The Ray-Ban Wayfarer is one of the most recognizable eyewear silhouettes of all time: You may not know the name, but you know the look.
There's truly no going wrong with Ray-Ban’s bold Wayfarer frames, but a few minor differences separate the Original Wayfarer (Model RB2140) from the New Wayfarer (Model RB2132) sunglasses. Take a look at each style before choosing your new favorite pair of shades.
The differences between the classic-style Original Wayfarer and the New Wayfarer are subtle. After all, Ray-Ban had to retain the minimalist good looks of the original in the updated version to live up to the Wayfarer name.
Each style of Wayfarers comes with the signature horizontal oval metal accents on the endpoints, as well as a three-dimensional silver Ray-Ban logo on each temple. On some styles, the temple logo is inlaid rather than raised. In the sunglasses, both the Original and New Wayfarers feature a small, white Ray-Ban logo in the upper right corner of the right lens.
Each style also comes in an 'alternate fit' version designed to comfortably fit wearers with higher cheekbones and a wider nose bridge.
Beyond that, Wayfarers in either style complement any face shape, from heart to oval to round to square. Choosing between the Original Wayfarer and the New Wayfarer mostly boils down to whether you want to go all in on hipster style, or you like the classic cool look with a modern twist.
Ray-Ban has been a leading manufacturer of premium American eyewear since 1937; one of their earliest designsthe Aviatorput them on the map. And in 1952, Ray-Ban scored big again with the Wayfarer, drawing inspiration from two unexpected sources: the Eames lounge chair and tail fins from the classic Cadillac design. It’s an odd mix, to be sure, but the result was a stunning piece of American fashion that's endured for decades.
At a time when most glasses frames were metal, the Wayfarer came in plastic, and the temples had a distinctive flared angle. Designs like this may seem standard to our eyes today, but a half-century ago were revolutionary.
Hollywood bad boy James Dean’s appearances in Wayfarers in the 1950s cemented the frames as a symbol of rebellion. Other stars soon followed suit, including Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe. Nor did the Wayfarer appeal only to actors; celebrated artists and musicians, including John Lennon and Andy Warhol, embraced the defiant, radical spirit of the iconic frames.
Perhaps most notably, Bob Dylan folks and rocks his Wayfarers in the studio and at the mic in many familiar images. Dylan helped marry the outsider ‘Beat’ aesthetic to a literary, intellectual sensibility and stuck a pair of Wayfarers on it. It’s no surprise, then, that the Wayfarer magically straddles both establishment and anti-establishment worlds.
As one might expect, seeing every major icon of ’50s and ’60s pop culture sporting these made a tremendous impact on sales. Unfortunately, it didn't last. It wasn't until the 1980s when the Wayfarers came thundering back into the public eye.
Today they're still going strong. James Franco, who once played James Dean in a TV movie early in his career, can be seen wearing Wayfarers some 50 years after Dean himself rebelled without a cause. Celebs including Johnny Depp, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johanson, Bruno Mars, Joe Jonas, and Robert Pattinson avoid the paparazzi wearing the distinctive frames.
Ray-Ban made a product placement deal in 1981 that put Wayfarers onscreen over 60 times in movies and TV shows. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi wore Wayfarers in The Blues Brothers. And after Tom Cruise paired Wayfarers with tighty whities in Risky Business, sales skyrocketed. Audiences saw them on Don Johnson in Miami Vice, on Bruce Willis in Moonlighting, and on Tom Cruise again in Top Gun. Almost every major pop musician of the ’80s wore them in performance, including Michael Jackson, Madonna, members of U2, Billy Joel, and Queen’s Freddie Mercury, to name a few. And the rest is bespectacled history; sales of the sunglasses soared from about 18,000 in 1980 to 360,000 by 1983, and kept climbing.
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.
When you put on a pair of Wayfarers, you’re adopting a classic look, a proven look, one that passed the test of time. Do you love the authentic look, holding the torch for everything that’s classic and enduring?
Or do you appreciate a more modern flair? That’s what you’ll get in the 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 they’re going to give you a hint of the classic, too.
The Original Wayfarer, the classic, is the granddaddy of them all, setting the standard and defining the look. Its roots lie in Ray-Ban’s own design studios, where Raymond Stegeman, a Bausch & Lomb designer, first created them. Stegeman drew inspiration from other visual motifs of the era while he sought to craft an unprecedented modern sunglasses style using cutting-edge plastics technologies rather than traditional metal frames.
His original design had much more of a winged effect at the upper corners of the frames. Over time, angles and lines slightly shifted in either direction, but from generation to generation, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer retained its unmistakable look. And the original Wayfarer boasts a universally flattering form and especially durable buildtwo variables that, together with its celebrity status, have made it so popular. Small evolutions to the design have kept the Wayfarer fresh, while the continued availability of traditional models lets devotees enjoy the originals as they once were.
The classic Wayfarer is made with a glossy, acetate frame and is available in three lens sizes:
Key to the look is the large lens. It covers a lot of faceor hides a lot of face, depending on your perspective. Along with a slightly cat-eye design, the lens size is key to the Wayfarer’s appeal. Who is that behind those shades? Must be someone...interesting. Mystery is attractive. We’re drawn to it, which may be an overwrought explanation for the continued appeal of the Wayfarer look, but it just doesn’t get old, and we can’t figure out exactly why.
The Ray-Ban Justin, one of several offshoots of the original Wayfarer, has been around for several years. The Justin features a rubberized plastic frame and is currently available in two lens sizes:
The Justin is about 10 percent taller and wider than the original Wayfarer, a key to its distinctive look. And while the Justin’s greater size is the central difference, maybe it inspires more intrigue, too.
Additionally, Justin features rounder frames than the originals with lenses in a squarer shape. And the 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 Wayfarerit’s flatter, or more vertical than the original.
When choosing between the two stylesthe Wayfarer versus the Justinconsider your face shape, too. Both frames complement an oval face shape. The Wayfarer also flatters round faces, and the Justin looks good on square face shapes.
There are some additional structural similarities and differences. Both styles come with metal hinges. The Wayfarer sports 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.
The Ray-Ban Clubmaster sunglasses and Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses are two of the most familiar sunglasses models of all time. These distinctive looks have waged a long-running battle for which truly takes the cake as king of classic. Many seek to declare one over the other as their statement eyewear, while other aficionados ask why choose at all, and keep one of each on hand. If you’re stuck on which style is for you, take a closer look.
The Clubmastera browline-style frames shapeis defined by a bolder, thicker upper frame positioned over a thin lower rim, most often made in a contrasting metal. The browline silhouette first hit the scene in the early 1950s. It was popular amongst historical figures like Malcolm X, and achieved a reputation as the go-to style for intellectuals and the fashion-forward. While they dominated eyewear sales early in their history, Clubmaster-style sunglasses had fallen from favor by the 1970s.
Thanks to Bruce Willis’ character in the 1985 hit television comedy Moonlighting, the browline look enjoyed a pop culture boost that reinvigorated widespread interest in the style. It was then that Ray-Ban further revolutionized this famed eyeglasses style by introducing its Clubmaster sunglasses. The Clubmaster sunglasses model was an immediate success and has become an undisputed standard. Since its first launch, Ray-Ban has created an elaborate collection of Clubmaster sunglasses with novel twists and subtle design shifts to suit a wide world of individual tastes.
As it comes down to selecting one over the other, consider your fashion sense. Do you hope to craft a sophisticated, deep-thinking, artsy aura? The Clubmaster might be just what you’re looking for. If you’re a little more of a rebel, sportier, or tend to drastically switch up your style on a whim, maybe the Wayfarer is the best choice for you. And outdoor or car enthusiasts should consider options for polarized Ray-Ban Clubmasters or polarized Ray-Ban Wayfarers.
Whichever you choose, you can’t really go wrong with these two style icons. They’ve become fan favorites for the very reason that each magically melds to the wearer’s personality. But also keep in mind a final bit of wisdom: Two pairs of shades are always better than one.