglass Hut (Tom Ford FT0665)
Although they only became very popular in the 1990s, oval glasses were first introduced as cool accessories in the 1980s by extravagant pop and rock stars. They usually suit small faces better, so you may want to try different models before you find your new treasure.
Photo by Trendhim (Waikins Ambit Black Oval Sunglasses)
Live the Hip Hop Life
One of the pillars of the hip hop subcultures was to show one’s status symbol by wearing eccentric accessories, such as golden chains and oversized, reflective sunglasses. If you are looking for the best statement look, this is definitely the best choice!
Photo by Fashion Eyewear (Versace VE4369)
Get Ready for The Future
In the 1980s, young people were looking forward to the future to see the evolution of fashion. Today, you can revive that vibe with the coolest disco space sunglasses. To make a statement, these glasses must be worn at night time, with fluorescent clothes, to get all the attention you deserve.
Photo by Shadestation (Balenciaga BB0041S Sunglasses)
Gold Framed Sunglasses
A touch of gold can immediately highlight any look. If you are wearing a minimalist outfit, a pair of gold framed sunglasses is the best way to make your look bolder and gather all the attention to your fierce eyes. Of course, it doesn’t need to be real gold (unless you want to splurge).
Photo by 1st Dibs (Vintage Renauld Round Gold Frame Brown Lens 1980)