What Sunglasses Were Popular in the 80s?

What Sunglasses Were Popular in the 80s?

The 1980s was a decade renowned for its vibrant fashion trends and bold style statements. From big hair to neon colors, this era witnessed the rise of numerous fashion icons and their signature accessories. Among these accessories, sunglasses played a significant role in completing the fashion ensembles of both men and women. In this article, we delve into what sunglasses were popular in the 80s, highlighting their distinct features, styles, and the celebrities who made them famous.

Aviator Sunglasses: Channeling the Maverick Look

Aviator Sunglasses

One of the most iconic sunglasses styles of the 80s was the aviator. Originally designed for pilots in the 1930s, aviator sunglasses gained immense popularity during the 80s, thanks to their association with the film “Top Gun” released in 1986. The aviator style was characterized by large, teardrop-shaped lenses and a thin metal frame.

They were often seen in classic color combinations such as gold frames with green lenses or silver frames with mirrored lenses. Tom Cruise’s character, Maverick, in “Top Gun” sported these sunglasses, propelling their popularity and making them a must-have accessory for fashion enthusiasts.

Wayfarer Sunglasses: The Quintessential Retro Style

Another iconic sunglasses style that defined the 80s was the Wayfarer. Introduced by Ray-Ban in the 1950s, these sunglasses experienced a resurgence in the 80s and became an integral part of the pop culture fashion scene. Wayfarers featured a bold, thick plastic frame with square or slightly trapezoidal lenses.

They were available in various colors, including black, tortoiseshell, and vibrant hues. The distinct design of Wayfarer sunglasses appealed to both men and women, making them a unisex fashion staple. Celebrities like Madonna and Tom Cruise further popularized the Wayfarer style, solidifying their status as an essential accessory of the 80s.

Oversized Sunglasses: Embracing the Glamorous Exaggeration

The 80s was a decade of extravagance and indulgence, and this sentiment extended to eyewear fashion as well. Oversized sunglasses emerged as a glamorous trend, offering a sense of mystery and allure. These sunglasses featured large frames that covered a significant portion of the wearer’s face, exuding a bold and dramatic aesthetic.

The lenses were often dark and tinted, further adding to the mystique. Celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Princess Diana were frequently seen sporting oversized sunglasses, transforming them into a symbol of high fashion.

Neon Sunglasses: A Flash of Electric Brilliance

The 80s were known for their obsession with neon colors, and sunglasses were no exception. Neon sunglasses became a popular choice for those who wanted to make a bold and vibrant fashion statement. These sunglasses featured brightly colored frames in hues like neon pink, electric blue, and lime green.

The lenses were often mirrored, creating a striking visual effect. Neon sunglasses perfectly complemented the neon clothing and accessories that dominated the 80s fashion scene, adding a splash of vividness to any ensemble.


The sunglasses of the 80s were all about embracing boldness, exaggeration, and individuality. Aviators, Wayfarers, oversized sunglasses, and neon frames were just a few of the iconic styles that graced the faces of fashion-conscious individuals during this era. From the silver screen to the streets, celebrities and fashion icons played a vital role in popularizing these sunglasses, turning them into timeless symbols of the 80s fashion revolution.

As we reminisce about the fashion trends of the 80s, it is clear that the sunglasses of that era continue to inspire and influence modern eyewear designs. Today, we often see a revival of these iconic styles, with updated variations that pay homage to their original glory. Whether you’re seeking a touch of retro flair or simply want to make a bold statement, the sunglasses of the 80s offer a treasure trove of inspiration that transcends time. So, embrace the spirit of the 80s and let your sunglasses be a window to the past while complementing your present-day style.

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Yasir Jamal
By Yasir Jamal

Hey folks, meet Yasir Jamal here. As a blogger for more than six years, my passion has never faded. I love writing in a variety of niches and writing about outdoor gear and helpful guides for your outdoor ventures. This site is mainly focused on sunglasses. I have a keen interest and bringing in the right information and honest reviews in my blog posts. So stay with me and never spend another dime on a worthless product.

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