Robert De Niro’s vigilante veteran donned the specs with a mohawk in “Taxi Driver.” Al Pacino’s Cuban drug lord character wore a pair in “Scarface.”
The 1980s brought a young Tom Cruise breaking hearts through his shades as “Maverick,” the mischievous Air Force ace in “Top Gun.” Another young heartthrob, Val Kilmer, also wore a pair as Maverick’s nemesis, “Iceman.” If the ’70s brought connotations of danger, the ’80s granted sex appeal.
The latter movie caused ’80s teens to rediscover the historic accessory and more women began accessorising with them as well.
In the 2000s, MTV’s “Jackass,” which led to a movie series, featured shades-wearing skateboarder Johnny Knoxville. Slackers everywhere took note and the style started lining accessory walls at youth-oriented retail stores such as PacSun and Hot Topic.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw took viewers on fashion journeys each week in “Sex and the City.” Her wild blond waves and street clothing were frequently accented by a silver-rimmed style.
Currently, television’s “Mad Men’s” Don Draper can be seen in a sleek gold-rimmed pair, while “Jersey Shore’s” Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino prefers the more flashy silver with larger frames.
The style’s stamp on music history also is undeniable. The shades have perched atop noses in all music genres, from rock to rap.
Queen’s Freddie Mercury chose a gleaming silver pair to offset his leather jacket and suspenders. Michael Jackson preferred his with black lenses perched under a black fedora. Rocker Dave Grohl’s greasy frequently locks twine across silver frames. Kanye West is nearly unrecognizable without his sleek black-on-black combo, or his signature modified aviators with window-blind lenses, also as “stunna shades.”
Part of the appeal of the accessory is its ability to complement many face shapes and the fact that it is ageless. It also looks appropriate in many settings, from casual to formal. In almost any public location, baby boomers can be seen wearing more expensive prescription pairs alongside teens in plastic versions from Forever 21. There even are versions for babies.
Entertainment websites and magazines currently show image after image of Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and a bevy of twenty-something starlets rushing through airports and strolling down the red carpet in the style.