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Few brands can compete with the enduring style of Ray-Ban. Eyewear has been a fashion icon since the 1950s, shading the eyes of pop culture behemoths from James Dean to John F. Kennedy to Michael Jackson. Today, more than 80 years after their debut, glasses are still so cool.
Ray-Ban glasses, like so many classic staples, were originally designed for the military. In 1937, eyewear brand Bausch & Lomb designed the first Ray-Ban aviator with the help of Colonel John A. Macready of the US Army Air Corps. Aviators were meant to protect pilots’ eyes from glare, but once the style pioneers spotted them in their homes, eyewear began their second life in fashion.
Bausch & Lomb solidified Ray-Ban fashion in 1952 by launching the Wayfarer hard plastic frame – one of the first non-metallic sunglasses. Shortly after, the Ray-Bans were spotted on James Dean in Rebel without cause and Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany’s, cementing the Wayfarer in cinematic and sartorial history.
Ray-Ban’s contribution to cinema is well known, but eyewear also has a deep rock and roll history. Lou Reed, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly are just a few of the many artists who have sported a pair of famous frames, and it’s easy to see Ray-Ban’s connection to rock and roll. Speaking of the Wayfarer, design critic Stephen Bayley once said that “the distinctive trapezoidal frame spoke non-verbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness.” This rebellious and adventurous spirit is present in almost all Ray-Ban frames, making them an obvious choice for musicians who push the limits.
Today, Ray-Ban’s history makes them more stylish than ever, and they continue to pioneer new collaborations with unexpected musical artists. So whether you’re looking to build your Ray-Ban collection – or buy your first pair – read on for the best Ray-Bans to buy right now.
Where to buy Ray-Ban online
Ray-Ban now offers a wide selection of eyewear for all tastes, all prescription needs and all face shapes. But, although many stores carry Ray-Bans, many have limited options.
If you are looking to browse as much of Ray-Ban as possible, we recommend GlassesUSA.com. The eyewear retailer offers a huge selection of Ray-Ban, including prescription glasses and sunglasses. Almost all Ray-Ban sunglasses can be fitted with prescription lenses, and their prices are some of the cheapest we’ve seen online.
Although Ray-Bans are known for their versatility, some look better with certain face shapes. The shape of the face can be divided into four categories: square, oval, triangular and round. For square-shaped faces (strong jaw and forehead), larger round or rectangular frames are preferable. For oval faces, we suggest square or rectangular glasses. Triangular faces often look best with round or square glasses. For round faces, opt for rectangular or round glasses. Of course, these are vague guidelines, so don’t let them get in the way too much.
The best Ray-Ban sunglasses
To help you narrow your search, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favorite Ray-Ban styles below. All can be purchased now at GlassesUSA.com, and all can be personalized with prescription lenses. Look for the latest promo codes on GlassesUSA to make your deal even better.
1. Ray-Ban Wayfarer
It wasn’t the original (it would be the aviator), but the Wayfarer is the classic Ray-Ban. 72 years after its release, the glasses look as good (if not better) as they did then, whether you choose to wear them with shorts and a t-shirt or a full body suit. They are made of a durable plastic that can be thrown away, making them perfect for everyday use or travel. The angled rectangular frame is flattering on almost any face, although it can be a bit harsh on triangular face types.
2. Ray-Ban New Wayfarer
This new Wayfarer changes the original design for a slightly less assertive look. These small adjustments include a more rounded frame and a less dramatic tilt towards the cheeks. The result is a ridiculously versatile pair of glasses that effortlessly maintain freshness but work with just about any face type and personal style. They are also available in 45 color combinations, so even if you are bound to see them in the city, you can always choose something unique.
3. Ray-Ban Aviator
Because the aviator has been around for so long, he graduated from the “military style” classification. Now it’s just plain stylish, going with any outfit, from super casual to dressy. The metal frame is thin (to fit behind a pilot’s earmuffs) but strong enough to withstand the inevitable drops. At GlassesUSA you can choose from 49 color options, although the gold colourway below is the real classic.
4. Ray Ban 4371
Frames like these 60s inspired 4371 show that Ray-Ban can still produce a stylish new design. The glasses are a nice mix of old and new school with a relaxed round design, a keyhole bridge and slender temples. They look great with round or triangular face types and are especially flattering on smaller faces. While they work well with most personal styles, we think they’re ideal as the icing on the cake of a casual summer outfit.
5. Clubmaster Ray-Ban
Clubmaster sunglasses were a staple of mid-century men’s style, and thanks to the resurgence of all things mid-century, frames are back in full force. And it’s easy to see why. The semi-frameless eyebrow frame looks flattering on almost any face (although it’s best if you have softer features) and pairs perfectly with a wide variety of outfits.
6. Ray-Ban Round Metal
Round glasses like these gained a reputation with the hippie counterculture movement in the 60s and 70s. And like so many hippie, bohemian style pieces, glasses have made a big comeback in the 21st century. They come in a variety of colors, so you can go classic with gold and green metal glasses or more modern with something like gunmetal and blue.