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The 10 Most Iconic Sunglasses In Movies

Vanessa Teng

Written By:

Vanessa Teng

Updated: 03 October 2022 •  

Movies don’t just tell a good story – they also help shape our culture, our worldview, and our style choices. In fact – many sunglasses trends were born on film!
 
Today, we take a look at ten of the most iconic sunglasses from famous movies.
 

Iconic Sunglasses Worn by Female Characters

1. Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

 
Audrey Hepburn sunglasses in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn wearing her famous cat-eye sunglasses in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Credit: Vouge Scandinavia).

 
Perhaps one of the most iconic accessories any character has worn in cinematic history, Audrey Hepburn’s sunglasses can’t go unmentioned.
 
These glasses symbolize the main protagonist Holly Golightly’s closed-off demeanor to the world, and she only took them off when she was letting people see the real her.
 
These Manhattan sunglasses were designed by Oliver Goldsmith and feature a classic oversized cat-eye style with acetate tortoiseshell frames. The release of the movie and Audrey Hepburn’s charm drove this style to the peak of its popularity, becoming a best-selling eyewear for ladies around the world.
 

Get the look

 
The three main characteristics of this eyewear icon are the cat-eye style, oversized frame, and tortoiseshell print. Simply pair it with a simple, all-black outfit and confidence, and you’ll be able to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn.
 

2. Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

 
Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada

Meryl Streep wearing her gold-rimmed sunglasses. (Credit: Seen On Celeb).

 
After this movie hit the silver screen, Miranda Priestly became the epitome of glamor, fashion, and power. The powerful editor terrorizes the office in impeccable outfits and these glamorous Versace shades in a rounded cat-eye style with golden rims and brown lenses with an ombre effect.
 
Fun fact: Meryl Streep actually got to keep them after the movie wrapped, and those sunglasses reappeared in a future movie – Mamma Mia. Meryl Streep wore them in some scenes while singing Abba’s “Money, Money, Money.”
 

Get the look

 
Go for a pair of cat-eye or oval sunglasses with gold rims and ombre lenses, and it’ll surely glam up all your looks.
 

3. Frances Stevens in To Catch a Thief

 
Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief

Grace Kelly wearing the iconic white sunglasses in the film. (Credit: Slant Magazine).

 
The romance comedy thriller directed by Hitchcock won an Oscar for Best Cinematography, and some styles donned by Grace Kelly and Cary Grant won the audiences’ hearts too.
 
Grace Kelly’s wardrobe was stunningly beautiful and exudes elegance and glamor. One of the fan favorites was the pair of white-rimmed cat-eye sunglasses designed by Oliver Goldsmith, which Grace Kelly wore in the beach scene.
 

Get the look

 
For the ultimate beach holiday look, pick a pair of shades with a white rim and thin cat-eye frame and you’re ready!
 

4. Penelope in La Piscine

 
Jane Birkin in La Piscine

Jane Birkin wearing the round sunglasses in the movie. (Credit: Tumblr).

 
In this 1969 psychological thriller, Jane Birkin was one step ahead in donning the characteristic aesthetics of the flower-powered 70s. The story of jealousy, possessiveness, and escalating terror was the #4 most popular film in France in 1969. Its re-release in the summer of 2021 also became a surprise hit.
 

Get the look

 
Jane Birkin’s sunglasses had an oversized round shape, tortoiseshell frame, and lenses tinted with light blue. Get a pair like this and you’ll be vacation-ready!
 

5. Ellen Berent in Leave Her to Heaven

 
Gene Tierney in Leave Her To Heaven

Gene Tierney wearing tortoiseshell sunglasses. (Credit: Classiq).

 
In this thriller with a dark plot, Gene Tierney plays a femme fatale. She was famed for her beauty, and her angelic looks were a stark contrast with her psychotic mind in this movie. These tortoiseshell sunglasses have a delicate rim and flattering lens shape that glam up every one of her looks, even when committing an atrocious act during the memorable boat scene.
 

Get the look

 
For this killer look, you need a pair of classic tortoiseshell sunglasses with thin rims and the slightest hint of a glamorous cat-eye shape.
 

Iconic Sunglasses Worn by Male Characters

1. Maverick in Top Gun

 
Tom Cruise in Top Gun

Tom Cruise wearing RayBan Aviators in Top Gun. (Credit: Grailed).

 
In 1986, Top Gun came out and Tom Cruise became the very definition of cool. Tom Cruise played a reckless fighter pilot, and it was his second big movie in Hollywood that made him a famous star worldwide. The movie was so popular that everything seen in the movies became instant sellouts. After the release of the movie, the RayBan Aviators that Tom Cruise wore even increased in sales by 40%. All thanks to Tom Cruise’s star power.
 

Get the look

 
For a Maverick look, get aviator sunglasses with thin, gold metal frames and a top bar, and your style will definitely soar.
 

2. Tony Stark in Iron Man

 
Robert Downey Jr in iron Man

Tony Stark and Peter Parker wearing the Dita Flight.006.

 
Iron Man, the genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist rocked several pairs of sunglasses throughout his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the most iconic one is the one he wore in Avengers: Infinity War – the E.D.I.T.H sunglasses.
 
These sunglasses are the Flight.006 by Dita Eyewear. Angular constructions replaced the round corners of the aviator design to bring this vintage style into the 21st century. The metal top bar retains the aviator’s vintage spirit, while the thin, silver temples and blue-tinted lenses add a futuristic charm.
 
These sunglasses were passed on to Spider-Man and appeared in Spider-Man: Far From Home, so we’ll be able to see them again in new adventures. Even in death, Tony Stark remains a fan favorite, which makes E.D.I.T.H perfectly named because it stands for “Even Dead, I’m The Hero.”
 

Get the look

 
You can mimic Tony Stark’s look by choosing a pair of aviators with angular constructions and silver metal arms.
 

3. Tyler Durden in Fight Club

 
Brad Pitt in Fight Club

Brad Pitt wearing the oversized sunglasses in Fight Club.

 
“The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.” Ironically, it is one of the most talked-about movies for its message about consumerist culture, masculinity, and Brad Pitt’s wardrobe.
 
These Oliver Peoples’ 523 sunglasses feature an oversized rectangular frame and have silver frames that contrast with the red-tinted lenses. The lenses are red because Tyler Durden, the Narrator’s split personality (both played by Brad Pitt), is an insomniac and the lenses block out blue light – and look cool at the same time.
 

Get the look

 
To recreate the Fight Club look, there are three main rules to follow. The first rule is to look for red- or orange-tinted lenses. The second is to go for silver frames, and the third is to pick an oversized frame, and you’re good to go.
 

4. Neo in The Matrix Trilogy

 
Keanu Reeves in The Matrix

Keanu Reeves wearing the futuristic (now nostalgic) sunglasses in Matrix. (Credit: Rolling Stone).

 
The Matrix Trilogy, one of the most important sci-fi movies of all time, also served many iconic looks, including long leather coats, vinyl clothing, and, of course, these cool shades. They were worn by Neo, the main protagonist in this dystopian future where humans are trapped inside an artificial world and used as energy sources for machines.
 
These Blinde “Elipse” 136003 sunglasses were originally commissioned for the movie to create a futuristic look. It was an original design by Richard Walker, who later founded Blinde, an eyewear company that sells his Matrix eyewear designs.
 

Get the look

 
Commonly known as “Matrix Sunglasses,” they are rimless wire frame glasses in an oval shape that bend upwards on the sides, don one of these and a 90s leather trench coat, and you’re ready to take on Agent Smith.
 

5. Terminator in the Terminator Franchise

 
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator

Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing RayBan Wayfarers in Terminator. (Credit: USA Today).

 

Get the look

 
Go for sunglasses with a rectangular frame, black lenses, and thick acetate arms. Combined with a leather jacket and all-black outfit, it’s a timeless look that will always be back.
 

6. Léon in Léon: The Professional

 
Jean Reno in Léon: The Professional

Jean Reno wearing the round sunglasses in Léon: The Professional. (Credit: Esquire).

 
This controversial thriller by Luc Besson follows the story of a 12-year-old orphaned girl who sought refuge from her neighbor, Léon the lone assassin, and ultimately became his apprentice.
 
It was met with controversial reviews. Some revere it as a masterpiece while many criticize it as normalizing predatory behavior and sexualizing underage girls. Natalie Portman also openly said that the movie would not get made today, as many aspects of the film are not acceptable by modern standards.
 

Get the look

 
Jean Reno wore the 58-0072 Junior Gaultier sunglasses in this movie. They feature transparent frames and round lenses tinted with red. This style was made famous by John Lennon, who wore this style of shades regularly, so they’re also called “John Lennon” sunglasses. Just go for round, red-tinted shades with transparent frames, and you’ll have a killer look.
 

Vanessa Teng

Written by:

Vanessa Teng

Vanessa Teng is a freelance fashion copywriter who's living her dream digital nomad lifestyle. You can find her exploring, taking pictures, and crashing exchange students' parties around the world.
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