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American Optical Original Pilot for Duluth Trading Company

The real right stuff


Whether credit goes to Don Draper or not, there’s no denying the current popularity of aviator sunglasses. And while there is no shortage of brands to choose from, if you want the original, there’s only one choice: American Optical. The US military started issuing AO Aviator sunglasses to its pilots, sailors and soldiers way back in 1958 and the brand has been making them in the USA to the same spec ever since: bayonet temples, rectangular frames, sturdy welds and real glass lenses.

Want a testimonial? AO Original Pilots were the first sunglasses worn on the Moon, by astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong, and a pair resides in the Smithsonian — that’s astronauts L. Gordon Cooper Jr. (right) and Charles Conrad Jr. sporting a pair in the above photo. You may only ever wear yours to commute to the office but it’s nice to know they’ve been tested in the scorching UV rays of outer space. Better still, you can pick up a pair from Duluth Trading Company for little more than (military contract-inflated) 1969 pricing.

Buy Now: $53

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