When you think of iconic American images, a few might come to mind: the Grand Canyon, the Brooklyn bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. Edgier types might note the Harley-Davidson, the Corvette, or the Fender Stratocaster. How about the distinctive and ultra-classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer? Is that in there? It should be.
The original Ray-Ban Wayfarer first turned heads in 1952 and has been a go-to accessory, popular with celebrities, musicians, and hipsters ever since. The classic Wayfarer has added edge and mystery to a slew of famous faces—James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Don Henley, Michael Jackson, and even Kanye have all sported the look.
Perhaps most notably, Bob Dylan folks and rocks his Wayfarers in the studio and at the mic in many iconic images. Dylan helped marry the outsider Beat aesthetic to a literary, intellectual sensibility and stuck a pair of Wayfarers on it. Boom. It’s no surprise, then, that the Wayfarer magically straddles both establishment and anti-establishment worlds. Wayfarer—a person who travels.
Since its introduction, Ray-Ban Wayfarer popularity has circumnavigated the globe, not unlike a rolling stone. And though fashion and politics may not mix like they once did, the classic Wayfarer and its offspring are still synonymous with plain old looking cool.
Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer
The Original Wayfarer, the classic, is the granddaddy of them all. It set the standard. It defined the look.
Still immensely popular, the classic Wayfarer is made with a glossy, acetate frame and is available in three different lens sizes:
54mm lens (width)
50mm lens—the standard size (40mm height)
Key to the look is the large lens. It covers a lot of face—or should we say, it hides a lot of face. Along with the slightly cat-eye design, the lens-size is key to their appeal. Who is that behind those lenses? Must be someone...interesting. Mystery is attractive. We’re drawn to mystery which may be an overly-psychoanalytical explanation for the continued appeal of the Wayfarer look—but it just doesn’t get old and we can’t figure out exactly why.
Ray-Ban Justin, one of the several offshoots of the Wayfarer, have been around for about seven years. The Justin features a rubberized plastic frame and is currently available in two lens sizes:
Justins are about 10% taller and wider than the Wayfarers. They’re noticeably larger, a key to their distinct look. Greater size is the central difference. Maybe they induce more mystery, too?
Additionally, Justin features rounder frames than the originals with lenses that are more square-shaped. And the very slightly wrapped frame creates a sportier, more athletic look that’s also a little more modern. Finally, the Justin lacks the lens tilt of the Wayfarer—they’re flatter, or more vertical than the original.
Ray-Ban Justin offers 100% UV protection and is now available with polarized lenses. Not only that, but they’re also available with gradient and mirrored lenses.
And before you ask, both the original Wayfarer and Justin models are available with prescription lenses, too!
The best way to know if your Ray-Bans are polarized, including your Wayfarers or your Justins, is to look for the small “P” next to the Ray-Ban logo on the right lens. If you don’t see that, you can assume your glasses are not, in fact, polarized. But, if you need additional assurance, a quick note to our experts at Framesdirect.com will give you a definitive answer.
Yes. All Ray-Bans are unisex. That said, the Justin’s larger size may make it a little more suitable for men. But, women that like the look over oversized frames could easily wear them, as well.
Wayfarers are also unisex, of course, and look ultra-classic for a reason—they’ve been worn by everyone for about 65 years.
Ah, this is the $64,000 question, isn’t it? When you put on a pair of Wayfarers, you’re adopting a classic look—a proven look, one that passed the test of time. Is that your thing? Do you love the authentic look? Do you hold the torch for everything that’s classic, long-lasting?
Or do you appreciate a more modern flair? That’s what you’ll get with Ray-Ban Justin. The Justin is definitely a fashion-forward take on the original. But, it’s also obviously a child of the Wayfarer. So, no matter what, they’re going to give you a hint of the classic aura, too.
When making a decision between the two styles, consider your face shape, too. While both frames are suited to an oval face-shape, the Wayfarer also looks great on round faces, while the Justin looks good with oval and square face shapes. Round and square—that seems like a key difference, don’t you think?
There are some additional structural similarities and difference: both use metal hinges; the Wayfarer uses a raised Ray-Ban logo on the temple, while the Justin features a recessed logo. Those are small details, but they may be decisive.
Whichever pair you choose, you’ll have buy-in to one of the great fashion statements of the contemporary era. You can’t go wrong with that.