Aviator sunglasses, which are also referred to as pilot shades, were first invented for military pilots to shield their eyes from the harsh glare of the sun while they conducted daytime flying missions. They were invented in the mid-1930’s by Ray-Ban. He modeled the aviator sunglasses after the goggles that the military worn, and then he sold them to the Navy and Army.
The distinguishing characteristics of the aviator shades are their oblique teardrop shape, metal frames with wire temples, and dark, reflective lenses that are two to three times the size of the human eye. The lenses bulges slightly as opposed to being a straight lens, and they are made of actual glass.
Undoubtably, the movie Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, is the image that comes to mind when you hear the term aviator sunglasses. He sported a slick, mirrored version that could soon be seen on both men and women alike. They have come and gone in popularity over the years, as does all fashion, but they seem to remain a favorite with law enforcement officials. This is due to the fact that the eye is completely concealed so you can’t see exactly where they are looking.
Many different companies make their own version of the aviator sunglasses by tweaking them slightly with different rim colors, and varying tint shades. Modern technological advances, such as polarization, are often incorporated, and you can find the lenses in finishes like plastic and other materials.
Aviator sunglasses are a classic because they have been around for over seventy years and are still a popular choice for the modern consumer, in particular with the Mod music scene and alternative indie fashions. The style is a popular part of American fashion with many high profile fashion houses offering their own version of this iconic style.