Saturday, July 26, 2014

Through A Glass Darkly

Ray Ban Classic Aviator
The only sunglasses I like are classic aviators.

Please note: I am not saying you have to wear aviator sunglasses. You can put any foolish contraption you like on your face.

I just don’t understand why you would.

Aviator sunglasses, the first Ray Ban sunglasses, were invented in 1936 for pilots and first became popular among the general public when General MacArthur was photographed wearing them in the ‘40s. The lenses of aviator sunglasses are large and slightly convex to cover as much of the eye as possible, important for pilots – and also for me. I hate when light “leaks” in around smaller sunglasses. They are utilitarian – the metal frame as thin as it can be – and, I happen to think, they look good on pretty much everybody.

I do not understand the appeal of what Wikipedia calls “oversized” or “Jackie O” sunglasses. Wikipedia goes on to point out that Elton John wore such sunglasses in the 1980s. But people still wear them today – and I just don’t get it. Thick plastic frames, sometimes white, with large, ornate curlicues, lettering, even pictures on the sides.

Do you want people to pay attention to your face or to the strange and ugly device you’ve placed upon it?

I remember when I picked out one of my first pair of prescription eyeglasses, at about age 14. I was looking for glasses that would disappear on my face: thin frames, gold-colored because that matched my skin and hair color the closest. The woman at the store, trying to upsell me, brought out thick plastic frames in "trendy" colors, told me she could polish the edge of the lenses to make them shiny and affix cursive letters, my initials perhaps, maybe a little picture of a rose, on the lenses.

Sometimes, less is more.

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