For a more comprehensive guide, check out our written guide: http://gentl.mn/wayfarer-guide
Today, wayfarers are one of the most sold and most popular sunglasses on the planet. People like JFK, Bob Dylan, have worn them even Andy Warhol loved them, however, it wasn't always like that.
In the 70's, the wayfarers almost disappeared completely from the market space and they were originally designed in 1952 and launched in the market in 1956. The company behind the wayfarers was Bausch and Lomb which was the parent company to RayBan.
They were also one of the first sunglasses to be injection molded which was a new process but today, that's the standard.
Surprisingly, the shape of wayfarers has changed a lot over time. Originally, it were much more cat eye-like but slowly and surely evolved in angle and the look I'm wearing here right now, which is around the 1980's.
This tilt is also known as the panascopic tilt. The problem with these sunglasses was that you couldn't really wear them on your head without them falling down and so RayBan decided to create a new design that would mitigate that issue.
They introduced the design RB2132 which you can see right now and not only did it get much smaller, it also lacked the distinctive cat eye look and from the side, you can see the angle was different too.
After declining sales in the 70's, the real breakthrough came in 1981 and the actors in Blues Brothers wore them. The sales in '81 were about 18,000 pairs of wayfarers per year and RayBan realized they had to invest some money to do some product placement and it paid off big time.
So other famous movies with wayfarers include, risky business and a few years later they already had 350,000 pairs a year, went all the way up to 1.8 million pairs of wayfarers a year.
Over time, wayfarers would appear in more than 60 movies and Hollywood shows and was a great example of product placement can really help to revive an almost dead product. In 1999, Bausch and Lomb sold the RayBan sunglass brand to Luxottica which is an Italian brand and the largest sunglass conglomerate in the world today.
So, who can wear wayfarers? Well, the modern ones can be worn by oval, round, and oblong face shapes.
If you want an older pair of wayfarers such as these wayfarer 2 from the 1980's, your best bet is to go to vintage stores and eBay.
In general, wayfarers are fantastic, casual sunglasses. You can even wear them with a suit, they're not too flashy.
Personally, I suggest you avoid white or really bold colors because they don't work with most people's skin tones and just look bad.
Today, you can find 3 new pairs of wayfarers. One style is the so-called New Wayfarer, which you can see me wearing here. Does not have much to do with the original shape but that's what it's called today.
A more angled version like in the 1980's called the original wayfarer. Ironically, it doesn't have the original shape at all but it's much more like the style I know from the 1981 Blues Brothers movie.
If you travel a lot, you want to pack your sunglasses into a very small space, you can get the foldable wayfarers which can be folded at the temple and in the middle.
While modern wayfarers are made from injection molded plastic, you can find vintage ones which were made with acetate. Due to its popularity, wayfarers are also one of the most faked pairs of sunglasses so when you buy one, make sure you get them from a trusted source or check for little hallmarks.
Original Rayban Wayfarers will always have a metal joint and they have BL engraved onto their lenses. The workmanship is always very neat, the RayBan stands out, the stickers are shiny, they're not just glued but they have something static on them so pay attention to that.
Like always in life, if the deal seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Original, authentic wayfarers cannot be had for ten bucks. If you don't want to spend a hundred and fifty dollars on wayfarers, you can look at other brands because basically, every other brand today makes their interpretation of wayfarers with a slightly adjusted style, sometimes you can find them in wood, or horn, or other interesting materials.
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