If you have even the foggiest of interests in sunglasses, air force attire, or cheesy 80s chick flicks, you’re probably familiar with the Aviator frame style. Those big tear drop lenses and wire frames are up there as one of the more iconic designs ever designed. They looked great in the cockpits of WWII, even better on Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and you can still feel like an off-duty pilot wearing them behind the wheel of your Corsa today. A bona fide classic without a doubt.
"...optical Aviators provide a generally gentler frame that makes a bigger statement elsewhere."
Recently, though, the Aviator has enjoyed a bit of a shake-up. A renaissance, if you will. The frame style’s back with a vengeance, but this time things have changed. As an alternative to those chunky, plastic frames that have pretty much dominated the shelves over the last few years, the Aviator is gaining popularity as an alternative style of optical glasses. Whilst they might not drench their wearers in the same air of mysterious rockstar-cool that their tinted counterparts do, optical Aviators provide a generally gentler frame that makes a bigger statement elsewhere.
Top trendies, including blogger Chiara Ferragni, model Tracee Ellis Ross, and all round famous person Kendall Jenner, have recently reached for the vintage style as a more delicate, even feminine, frame. Most probably inspired by a combination of binge-watching 80s inspired Netflix shows and an out-and-out reaction to the more masculine, chunky frame styles of late, the interest from top-tier fashion ‘grammers has meant the frame style’s taking off double quick big time.
Blogger/stylist Margaret Zhang also rocks the optical aviators look, seen here sporting some snazzy MYKITA frames.
But this isn't the first time that the famed frames have found their way into the popular consciousness un-tinted. Oh no. If you're lucky enough to remember the fashion choices of Eddy the Eagle, Grange Hill’s Gonch, or 56% of Crystal Maze contestants, you're probably already familiar with aviators as eyeglasses. The difference this time around though is that wearing them actually makes you less likely to get beaten up by the school bully. So how have double bridged beauties done a 180 and become rather trendy?
Talking to The New York Times earlier this year, our favourite LA dwelling eye-wear designer, Garrett Leight put the new found taste for optical Aviators down to Gucci fever, saying, “When Alessandro Michele sent an oversize Aviator onto the spring 2017 runway, everyone went crazy for it. He definitely played a role in this style becoming a trend again.”
Club House by Garrett Leight
And Garrett Leight hasn’t just been talking up aviator-style opticals, he’s been busy including plenty of retro-rooted, wire frame glasses in his latest collections. Larger styles, like the Club House, present a refined, more updated version of the design. Sculpted from ultra thin wire and finished off with acetate temple tips, they bring the 80s frame style back to the future. A superb fit for anyone with a medium sized face and a thing for very, very nice spectacles.
Linnie by Garrett Leight
Smaller, more rounded styles like the Linnie include more subtle nods to the frame style. Complete with reverse windsor rims, they come with fine details like coin edge filigree and a range of finishes including a super-sultry matte black-gold. These glasses could be for you if you’ve got a face on the smaller side.