Here’s Why Ray-Bans Are a Rock & Roll Staple (Plus: Where to Find Them Online)

Oscar Hartzog
·5 min read

Few brands can compete with the enduring style of Ray-Bans. The glasses have been a fashion icon since the Fifties, shading the eyes of pop culture juggernauts from James Dean to John F. Kennedy to Michael Jackson. Now, more than 80 years after their debut, the glasses are still as cool as ever.

Ray-Ban glasses – like so many classic staples – were originally made for the military. In 1937, eyewear brand Bausch & Lomb designed the first Ray-Ban aviator with the help of US Army Air Corps Colonel John A. Macready. The aviators were meant to shield pilots’ eyes from glare, but once style pioneers spotted them back home, the glasses began their second life in fashion.

Bausch & Lomb solidified Ray-Ban’s place fashion in 1952 by releasing the hard plastic frame Wayfarer – one of the first non-metal sunglasses ever. Soon after, Ray-Bans were spotted on James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause and Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany’s, cementing the Wayfarer in cinematic and sartorial history.

Ray-Ban’s contribution to cinema is well-known, but the glasses also have a deep history in rock and roll. Lou Reed, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly are just a few of the many artists who’ve sported a pair of the famous frames, and it’s easy to understand the connection between Ray-Ban and rock and roll. Speaking about the Wayfarer, design critic Stephen Bayley once said that the “distinctive trapezoidal frame spoke a nonverbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness.” This rebellious, adventurous spirit is present in nearly all of Ray-Ban’s frames, making them a clear choice for boundary-breaking musicians.

Today, Ray-Ban’s history makes them more stylish than ever, and they’re continuing to pioneer new collaborations with unexpected musical artists. So whether you’re looking to build your Ray-Ban collection – or shopping for your first pair – read on for the best Ray-Bans to buy right now.

Where to Buy Ray-Bans Online

Ray-Ban now has a wide selection of glasses with something for every personal taste, prescription need and face shape. But, although plenty of stores carry Ray-Bans, many have limited options.

If you’re looking to browse as many Ray-Bans as possible, we recommend GlassesUSA.com. The eyewear retailer has a massive selection of Ray-Bans including prescription glasses and sunglasses. Almost all of Ray-Ban sunglasses can be fitted with prescription lenses, and their prices are some of the cheapest we’ve seen online.

Although Ray-Bans are famous for their versatility, some look best with certain face shapes. Face shape can be broken up into four categories: square, oval, triangular and round. For square-shaped faces (strong jaw and forehead) larger round or rectangular frames are best. For oval faces, we suggest square or rectangular glasses. Triangular faces often look best with round or square glasses. For round faces, go with rectangular or round glasses. Of course, these are loose guidelines, so don’t let them get in the way too much.

The Best Ray-Ban Sunglasses

To help narrow down your search, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favorite Ray-Ban styles below. All are shoppable right now on GlassesUSA.com, and all can be customized with prescription lenses. Look for the latest promo codes on GlassesUSA to make your deal even sweeter.

1. Ray-Ban Wayfarer

It wasn’t the original (that’d be the aviator), but the Wayfarer is the classic Ray-Ban. 72 years after its release, the glasses look just as good (if not better) than they did back in the day, whether you choose to rock them with shorts and a tee or a full suit. They’re made of a durable plastic that can get thrown around, making them great for everyday use or traveling. The slanting, rectangular frame is flattering on almost any face, although they may be a bit harsh on triangular face types.

ray ban sunglasses wayfarer
ray ban sunglasses wayfarer

2. Ray-Ban New Wayfarer

This New Wayfarer alters the original design for a slightly less statement-making look. These small tweaks include a more rounded frame and a less dramatic slant toward the cheeks. The result is a ridiculously versatile pair of glasses that maintains the effortless cool but works with just about every face type and personal style. They also come in a whopping 45 color combinations, so, even though you’re bound to see these around town, you can still choose something unique.

3. Ray-Ban Aviator

Because the aviator has been around so long, it’s graduated from the classification of “military-style.” Now, it’s just plain stylish, going with any outfit from super casual to dressy. The metal frame is thin (to fit behind a pilot’s earmuffs) but solid enough to withstand inevitable drops. At GlassesUSA you can choose from 49 color options, although the gold colorway below is the true classic.

4. Ray-Ban 4371

Frames like these Sixties-inspired 4371s show that Ray-Ban can still produce a stylish new design. The glasses are a nice blend of old and new-school with a laidback round design a keyhole bridge and slim arms. They look best with round or triangular face types and are especially flattering on smaller faces. Although they’ll work with most personal styles, we think they’re ideal as the cherry on top of a casual summer outfit.

round sunglasses ray ban
round sunglasses ray ban

5. Ray-Ban Clubmaster

Clubmaster sunglasses were a mid-century staple of men’s style, and thanks to the resurgence of all things mid-century, the frames are back in a big way. And it’s easy to see why. The semi-rimless, browline frame is flattering on almost any face (although best if you have softer features) and looks great with a huge variety of outfits.

6. Ray-Ban Round Metal

Round glasses such as these gained a reputation with the hippie counterculture movement in the Sixties and Seventies. And as with so many pieces from hippie, bohemian style, the glasses have made a big comeback in the 21st century. They come in a variety of colors, so you can go classic with gold metal and green lenses or more modern with something like gunmetal and blue.

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