March 29, 2017

"And gold aviator eyeglasses are one of the sexiest shapes you could possibly wear."

For the annals of sexiest shapes imaginable. Aviator glasses are back in style, we're told in the NYT.

I'm not buying that these glasses are obviously sexy. There's also:
"I think part of the aviator returning is a result of old shows from the 1980s and 1990s that we get to watch on Netflix. It’s fun to look back at ‘Friends’ episodes and ‘Beverly Hills 90210.’ The eyewear of that time is definitely influencing our designers.
There's also:
"One of my style icons is Gloria Steinem, and she’s worn that look forever."
I think it's more like: Once an old style has been abandoned even by old people, it can be reinstalled as new and retro. You put the old style on young models, and it looks cute, the way nerd glasses once did. Then the long process begins: Less stylish people adopt it, even completely out-of-style people are choosing it, and eventually, it will be pushed out by something else seeping slowly into the culture, and it can be picked up again as retro. I think the cycle takes about 50 years.

I don't know why that one quote talks about the 80s and the 90s. Aviator glasses were adopted by stylish people in the 60s. I'll never forget seeing Mort Sahl — the political satirist — on "The Tonight Show" holding up a picture of Gloria Steinem and railing against her, harping specifically on her glasses. As I remember it, he took the position that it was ludicrous to wear aviator glasses unless you were an aviator.

48 comments:

rehajm said...

I think the cycle takes about 50 years

For Ray-Ban Wayfarers the last cycle was shorter- less than 20 years. The one time for me hanging on to old stuff paid off!

Tim said...

I still use the Ray Ban aviators that I bought in 1971.

rehajm said...

It’s fun to look back at ‘Friends’ episodes and ‘Beverly Hills 90210.’ The eyewear of that time is definitely influencing our designers.

I can't remember any character on Friends wearing aviators. Round and oval wire frames, but no aviators.

Robert Cook said...

I always hated aviator glasses.

Jeff Gee said...

Bill Bixby on 'Courtship of Eddie's Father' wore aviators. He seemed pretty much okay to my parents, so when I had my 7th grade eye exam and I needed a new prescription, they okayed the aviator frames. Although they didn't look very Bill Bixby-ish with the big round face and the crew cut.

sinz52 said...

The main reasons why women's fashions constantly change is to make money for clothing designers and clothing retailers.

Rick Turley said...

My strategy is to always wear the same styles and let the fashion trends come back around to me.

Big Mike said...

There's a functional reason why aviators wear aviator glasses. The shape protects your peripheral vision. I have always worn aviator sunglasses when I drive.

As to Mort Sahl and Gloria Steinem, it's important to remember that Sahl was a close friend of Hugh Hefner and was a regular guest at the Playboy Mansion while Steinem got her start writing an expose of what it was like to be a Playboy Bunny.

John said...

Luxoticca at work

John Henry

Bob Boyd said...

This is not news. I first noticed that women were wearing aviators again back in 2009 when Tiger Woods got caught cheating with Rachel Uchitel (I had to look up her name).

In one of the first pictures we all saw of her, she was wearing aviators and they looked good on her. After that I started noticing women wearing them all over the place. I'd have thought the trend would have faded by now. How long does a fashion trend last?
Aviators are classic and will never totally go away.

exiledonmainstreet said...

The same thing is true of names, although it takes longer than 50 years. Over the past 6 months, I've met little kids named Henry, Sophie, Ava, Harriet and Lucy. All of those names were terribly unfashionable old fogy names in the 70's and '80's. Can any Boomer hear the name Lucy without immediately thinking of Ricky Ricardo? Someday, the names Greg, Darlene, Cindy and Mary Jane will be fresh and cool again - after all the Boomers die and the names lose the old fogy stigma.

I don't know that there's any hope for Gladys though.

traditionalguy said...

Howard Hughes wants his 1940s back. But wait until the Technology billionaires build their own Spuce Goose as a Lolita Express for movie actresses.

rhhardin said...

I wore clip-on polarized sungrasses over my regular glasses when I aviated.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I like aviators much more than those little round frameless ones, which always struck me as twee. But then, my opinion was certainly influenced by the fact that little round glasses looked stupid on me and I could pull off larger frames and aviators.

holdfast said...

Re names: For some reason I find it funny that one of the hottest current VS Angels is named "Martha". Nothing against the name, but one tends to think of it as the name of Superman's mom, not a blonde hottie.

Rob said...

I still treasure Mort Sahl's description of local newscasters: a thirty-five dollar hairdo on a fifteen cent head.

Bob Boyd said...

Is using the word "twee" twee?

Asking for a friend.

tcrosse said...

Get the aviators with the mirrored lenses for that Southern Sheriff look.

CJ said...

The cycle takes way less than 50 years! It's called "runway to Hot Topic", meaning how long it takes for a look to make its way from the runway in either the NYC, London, Paris or Milan fashion shows (the big ones), be copycatted by fashionistas in global cities, then by teenager wannabes, then it will be mass-produced in China and sold in Hot Topic, then the teenagers' mothers will start wearing it.

The cycle now takes about 9-12 months and in each layer of the copycatting, some essential "coolness" is lost.

How long did the 90s trend (chokers, neon colors, etc. last? 12 months right?

CJ said...

They're supposedly about to do it to the preppy look which I will not abide, although I don't see how they intend to do it as preppyness is literally based on uniform(ity).

Scott M said...

They are absolutely sexy so long as you feel the need, the need for speed.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Bob Boyd said...
Is using the word "twee" twee?

OK, it is a bit. On the tweeish scale, I give it about 7.5.

madAsHell said...

One of my style icons is Gloria Steinem, and she’s worn that look forever.

Here's the Amazon link to Fossil eyewear for women.

Roger Sweeny said...

The New York Times says I'm back in style. Woo-hoo.

buwaya said...

One day tropical wear with a colonialist tinge will return.
Im looking at you, Banana Republic.
Sellouts.
Anyway, I'm ready for that, with my pith helmet collection.

exiledonmainstreet said...

So - are designers going to recycle every fashion trend from 1965 onward over and over and over again endlessly?

Can't we at least go back to the '20's and '30's for a few trends? Some of that stuff was pretty cute. Well, the parted-in-the-middle slicked down hair for guys was kind of awful, but still preferable to man buns and dreadlocks on white guys.

virgil xenophon said...

tcrosse@9:33

...or that pool lifeguard look.. :)

Bob Boyd said...

"OK, it is a bit. On the tweeish scale, I give it about 7.5."

It's interesting that, on the twee scale, twee itself is only a 7.5.
Some things are twee'er than twee.

tcrosse said...

Will they dare to revive the polyester doubleknit leisure suit, in lime green or powder blue, with white shoes and white belt ? Just the thing for Dress Like Your Dad Day at work.

William said...

I have titanium frames. They were sold to me as the only frames that I would ever need, and that's the way it has worked out. The lenses I buy for them shade according to the light so there's no need for sunglasses......There's a good chance I might be out of style, but I'm so removed from current tends that I don't have a clue. I try to look respectable. I bathe regularly and watch my weight, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go to stay au courant.

virgil xenophon said...

rehamjm@8:53am

Same here. I bought two pair of Ray Bans in college (62-66) a brown/bronze translucent pair and a dark red translucent pair. They cost $26/pair LOL!!! They go for $200 plus per pair today iirc... Still have my aviators too..

Balfegor said...

Re: CJ:

They're supposedly about to do it to the preppy look which I will not abide, although I don't see how they intend to do it as preppyness is literally based on uniform(ity).

I thought the preppy look was based on wearing trousers in odd colours and intentionally hideous plaid jackets.

Gilbert Pinfold said...

Jut look at the Bidens--slow Joe always has them on, as does the surviving son and his sister-in-law that he is now canoodling. I like Ray-Ban aviators, but as long as the Bidens are their leading proponents, it's regular sunglasses for me.

Bob Boyd said...

Aviators go equally well with a Black Bloc beret or a MAGA hat.

Big Mike said...

Can't we at least go back to the '20's and '30's for a few trends?

@exiledonmainstreet, the "in" look for flappers back in the day was to appear flat-chested while guys wore slacks that made the 1970's bell-bottoms appear skin tight. I don't think either of them are coming back, nor ought they to.

Brando said...

I don't find that look attractive--sort of blocks the contours of the face. Smaller glasses work better.

richlb said...

I just prefer sunglasses that hide my eyes completely. For when I'm at the beach. Full of women.

Brando said...

Some trends deserve to come back, some deserve to stay buried, and sometimes when you're living through the trend you can tell which will come back and which won't.

For example, in the '90s it was popular for women to wear blobby, formless jeans that made them look like rappers. Then the low cut, shapely styles saved us (viewers) from that. Likewise, the chunky shoes had us thinking "are your feet gigantic and freakish?" but then they went to the other extreme with stiletto tips.

For guys, it seems right now the shaggy unkempt beard is still going strong among urbanites, but that will soon go the way of the mullet.

holdfast said...

@Brando

The NHL will ensure that the mullet never dies completely!

Brando said...

"The NHL will ensure that the mullet never dies completely!"

That and my maternal side's family reunions!

Jim said...

Reminds me of the retro vs. nowtro discussion in A Mighty Wind.

Ann Althouse said...

"The cycle takes way less than 50 years! It's called "runway to Hot Topic", meaning how long it takes for a look to make its way from the runway in either the NYC, London, Paris or Milan fashion shows (the big ones), be copycatted by fashionistas in global cities, then by teenager wannabes, then it will be mass-produced in China and sold in Hot Topic, then the teenagers' mothers will start wearing it."

That's only the beginning of the cycle.

The cycle is only complete when the most stylish people adopt the style again and it's properly retro. It has to have worked its way out of the system of all the unstylish people who'd adopted it and kept wearing it for years and years. It must be that those people, who don't change quickly, will have decided they can't wear this anymore.

William said...

Are spats gone forever? Did spats serve some useful purpose? I know that those long, ankle length duster coats served as a protective covering for clothes against all the dried horseshit that was in the air.

Fred Drinkwater said...

There's a couple pairs of aviators in my dresser that have been beyond Mach 2. I wear them to sail, i.e. at speeds easily exceeding 10 mph. They're really very utilitarian.

Freeman Hunt said...

I did an image search of aviator eyeglasses (not sunglasses) on women. "Sexiest" was not the word that came to mind to describe these glasses.

Balfegor said...

RE: Wm:

Are spats gone forever? Did spats serve some useful purpose? I know that those long, ankle length duster coats served as a protective covering for clothes against all the dried horseshit that was in the air.

I think spats kept dust/mud from getting up over the upper rim of the shoe and down inside. And they look very smart, you know. Very smart.

William said...

Thanks for an informative answer. I have never known anyone who wore spats. I think someone must have a living memory of a style for it to come back as retro. Spats. Prince nez glasses. Dueling scars. Gone forever.

ceowens said...

I, in fact, did wear spats as part of the uniform for a member of an ROTC precision rifle drill team in 1965. I also have a pair of Ray Bans, tinted yellow, glass, with a 50-year-old prescription.