Why Are Aviator Sunglasses So Cool?
Why Are Aviator Sunglasses So Cool?
When it comes to sunglasses, there seems to be a universal rule. If you want to look cool instantly, wear aviators. Movie stars, rock stars, high-ranking military men, and basically anyone who was ever cooler than you and me, wore them.
It seems like aviator sunglasses have a certain classic allure. But where does this enduring appeal come from?
The history of aviators is all in the name: they were specifically made for pilots. Air combat is among the most important aspects of victory back in WW2. Planes are central to both attack and reconnaissance missions, and fulfilling these missions require a pilot to fly high and fast, out of reach of the enemy.
High altitudes mean the pilots constantly expose themselves to intense light, mostly sunlight. Looking for an alternative, Army Air Corp tapped Bausch and Lomb to design the earliest aviator sunglasses. Before these, pilots didn’t have anything other than simple fur-lined goggles for protection. Their eyes hurt after every mission because of this.
John Macready, an American gymnast and former USAF fighter pilot, approached Bausch and Lomb to help design the shape. The classic teardrop-like shape is meant to be shaped like the eye sockets, thereby fully covering the immediate area around the eyes. The sunglasses perfectly served their purpose and thus “earned” the name, “aviators.”
From Function to Fashion
Militaristic motifs slowly made their way into fashion after the introduction of aviators. Over time, more variations came out like the squared version of Taxi Driver fame (starring Robert DeNiro):
Eventually, aviators will make their way into mainstream consumption. From protecting the eyes of the toughest airmen to gracing the red carpet and ordinary people’s fashion palettes, these sunglasses have come a long way. But what is it exactly that makes them so cool, aside from being popular among A-list personalities?
In fact, there is no actual “science” that explains this. Aviators look cool because some of the coolest people in the world wore them first. Fighter pilots flying their planes at ridiculous speeds, doing spy and combat missions in the air—these guys are among the toughest soldiers in modern military history. They have to be able to see everything while airborne, and the sun’s glare is actually their biggest enemy. And for a group of uncompromising aerial warriors, they need every bit of advantage they can get. It also doesn’t help to look damn good while they’re at it.
A Global Trend
Companies that made aviators in the post-war era made good use of the militaristic, tough-as-nails image of the sunglasses. Paying to place their products in media such as movies is a normal occurrence. And true to its origins, aviators were a common occurrence in the likes of cop shows and war flicks.
However, there is one weird but sensible contradiction as to why aviators became popular. Despite its origins in the strict, order-focused military, it also appealed to people for portraying a rebellious nature that goes against societal norms. One can argue that Marlon Brando was among the first to “iconize” the aviators as a Hollywood fashion statement when he wore it in his 1953 film The Wild One.
Since then, the rest, they say, is history.
Aviators = cool. That’s pretty much what they equate to now. And what’s even better is that because they look cool, wearing them can make you feel cool. It’s like the sunglasses help you ooze a sense of confidence and power. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it: made for some of the world’s toughest warriors, and featured on several of history’s most iconic characters, aviators can make anyone look and feel powerful.
And in today’s modern OOTDs, it’s all about confidence.
Speaking of confidence, the classic aviator silhouette returns in Sorrento’s Airforce 3.0 lineup. One of our most popular models, the Airforce 3.0 is a modern take on a timeless design. Get your own pair and be a more confident version of yourself.