From the ’70s to today, expert reveals trends in sunglasses and how to find the best styles for YOU

Sunglasses will never go out of style.  

The protective eyewear was invented in the 1200s but didn’t become a seasonless sartorial must-have until the 20th century.

Throughout the decades the accessory has served as so much more than a defense against harmful UV rays. 

Ivana Rosato of international retailer and eyewear destination, Sunglass Hut, reveals top trends throughout the decades and how to get the look today.

Sunglasses will never go out of style. Ivana Rosato, Sunglass Hut’s NA Head of Sun Assortment, reveals trends over the decades. Cool girls Lisa Bonet wore small round frames to  the MTV Video Music Awards in 1987

Sunglasses will never go out of style. Ivana Rosato, Sunglass Hut’s NA Head of Sun Assortment, reveals trends over the decades. Cool girls Lisa Bonet wore small round frames to  the MTV Video Music Awards in 1987

1970s

The 70s were a time of rebellion. 

While Americans were involved in political and cultural movements in the 1960s (civil rights, Kennedy assassination, anti-war protests) in the decade that followed, they focused on personal liberation and rebelling against societal norms. 

As mainstream life was rejected, the “hippie” counter culture movement emerged.  

Bell bottom pants, frayed jeans, peasant blouses, wallpaper prints and tie-dye were en vogue.  

Cher’s eye-catching ensembles were captivating America on her variety show with then husband Sonny Bono and in the later part of the decade, disco became popular.

Want to tap into your inner flower child this summer? 

‘Look for oversized round, oval or square frames to help channel those cool boho 70’s vibes,’ says Ivana Rosato, Sunglass Hut’s NA Head of Sun Assortment.

‘These frames added with a “less is more” make-up approach and pencil straight hair – really embrace the low maintenance aesthetic of the 70’s.’

Cher captivated America with her amazing ensembles. Here in 1973 she accessorized with diamond accented sunnies

Cher captivated America with her amazing ensembles. Here in 1973 she accessorized with diamond accented sunnies

Freddie Mercury was in a style league of his own.  In 1975 he rocked aviator shades

Freddie Mercury was in a style league of his own.  In 1975 he rocked aviator shades

The 1980's were the decade of decadence with hair bands like Bret Michael's Poison

The 1980’s were the decade of decadence with hair bands like Bret Michael’s Poison

Lisa Bonet didn't follow trends, she made them. The Cosby Show actress oozed confidence and cool

Lisa Bonet didn’t follow trends, she made them. The Cosby Show actress oozed confidence and cool 

1980s 

It was the decade of decadence. 

For those that grew up in the 80s, you know how glorious it was.

From teased hair to slap bracelets and Member’s Only jackets, the look was glam-rock. Think Poison, Dynasty, Guns n’ Roses, Boy George and Prince.

To tap into your favorite 80s star, ‘go big or go home,’ says Ivana. 

‘The 80s were all about fun, bold looks from head to toe. 

‘From classic sunglass styles like aviators or wayfarers to oversized colorful frames or lenses – fashionistas in this decade were meant to be seen,’ shared the expert. 

Looking to travel back 40 years? Try one of the below styles on for size and then make a mixed tape! 

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Axl Rose 1988, Right Kurt Cobain 1993

A Different World aired in 1987, it starred Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable, Dawnn Lewis as Jaleesa Vinson Taylor, Marisa Tomei as Maggie Lauten

A Different World aired in 1987, it starred Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable, Dawnn Lewis as Jaleesa Vinson Taylor, Marisa Tomei as Maggie Lauten

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  To tap into your favorite 80s star, ‘go big or go home,’ says Ivana. In 1985,  Boy George was ahead of his time

In 1988, George Michael was rarely seen without sunglasses. The Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go singer favored mirror aviators

In 1988, George Michael was rarely seen without sunglasses. The Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go singer favored mirror aviators

Mary J Blige is a true '90s icon, from music to fashion she was always in a class of her own

Mary J Blige is a true ’90s icon, from music to fashion she was always in a class of her own 

 1990s

While the 80s were all about neon clothes, video games and glam rock, the 90s are often remembered as a decade of peace and prosperity.

The Cold War ended and Pop culture took over (hello Britney, Mariah and Alanis).

Grunge killed hair bands, Google launched, Friends and Living Single debuted and Beanie Babies were hot commodities.  

‘Narrow, sporty and rectangle sunglass shapes were all the rage in the 90’s. 

‘The trick to capture this decade’s aesthetic is to pop on a pair of cool shades, add some platform sneakers, a crop top and you’re good to go,’ said Ivana. 

1992 Bono

1993 Kurt Cobain

U2 frontman Bono always wears sunglasses, seen here in 1992. In 1993 Kurt Cobain became an accidental fashion icon

Mariah Carey (photographed here in 1999) is a self-proclaimed diva who wears sunglasses indoors

Mariah Carey (photographed here in 1999) is a self-proclaimed diva who wears sunglasses indoors

Anna Wintour has said wearing sunglasses is "incredibly useful because you avoid people knowing what you're thinking about"

 Anna Wintour has said wearing sunglasses is “incredibly useful because you avoid people knowing what you’re thinking about”

2000’s & Beyond 

Vogue’s Anna Wintour has said wearing sunglasses is “incredibly useful because you avoid people knowing what you’re thinking about.”

During her 25-year tenure, the editor has rarely been seen without them.

Ever season we’ve turned to her and fashion magazines for guidance on what styles are trending.

But in the last two decades, social media has changed the game in fashion.

There’s been a rise in fast fashion, vintage, designer logos and streetwear, as users become Instagram and TikTok stars inspiring each other.

‘In the 00’s until now, we’ve seen sunglass trends surrounding geometric shapes, cat-eye styles, shields and bold colors,’ shared Sunglass Hut’s Ivana Rosato.   

But the pandemic has cause priorities to change. Acceptance of others and respect for individual differences has contributed to an “anything goes” aesthetic. 

In 2021, it’s about being authentic. ‘Be your true self and wear shades that make you feel good.’

The Olsen twins (pictured in 2015)  have a city chic uniform made up of black clothing and sunglasses

The Olsen twins (pictured in 2015)  have a city chic uniform made up of black clothing and sunglasses

Fearlessly donning masculine and feminine fashions for decades, Lenny Kravitz (photographed here in 2020)is a bonafide trendsetter

Fearlessly donning masculine and feminine fashions for decades, Lenny Kravitz (photographed here in 2020)is a bonafide trendsetter 

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