The Wayfarer Edge You’ll Want

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The Wayfarer Edge You’ll Want

The year 1956 was a rich one for pop culture and sports. I Love Lucy and Alfred Hitchcock Presents were favorites TV shows, Elvis Presley and Dean Martin had songs rated number one on Billboard, and Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren set fashion trends. The New York Yankees won the World Series and a horse named Needles won the Kentucky Derby.

This was also the year that a new trend in eyewear developed: the Wayfarer, by Ray Ban. The Wayfarer design proved that eyeglasses frames no longer had to be made just from metal, nor did they need to be a traditional shape. Wayfarers utilized a trapezoidal frame balanced by wide, masculine temporal arms, and they were made of plastic.

Wayfarers became every bit as popular of a design as the Aviator style of sunglasses also created by Bausch & Lomb for Ray Ban. The unique frames of the Wayfarer provide the right accent for most faces because the trendy shape is flattering, the brow line is definitive and the look gives off an edge that says ultra-hip.

The word wayfarer comes from Middle English weyfarere, which is traveler, and as the Wayfarers have traveled through pop culture popularity in the last sixty years, they have evolved in appearance.

Over time, fashion designers adopted and adapted the frame, offering stylized versions that include narrower temporal arms or adornments, oversized frames for additional drama, temporal corners studded with crystals, and a variety of alternative materials for the frames and arms including leather.

Other designers who offer wayfarer style frames include Timberland, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Coach and Emporio Armani. You might not always see the name Wayfarer in these brands; instead look for the sunglasses and prescription eyewear by frame shape.

Ray Ban, too, has updated their Wayfarer look with new styles such as the New Wayfarer and folding Wayfarer frames.

So who has been seen wearing wayfarer style frames? Wayfarers have been hugely popular with actors, artists and musicians, including Corey Feldman, Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Mary-Kate Olsen and Elvis Costello. The sunglasses are the eyewear of choice for those who don’t follow trends; these ultra-cool people set trends that others follow.

Although their popularity has ebbed and flowed from decade to decade, wayfarer style frames have remained a constant in eyewear fashion.

Will the wayfarer style ever go away? As John Wayne said in the popular 1956 movie The Searchers, “That’ll be the day.”

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