Ray Ban is an iconic sunglasses brand that manufactures perhaps the single most timeless and recognizable style of shade in the world. John F. Kennedy popularized the Ray Ban wayfarer glasses by donning them on breezy Cape Cod weekend retreats, and posing for some of the most widely seen photographs of the era. With further promotion by world-class movie stars and musicians such as Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison, the 60s became synonymous with the uniquely shaped wayfarer frame. While the wayfarer is still one of Ray Ban’s most popular models today, the culture shaping company has manufactured countless other models that have found immense popularity. These models include sunglasses, yet Ray Ban has branched into optical and science markets as well.
As for sunglasses, Ray Ban has made modifications to the original wayfarer design, though the Original Wayfarer is still available. Slight variations exist now including the New Wayfarer, Rounded Wayfarer, Wayfarer Square, Wayfarer II, Folding Wayfarer, and the Wayfarer Shield. The New Wayfarer is most similar to the Original Wayfarer and differs only slightly in its shape of frame; at the top of each frame is a slightly more rounded curve. The Rounded Wayfarer, however, takes the curve to a new extreme invoking a wide-eyed Lennon-esque shape on the wayfarer body. Conversely, the Wayfarer Square gives a sturdier, boxier edge to the lower portion of each frame and perhaps delivers a more robust look. The Wayfarer Shield brings this robustness to a new extreme by forming actual square with each frame, which conveys a sun-shielding practicality highly akin to Oakley models. The Folding Wayfarer keeps the original frame shape intact, yet brings a tighter folding curl to the arms of the glasses, specifically around the ear-hugging region. The purpose of the Folding Wayfarer is to allow for a snugger fit while simultaneously providing a different, bolder choice for Ray Ban consumers.
To further enhance the uniqueness and boldness of one’s wayfarer sunglasses, one may choose from a wide array of colors and designs that may even differ between the frames and lens. Further, one may choose differing colors between parts of the frame; the inner sections of each arm may, for example, be of differing shade or color than its outer parts. While solid color shades are available in traditional colors, tie-dye blends are also available to choose from. Perhaps the boldest choice, however, is the pure black frame and lens combination on the Original Wayfarer. The classic element of this style shade has only been solidified by the infinite variations on its shading and design. To wear the original in its most formal colors is a flashy yet tempered, elegant decision.
One other consideration that must debated is the material of Ray Bans one wishes to purchase: metal or plastic. While metal sunglasses will generally be higher priced, plastic sunglasses are more resistant to scratches and general wear and tear. Metal, however, may look most appropriate when combined with a suit or formalwear, whereas plastic is fitting for slightly more casual outfitting.
Ray Ban’s optical collection is slightly more limited than its stock of sunglasses. Firstly, the Original Wayfarer is available for prescription wear. One may prefer, however, a clear lens without prescription, which is also an available option every optical model. Ray Ban manufactures the infamous Aviator model in this optical market. The Aviator, made most famous, perhaps, by the 1980’s blockbuster hit Top Gun, is a refined choice for the hard of sight. Slimmer, more boxed frames are available, however, on several other models that Ray Ban produces, each of which offers customizable color schemes. The material options of the optical section are slightly expanded: metal, plastic and titanium. The titanium models are especially thin, and may best complement facial structure that is conversely more defined.
The newest of Ray Ban offerings is the Ray Ban Craft Collection. Its four compartments, the Craft, Caravan, Wings, and Outdoorsman, offer variations on prior Ray Ban models with subtle touches of rich leather. The leather is most commonly found on these models at the bridge of the frame between each lens, and serves to bolster the Ray Ban design with a more rugged edge.
On every pair of Ray Ban sunglasses, the option to polarize each lens is available as well. Polarization of lenses offers further protection to the retina from sun glares and light reflection that may not only impede vision but also cause harm. Though polarization slightly increases the price of the glass, the positive effects of such a safety precaution may be further researched and even seen at Ray Ban’s interactive website.