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Founded in 1936 by the Bausch and Lomb Company in Rochester, New York, Ray-Ban is an iconic eyewear brand integral to classic Americana and retro style. The company’s sunglasses have graced some of the most famous faces of the past 100 years, from mirrored aviators on General Douglas Macarthur (incidentally, the first mirrored sunglasses ever put into production) to black Wayfarers on the Blues Brothers to the brand’s classic Aviators on practically everyone in the movie Top Gun.
Today, Ray-Ban operates from within the international eyewear conglomerate Luxottica in Milan, Italy. Luxottica also owns several other famous brands like Persol, Oliver Peoples, Arnette and Prada Eyewear, as well as the retailers LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and Pearl Vision, among others. Thanks to such a robust backing, Ray-Ban is able to offer a wider variety of stylish sunglasses than ever before, including nearly one hundred models for men and women and enough color and material options to make you dizzy. But if you just want some classic shades and the spins are starting to set in, you’re in luck — this buying guide is meant to help you pick the right shades for your style and eye-protection needs. This isn't every pair Ray-Ban sells, but it's a hell of a start.
SHAPE: SQUAREWayfarer Classic Ray-Ban Read More
SHAPE: SQUAREClubmaster Classic Ray-Ban Read More
SHAPE: SQUAREClubmaster Flash Ray-Ban Read More
SHAPE: SQUARENew Wayfarer Ray-Ban Read More
SHAPE: SQUARENew Wayfarer Classic (Rubber) Ray-Ban Read More
Terms to Know
Rubber Frames vs Plastic
This synthetic material — also known as cellulose acetate — was first used for eyewear in the late ‘40s. It is made from a polymer derived from wood pulp or other natural fibers and is both glossy and transparent. In recent years, the material has been replaced by less-expensive nylon frames.
This is acetate made from bio-based materials — cotton, wood pulp, cereals, beet and sugar cane, for example.
Many new Ray-Ban frames are ditching the signature shine for a matte rubber look and feel. The texture is super different, and they look different on. If you're buying Ray-Bans because you look how Ray-Bans look on other people, avoid the rubber frame.
Ray-Ban’s G-15 lens features a special green tint that was developed for military pilots in the ’30s, filtering out a lot of the bright blue light a pilot’s eyes would be exposed to when flying above the cloud line. These lenses only allow 15% of visible light to pass through them, hence the “15,” so they’re best for bright sunny days. While Ray-Ban offers a wide range of tints, mirror finishes and gradients with or without lens polarization, the G-15 lens is considered the most classic choice for any style you could want.
These keep the front of the frames (which hold the lenses) from falling off your face. In most glasses, they are the long shaft that stretches to the ear and is connected to a temple tip that curves behind the ear (holding the glasses in place).
Chromance vs Polarized/Polarization
Polarized lenses have a special film that helps them to reduce glare — that is, bright reflected light. This works by only allowing light that enters the lenses vertically — unreflected light, direct from a light source — to enter through, blocking the vast majority of light that reflects off horizontal surfaces like bodies of water, large stretches of pavement or fields of snow. Polarization is especially useful for people who do a lot of sunny highway driving, daytime fishing, skiing, mountaineering or hiking in snowy areas. Polarized lenses typically cost more than unpolarized ones.
Ray-Ban’s Chromance lenses are specially developed for outdoor athletics. In addition to polar filters, a hydrophobic and fingerprint-resistant coating, and anti-reflection, these lenses intensify colors which enhances details and clarity.
These are online exclusives that you won’t find in stores, including special-edition Wayfarers, Aviators, Clubmasters and more. Some are just standard models not sold at retail locations, but some are limited-edition or one-time seasonal releases, so if you see a pair from this collection that you really want, you’d be best advised to act quickly.
The Blaze collection of eyewear takes Ray-Ban’s classic eyewear silhouettes and constructs them with over-frame lenses. This means that instead of the lenses sitting embedded within the frames, the lenses lay on top of the frames themselves.
First introduced in the 1960s, the Olympian frames are distinct for its bold brow line which extends from temple to temple. Since its introduction, this feature has made its way to the rest of the Ray-Ban lineup.
Glasses in the Legend collection have the Ray-Ban logo emblazoned in gold rather than the usual white.
Ray-Ban’s version of the popular Transition lenses, these colored lenses are light-responsive and shift their level of shade according to the amount of light present. They’re also 100% UVA and UVB protective.
How to Pick a Pair for Your Face Shape
Choosing new sunglasses for everyday wear isn’t exactly rocket science, but there are a few things to consider before investing in your next pair. First, decide on the functional elements you need — like polarized lenses or coatings that combat reflections, water and oil — then pick out a frame shape that complements your face. The goal is to accentuate your best features, and in general, the best way to do that is to wear frames that contrast your face shape slightly.
You can learn more about face shapes here.