blue brother sunglasses

Iconic Sunglasses in Pop Culture

From movies to music, sunglasses have played a major role in style and have created some iconic looks in eyewear! Sunglasses started to take their spot in the limelight when they became popular in Hollywood because celebrities wore them to shield their eyes from lights in studios and from the bright flashes of the paparazzi.

The rich and famous transitioned their practical eyewear to an on-screen prop. In Hollywood movies sunglasses were now a fashion statement. It was an accessory that wardrobe could use to help a character make a lasting impression on viewers. Movies that have succeeded with creating a character’s iconic look ranges from Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, who wore an oversized cat-eye, to Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita, who wore heart-shaped frames.

It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. ~Elwood Blues

Fast forward some years and you may recall Tom Cruise in Risky Business wearing wayfarers or in Top Gun when he wore iconic aviators as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. And can you imagine enjoying The Blues Brothers without their signature shades? Even more recent movies rely on sunglasses to create a character’s “look”, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator or Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.

Photo: Getty Images

But movies aren’t the only way that sunglasses can be seen in pop culture. Many famous musicians are literally known for wearing sunglasses. Elvis Presley loved to wear gold-rimmed aviators and Elton John incorporated eccentric sunglasses into his stage outfits in concerts. Bono from U2 almost always has his sunglasses on and you probably wouldn’t recognize him without them!

Even though celebrities first began wearing sunglasses for convenience or as mean of protection, there is no doubt that some sunglasses are now synonymous with the people who made them famous. Hollywood’s influence on fashion and style is undeniable. Sunglasses are no longer just for the Hollywood elite, they are now the quintessential accessory for everyone. Find your own iconic look.