What Does Aviator Mean?The name “Aviator” is perhaps as well known (and instantly iconic) as the style itself, and hints at wartime origins. Bausch and Lomb invented these particular sunglasses in 1932. Aviators were also called “pilot glasses”, and were primarily designed for pilots to wear to keep the sun from their eyes while flying. These sunglasses were an improvement over the traditional wraparound goggles with thinner frames; they were lighter to wear for extended periods of time, but also more elegantly designed. The thin metal frame design was patented as “Ray-Ban Aviators” and the name stuck.
Aviator SunglassesAlthough initially only a military item of clothing, aviators became entrenched in popular culture after American General Douglas MacArthur was photographed wearing these sunglasses during World War Two. He became so associated with the glasses that Bausch and Lomb dedicated a line to MacArthur in the late 1980’s. Like lots of military inspired clothing from the post-war era, big and small Aviators quickly became part of mainstream fashion. They consisted of dark, often reflective lenses, which provided wide cover for the eyes to prevent light coming in from any angle. Aviators gradually blended into civilian fashion and by the 1970’s, Aviator sunglasses had captured the attention of the masses. Elvis Presley famously wore Aviators, rimmed with gold and a selection of pink and red lenses. Dipping in popularity during the 1980s, they were saved from the scrapheap by Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun”.
How to Wear Aviators?To make sure you get mileage out of your pair of Aviators, invest in a high-quality brand. The price might be a little higher, but it’ll ensure that they last a long time, and don’t get bent out of shape when you inevitably sit on them on the train.
Aviator Lens ColourAviators come in loads of different tinted lenses, so it’s important to study the merits of each colour to suit your character and outfit, but don't forget they must still be practical. It’s good to remember that how the lens is tinted will change the way you see the world.
Black Aviator SunglassesBlack is the most common shade, and it's good for general purpose sunglasses. It reduces light and glare to keep you from squinting and also has the bonus effect of helping you perceive all colours correctly. While this is always handy on those sunny summer afternoons, remember that dark lenses provide the darkest tint with the largest visible light reduction.
Blue Aviator SunglassesIf you want to try something a little different, how about heading for some cool blue lenses? Blue aviators (or any colour in actual fact) will set you apart from the crowd, and will compliment a more casual outfit well. Perhaps try pairing them with bright coloured contrasting clothes. But remember, a clean white shirt and jeans will go with your blue Aviators to create a slick, crisp, casual look. Perhaps you’re spending your sunny day at the office? If so, inject some style into your work wear by selecting a pair of blue aviators to go with your smart suit. Light or dark blue suits work well with blue lenses. They’ll also go nicely alongside a grey suit to create a bit of contrast. As well as being very stylish, a blue tinted lens will help reduce glare and make the contours of objects more defined, making them a perfect colour to wear when driving.
Gold Aviator SunglassesIf you fancy going all the way, how about pushing the boat out with a pair of gold or yellow tinted Aviators? Although it may seem a little “out there”, if paired with the right outfit, they’ll look great. As well as looking cool, these colours also have a more practical side. Yellow is an extremely useful tint especially as it increases visibility on an overcast day. If you spend your time glued to your phone, a yellow tint will help filter out the blue light and could prevent you from suffering from eye strain. Gold lenses are quite eye-catching, therefore, pair them with a simple outfit and avoid lots of patterns or prints. If you're wearing other accessories, such as a watch, be sure to pick gold rather than silver to tie in with the rest of your outfit. If lenses like that just don’t gel with your personal style, how about trying an ordinary black tinted pair with gold frames and arms.
To add an edge of mystique to your summer outfit, try wearing a pair of mirrored aviators. The fully reflective silver lenses will keep all the errant sun out of your eyes, providing full protection from the light. Mirrored lenses are also a very classic accessory, often sported by old movie stars like Robert Redford, so try pairing them with striking and timeless clothes, like a black leather jacket and jeans. They are also smart and classy, and would be a great accompaniment to a dark grey suit, especially if you’re heading for a high-powered business meeting.