Aviator sunglasses feature oversize teardrop-shaped lenses and a thin metal frame. The design was introduced in 1936 by the American Optical Eyewear company for issue to U.S. military aviators. As a fashion statement, aviator sunglasses are often made in mirrored, colored, and wrap-around styles.
In addition to pilots, Aviator-style sunglasses gained popularity with young people in the late 1960s and continue to be popular, with only a brief fall in demand during the 1990s.
Clip-on glasses are a form of tinted glasses that can be clipped on to eyeglasses for protection from the Sun. The best protection is polarized lens with 1.1mm. An alternative are flip-up glasses.
Gradient lenses go from a darker shade at the top to a lighter one at the bottom, so there will be more protection from sunlight the higher one looks through the lens, but the lower one looks through the lens, the less protection is offered. An advantage is that one can wear them indoors without fear of tripping over something and also allowing the user to see. Wearing sunglasses to nightclubs has become common in recent times, where the gradient lens comes in handy. Gradient lenses may also be advantageous for activities such as flying airplanes and driving automobiles, as they allow the operator a clear view of the instrument panel, low in his line of sight and usually hidden in shadow, while still reducing glare from the view out the windscreen. The Independent (London), has also referred to these style of sunglasses as the Murphy Lens.
Double gradient lenses are dark at the top, light in the middle and dark at the bottom.
Gradients should not be confused with bifocals and progressive lenses.
Flip-up sunglasses add the benefits of sunglasses to corrective eyeglasses, allowing the wearer to flip up the tinted lenses for indoor use. An alternative are clip-on glasses.
Mirrored lenses, having a metallic, partially reflective coating on the outer surface, combined with a tinted glass lens, are an alternative to polarization for UV protection, improving contrast when depth perception is important such as seeing moguls and ice while skiing or snowboarding. The mirrored lens reflects glare to protect the eyes, but improves the ability to see contrasts, and mirrored lenses of different colors can expand the range of fashion styles. Their popularity with police officers in the United States has earned them the nickname "cop shades". The two most popular styles are dual lenses set in metal frames and "Wraparounds
Oversized sunglasses, which were fashionable in the 1980s, are now often used for humorous purposes. They usually come in bright colors with colored lenses and can be purchased cheaply.
The singer Elton John sometimes wore oversized sunglasses on stage in the mid-1970s as part of his Captain Fantastic act.
In the early twenty-first century moderately oversized sunglasses have become a fashion trend. There are many variations, such as the "Onassis", discussed below, and Dior white sunglasses.
Onassis glasses or "Jackie O's" are very large sunglasses worn by women. This style of sunglasses is said to mimic the kind most famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 1960s. The glasses continue to be popular with women, and celebrities may use them, ostensibly to hide from paparazzi.
Oversized sunglasses also offer more protection from sunburn due to the larger areas of skin they cover, although sunblock should still be used.
Shutter Shades were a fad in the early 1980s. Instead of tinted lenses, they decrease sun exposure by means of a set of parallel, horizontal shutters (like a small window shutter). Analogous to Inuit goggles (see above), the principle is not to filter light, but to decrease the amount of sun rays falling into the wearer's eyes. To provide UV protection, Shutter Shades sometimes use lenses in addition to the shutters; if not, they provide very insufficient protection against ultraviolet radiation and blue light.
"Teashades" (sometimes also called "John Lennon glasses", "Ozzy Glasses", after Ozzy Osbourne or, occasionally, "Granny Glasses") were a type of psychedelic art wire-rim sunglasses that were often worn, usually for purely aesthetic reasons, by members of the 1960s counterculture, as well as by opponents of segregation. Pop icons such as Mick Jagger, Roger Daltrey, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, Boy George, Liam Gallagher and Ozzy Osbourne, all wore teashades. The original teashade design was made up of medium-sized, perfectly round lenses, supported by pads on the bridge of the nose and a thin wire frame. When teashades became popular in the late 1960s, they were often elaborated: Lenses were elaborately colored, mirrored, and produced in excessively large sizes, and with the wire earpieces exaggerated. A uniquely-colored or darkened glass lens was usually preferred. Modern versions tend to have plastic lenses, as do many other sunglasses. Teashades are hard to find in shops today; however, they can still be found at many costume Web sites and in some countries.
The term has now fallen into disuse, although references can still be found in literature of the time. "Teashades" was also used to describe glasses worn to hide the effects of marijuana (conjunctival injection) or bloodshot eyes or the effects of opiates such as heroin (pupillary constriction.
The glasses worn by Seraph in the Matrix films are teashades. Teashades are briefly referenced during a police training seminar in Hunter S. Thompson's novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Mickey Knox in Natural Born Killers wears red teashades. Lara Croft from the video-game Tomb Raider is seen wearing Teashade sunglasses. Vash the Stampede (Trigun) wears yellow-lens teashades. The iconic sunglasses of Spider Jerusalem are a variation of teashades. Jean Reno wears black teashades in the movie Léon(The Professional). Main character of Hellsing, Alucard, wears red-lensed teashades. Recently, actress and fashion icon Mary-Kate Olsen and pop music singer Lady Gaga have been seen wearing several variations of teashades. Howard Stern was also known for wearing teashades in the early to mid 90's and never taking them off in public.
The Ray-Ban Wayfarer is a plastic-framed design for sunglasses produced by the Ray-Ban company. Introduced in 1952, the trapezoidal lenses are wider at the top than the bottom and were famously worn by James Dean and other actors. The original frames were black; frames in many different colours were later introduced.
Wraparounds are a specific design of sunglasses. They are characterized by a single, smooth, semi-circular lens that covers both eyes and much of the same area of the face covered by protective goggles. The lens is usually combined with a minimal plastic frame and single piece of plastic serving as a nosepiece. As an alternative, the glasses can have two lenses, but the design evokes the same semicircle.