Want to look cool but classic this summer? An aviator frame is the only sunglasses style you need
Arguably, no sunglasses are more iconic than aviators. Worn by everyone from Gigi Hadid and Lady Gaga, to Tom Cruise in Top Gun, the enduring sunglass style has returned every summer since its big revival in the early Noughties.
Remembe when Sienna Miller and Kate Moss were rarely seen without a pair — paired with tousled golden locks and a floral maxi dress, of course.
First launched in 1937 by Ray Ban and designed purely for the military initially, the aviators were specially created to protect pilots’ eyes in the Royal Air Force — the metal frames were the lightest on the market at that time, with curved frames to better reflect sunlight for maximum visibility above the clouds.
This year, the aviator style is back with a bang – a refreshing antidote to the bold and loud frames of 2018, which saw micro-lenses and space invader-style sunglasses take centre stage. But the aviator trumps both of those silhouettes for the fact that it’s universally flattering — there isn’t a single face shape that can’t pull off an aviator frame.
With a range of mirrored tints and lenses to choose from, a pair of aviators will add a flair of 1970s styling to any summer outfit this season, hitting two trend boxes on the head.
Keep scrolling for the best styles to buy for summer.
To not include Ray Ban in a round up of the best aviators would be sartorial blasphemy. The original frames, crafted from a lightweight wire in a soft gold that is flattering against all skin tones, this pair have a brown-tinted gradient lens which is understated and easy to wear. Perfect worn with crisp white linen looks this season.
Ray Ban Original Aviator, £135 at Selfridges
A 2019 take on the classic style, these Gucci frames modernise the traditional look with a bold black acetate silhouette. Dark forest green lenses and Gucci webbing stripe on the arms; this style packs maximum style points but will be wearable for seasons to come.
Gucci aviator sunglasses, £225 at Selfridges
Aussie brand Le Specs have been dominating the sunglasses arena since its Lolita cat eye frames went viral a couple of years ago. These rose-tinted aviators are a modern take on the style, with highly Instagrammable mirrored lenses — while they may appear bold, the pastelly hue actually looks great one everyone.
Le Specs The Prince aviator sunglasses, £65 at Net-a-Porter
Aviators aren’t just reserved for the sun, you know. This pair from Stella McCartney — with clear lenses and chic rose gold frames — are perfect for making an everyday style statement. Pair with chic white shirts, jeans and Birkenstocks for a cool and casual look.
Stella McCartney aviator glasses, £90 at Net-a-Porter
Seamlessly blending the classic gold frames with a bolder design, this pair of aviators from Quay Australia are a nice alternative to a chunky black acetate design. The wider wire frames and oversized lenses make for a subtle statement.
Quay Australia All In sunglasses, £45 at Topshop
This amber-hued pair of frames from Zara come with all the seventies flair as Stevie Nicks in a peasant dress. With a slightly narrower lens that makes the silhouette more rectangular, these would look great with boho dresses as well as a roll neck and high waisted flared trousers come autumn.
Zara aviators, £19.99
With a sleek design and smaller silhouette, these MaxMara aviators are the perfect everyday frames. A grey-blue tinted lens is more understated than some of the mirrored versions out there — these are those failsafe, throw-on-and-d0n’t-think-about-it frames that will live in your handbag forever.
MaxMara Wire 2 aviators, £170 at Selfridges