Sunglasses and How We Might Have Misunderstood the Allure

Sunglasses and How We Might Have Misunderstood the Allure

Why wearing glasses conceals beauty but makes us more charming and captivating?

Those shades, seemingly mere eye protection accessories, hold greater significance in the realms of fashion and self-expression. Sunglasses ‘cover up’ our eyes, yet they manage to unveil a sense of allure and confidence in the wearer.

In the year 2023, what kind of sunglasses are people donning?

Sunglasses have come a long way from being a basic necessity to shield eyes from UV rays. They have evolved into an indispensable fashion accessory.

In 2023, several sunglass trends are catching the fancy of fashion enthusiasts. Take, for instance, the resurgence of wrap-around sunglasses. These shades blend the nostalgic Y2K vibes with a touch of 360-degree angularity, creating a perfect fusion of classic and bold, unisex style. Balenciaga and Acne Studios are among the fashion houses leading the revival of wrap-around glasses.

Wrap-around sunglasses are making a comeback in 2023 | Source: Byrdie

Another prominent trend in 2023 revolves around the ‘barbie-core’ aesthetic, featuring pink-tinted sunglasses. Notable mentions include the standout Zara x Barbie glasses and Givenchy’s pink cat-eye shades. But it’s not just about pink; this trend expands to vibrant and lively color palettes for frames and lenses. Think sky-blue Jacquemus shades, pastel purple from Bonnie Clyde, and mustard yellow by Pobby Lissiman.

The distinctive “Barbie universe” pink sunglasses are also welcomed this summer | Source: Who What Wear

For fashion enthusiasts, the trend of futuristic athletic sunglasses is hard to ignore. Championed by renowned brands like Balenciaga and Dior, these glasses are gaining popularity. Their modern appeal, coupled with the rise of techwear trends, blends the dynamism of sports with the aesthetic flair of high-end fashion brands.

Sunglasses blending sporty spirit and futuristic elements | Source: Patou

However, amidst the ever-changing trends, it’s crucial to acknowledge that sunglasses are a distinctly unique accessory. They are not like jewelry, bags, or shoes that showcase various body parts. Sunglasses conceal the most crucial element on our faces – our eyes. Yet, after all these years, they remain sought after and an icon of allure. What is it about sunglasses that gives them this ‘power’?

Enigmatic Allure: The Fascination of Concealed Gazes

Eyes are often deemed the ‘windows to the soul,’ but when these windows are veiled with sunglasses, a mysterious and captivating ambiance emerges. Those facing you can no longer fathom your thoughts through your eyes, unintentionally rendering you more intriguing and sparking curiosity among those in your vicinity. Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, has divulged her habit of frequently wearing sunglasses to collection launches – a measure to keep her thoughts concealed. When weariness or a hint of drowsiness sets in, sunglasses become a shield, preventing the revelation of those emotions through one’s eyes.

Can you guess what Anna “Winter” is thinking? | Source: Fashionista

An interesting facet of sunglasses’ allure is their connection to another captivating image – that of aviators. In the 1920s, sunglasses were crafted for pilots to combat UV rays while flying. Yet, within a few years, they metamorphosed into a commercialized accessory, transforming the wearer into someone effortlessly ‘cool’ and dream-worthy.

Images of Hollywood stars in sunglasses | Source: buysmartglasses

This transformation elevated sunglasses beyond their primary sun-shielding role, turning them into a symbol of the adventurous life of a pilot, intimately tied to the boundless skies and exploration.

Images of nuns or women in smoke are classified as strongly captivating visuals | Source: FB, Vogue France

From eyewear, we can seamlessly extend our lessons on allure. In Virginia Postrel’s book, “The Power of Glamour,” she delves into the elements that enhance allure. The primary step, she asserts, is to create a sense of mystery and an illusion of beauty. Examples from the book include the understated elegance of nuns, the haziness of cigarette smoke, the beautiful world beyond the window, superheroes – all embodying elements of the unexplainable, arousing curiosity and igniting the imagination.

The principles of allure are most visibly demonstrated in the operations of the luxury industry. Fashion houses reveal sparingly about their products, fostering curiosity and discussion. The more elusive, the higher the desire to explore.

Today, the concept of ‘allure’ is interpreted in various ways, especially with the advent of social media. New fashion styles lean towards minimal fabric to showcase the body more, and fitness trends motivate many to diligently share pictures of their well-toned bodies online. While both revealing and concealing can be considered alluring, the difference lies in the lasting impact.

If allure is created through concealment, haziness, and avoiding overt display, it stimulates imagination and a desire for deeper exploration. On the other hand, swift revelation risks the quick evanescence of joy, akin to short videos that provide immediate satisfaction but are prone to swift forgetfulness.

The Future of Eyewear through the Lens of the Youth

Eyewear holds a particularly intriguing significance for the youth, especially Generation Z. One of the main reasons young individuals are drawn to eyewear is its boundless ability to transform and adapt to various styles. We are witnessing a resurgence of classic eyewear styles such as aviators and cat-eyes with more subdued colors like black, brown, or gray. Thick black frames evoke a sense of wandering through 1980s films and are increasingly favored by many young individuals.

Wren Evans and the intriguing variety of eyewear shapes

Eyewear is not merely an accessory; it is also a statement representing the youth’s concern for the environment. Currently, the preference for eyewear made from recycled or sustainable materials such as bamboo, acetate (plant-derived and easily biodegradable plastic), or recycled aluminum is gaining popularity. Popular choices among the youth include Quince, Pela, and Eco.

Eyeglass frames made from recycled materials by ECO | Source: ECO

Beyond materials, the future of eyewear extends beyond aesthetics to demand more functionality. In 2021, Facebook collaborated with Ray-Ban to create the next generation of smart glasses.

The shapes of eyewear must also be more innovative, such as rectangular frames, mini cat-eye shapes, and others. Additionally, eyewear brands need to enhance aesthetic elements and storytelling to establish a unique and distinctive style. A case in point is Gentle Monster from South Korea.

A store of Gentle Monster | Source: Gentle Monster (GM)

Apart from design and celebrity endorsements (such as BlackPink’s Jennie), this brand notably invests in the ‘art’ aspect through unique exhibitions and eyewear experiences within artistic spaces, making the eyewear purchasing experience far more captivating than before. The shifts in consumer demand and the industry’s evolving landscape indicate significant and dynamic changes in the eyewear industry. While initially used to view the world, eyewear now transforms the world into something magical and dazzling, surpassing the realm of reality.


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