80s sunglasses

8 Iconic 80s Sunglasses

The 80's Blog Aug 02, 2022

A good pair of 80s sunglasses we feel is always a good fashion choice. Okay, so it’s not a secret that everyone loves a good pair of sunglasses. But what are the most popular sunglasses brands and models of the 1980s? And why were they so popular?

Timbuk 3 once said “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”, so why not pick a great pair of 80s sunglasses for your next day out?

If you want to learn more about the legendary shades of the 1980s, read on as we explore some of the most iconic styles of the decade!

80s Sunglasses

When it come to legendary sunglasses, the 1980s are second to none. Some of these sunglasses are still very sought after today, and their popularity can be traced back to the 80s icons that wore them.

So what were the most popular 80s sunglasses?

1. Ray-Ban Aviators

Ray-Ban Aviators 80s
Tom Cruise Infamously Wore Ray-Ban Aviators In “Top Gun” (1986)

While many of the models were not immediately recognizable, 80s Ray-Ban sunglasses became one of the most popular brands of the 1980s. With a legendary lineup and iconic designs, these sunglasses became one of the most popular choices for young men and women.

Though Ray-Ban Aviators had been around for years, it wasn’t until Tom Cruise wore them in the 1983 blockbuster film “Top Gun” did they really start to fly off the shelves. In fact you could probably make a strong case that Tom Cruise made Ray-Ban into the sunglass giant that it is today by wearing their shades in his legendary movies!

2. Carrera Linda Farrow 6031

Carrera Linda Farrow 6031
Al Pacino Wore A Pair Of Carrera Shades In “Scarface” (1983)

The iconic Carrera brand first emerged in the 1950s, and in the 80s it was their sunglasses that made Tony Montana an instant legend. The “Carrera Linda Farrow 6031″ that Al Pacino wore in ‘Scarface” is one of the most iconic sunglasses ever to grace the silver screen.

Though these iconic shades are no longer available, Carrera does sell similar designs to the ones Tony Montana wore. So if you’re looking for a great pair of sunglasses for your next trip to Miami, you may want to consider a pair of Carreras as a throwback homage to the 80s drug kingpin!

3. Oakley Frogskin

Oakley Frogskin 80s
Oakley’s “Frogskin” Shades Rivaled Ray-Ban’s Wayfarers In The 80s

From their beginning in sports gear, to their emergence as a designer brand, Oakley’s streamlined frames and distinctive optical quality were a defining feature of their early products. Their iconic Frogskin frame was the first non-sporting and recreational frame, incorporating square nylon material frames with a variety of bright colors.

The Frogskin was a direct rival to the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, which quickly became one of the most iconic sunglasses brands of the 1980s. Today, the frogskin remains popular with its mirrored lenses and wide range of colors.

The 1980s saw a renaissance in sports gear, and Oakley took advantage of the growing awareness of health and fitness among consumers. The 1980s brought the importance of good eye health to the forefront of consumer life, and Oakley was one of the brands that capitalized off of this.

Oakley introduced patented lenses that exceeded government standards and delivered superior visual clarity throughout the lens curve, and they continued to innovate by developing new products like the Prizm lens, which changed sports optics forever.

4. Ray-Ban Wayfarer

Tom Cruise Ray-Ban Wayfarer Risky Business
Tom Cruise Helped Popularize Ray-Ban Wayfarers In “Risky Business” (1983)

The classic Wayfarer sunglasses have been reborn as one of the most popular brands of sunglasses ever. The classic Wayfarer features a trapezoidal shape, with chunky arms, and a wide top. They were popular with celebrities of the 1980s, including Madonna and Tom Cruise. Even though they are a classic, these sunglasses doesn’t fit all faces. They look best on round, oval and oblong faces, so definitely try them on to see if they fit yours before buying!

Wayfarers are a timeless style for men. The cat-like silhouette is reminiscent of the style of Bob Dylan. They were also very popular with celebrities like Elvis Costello and Madonna. These 80s shades are legendary, and you can’t really go wrong with having a pair in your wardrobe.

5. Cat Eye Sunglasses

Princess Diana Cat Eye Sunglasses
Princess Diana Wearing “Cat Eye Sunglasses” In The 80s

While cat-eye glasses and sunglasses have gone out of style, the silhouette they created is still incredibly flattering and very popular.

The popularity of cat-eye sunglasses is due in part to the era’s fashion influencers. Supermodels were wearing aviator-style sunglasses in the 1980s, and a new breed of frames emerged a decade later in the form of “bug-like” glasses.

For decades, eyewear fashion was a man’s world. In the 1980s, at least one woman took the initiative to change this, and cat-eye sunglasses were among the most popular brands and models of the decade. Altina Schinasi, a window dresser on Fifth Avenue, collaborated with the visionary artist Salvador Dali and registered a patent on the harlequin-inspired frame in her late 20s.

This visionary artist had been inspired by the lack of attractive frames for women at New York’s optical stores. While male opticians turned down her designs, she eventually found one boutique to take her line and a larger audience.

Browse 80s Sunglasses On Amazon Here

6. Cazals

Spike Lee Cazal Sunglasses
Spike Lee Was One Of The Many Black Icons Who Wore “Cazals” In The 1980s

During the 1980s hip hop was emerging as a popular music genre, and when it came to sunglasses, a pair of “Cazals” were what you wanted.

These designer oversized frames were popular among larger than life black icons like Run DMC and Spike Lee. These shades were also fairly pricey, costing several hundred dollars in the 80s, so if you had a pair people knew you were successful. In fact Cazals became such a prized piece of fashion, you literally had to worry about people snatching them right off your face!

7. Shutter Shades

80s Shutter Shades
Shutter Shades Were Popular But Provided Little Protection For Your Eyes In The 80s

A popular trend during the 1980s were “shutter shades”. These were basically sunglasses that looked like venetian blinds on your face. They didn’t protect your eyes from the sun, but they did make you look cool. They also came in a wide variety of neon colors which made them popular during the 80s.

One of the most notable wearers of shutter shades was wrestling legend “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He would often wear shutter shades to the ring which helped further popularize them during the 1980s.

8. Futuristic Sunglasses

80s Cyclops Futuristic Sunglasses
Futuristic Sunglasses Like This “Cyclops” Mirrored Style Were Popular In The 80s

Finally if you wanted to get real crazy there was a whole genre of sunglasses in the 80s known as Futuristic Sunglasses. These exactly looked like they sounded, they were out of this world!

Designs included everything from funky frame styles, cyclops frames, and even mirrored lenses. Movies in the 80s like “Back To The Future” (1985) had people really fascinated with the future, and from these movies came a genre of crazy sunglasses that were distinctly 1980s.

Should You Get A Pair Of 80s Sunglasses?

With so many iconic sunglasses brands and models that came out of the 1980s, it’s hard to narrow down which ones are the most popular, but we definitely recommend any of the above if you want to add a little bit of 80s flare to your wardrobe.

We think the Oakley Frogskin would be a great choice for someone looking to buy their first pair of vintage sunglasses. They’re super affordable on eBay and Instagram (and everywhere else!) but still retain their vintage charm.

If you want something a little more modern though then maybe consider Carrera because they still have an old-school look but are also more lightweight than many other styles. And of course you can’t really go wrong with any Ray-Ban model of sunglasses.

So those are our picks for the most iconic 80s sunglasses models. Did your favorite make the list?

Browse 80s Sunglasses On Amazon Here