Everything Old is New Again – Ray Bans


They are everywhere today: Ray Ban Wayfarers and Aviators.  All the hip, young things are wearing them, and owning the look like they invented it.  We know better.  Wayfarers have been around since 1952.  They saw a resurgence in the 1980s, when they appeared in countless uber-cool, decade-defining movies: 

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in The Blue Brothers


Tom Cruise in Risky Business

Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club

Ray Ban Aviators were developed in 1936 for pilots to protect their eyes while flying, hence the name. 

A serious pair of sunglasses, they were adopted by the U.S. Army and famously worn by General Douglas Mac Arthur during World War II. 

Tom Cruise brought Hollywood glamour to the shades when he wore them in Top Gun.

My love affair with Ray Ban began in high school.   I was strictly a Wayfarer girl.  I walked out of my high school graduation wearing them (which was a very Risky Business/Joel Goodsen stunt to pull at St. Teresa’s Academy).


Those glasses were with me all throughout college.  At the Head of the Charles, sophomore year:

In the South of France, when I studied at the University of Nice during my junior year:

Right through to my college graduation, in 1988:

They were with me when I met my husband…

…and stayed around for a few more years after that, but then disappeared.  When I saw their resurgence with the college crowd a few years ago, they looked strangely dated to me.  Now, they’ve grown on me (again!). 

The new version has a slightly thinner frame all the way around, making them look less heavy on the face.

Ray Ban Wayfarer

I think it might be time for another pair.




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7 responses to “Everything Old is New Again – Ray Bans

  1. Laura

    I bought Kate a pair of the new wayfarers for Christmas, since I was unwilling to give up my classics from college.

    • Ann

      I bet if you both had them on, I wouldn’t be able to tell you apart! Good for you, holding on to the original pair all these years.

  2. Amy

    Ann, how can I not comment about the other “everything old is new again” look you’re sporting in those pics? You look quite fetching in those black leggings and chunky sweater (Gorsuch)?. And how the Ray Bans pull it all together!

    • Ann

      Amy, I almost pointed out the sweater and black leggings (since they are back in now too). The sweater was from Benneton, and, oh, how I loved it! Did you wear sunglasses at STA graduation too? Do you Heidi walking next to me in the photo?

  3. Caroline

    I still have my original pair of tortise shell, the aviators were not as sturdy!

  4. Cati

    Ann- So impressed with your pictorial history! You have inspired me to go find some new fun sunglasses. Can’t do the Ray Bans with my super round face, but will find something for Champs I hope!! Another great post!

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