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What Are Wayfarers? A Look at Ray-Ban’s Classic Designer Frame

Phoebe Jade

Written By:

Phoebe Jade

Updated: 23 July 2024 •  
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It’s easy to spot a pair of Wayfarer glasses.
First introduced by Ray-Ban in the 1950s, these now-iconic frames quickly shot to fame and popularity, especially among celebrities and musicians.
If you’re into the classic or retro vibe, let’s take a closer look at the timeless appeal of these glasses frames.

What are Wayfarers?

us president john f kennedy wearing a pair of wayfarers

JFK completes his casual look with Wayfarers. Source: Daily Beast

You’ve probably seen many celebs sporting a trendy style of glasses with a nerdy appeal, called Wayfarers.
These versatile specs have been around since the 1950s, originating from Ray-Ban as a unisex option for sunglasses.
Over the years, they’ve been seen on the faces of countless celebs and icons, from JFK to Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.”
Nowadays, they’re manufactured by various brands and come in all sorts of colors and patterns, cementing their spot as one of the most beloved eyewear styles ever.

What’s special about the design of Wayfarers?

a pair of ray ban wayfarer

The Wayfarer style is a classic and iconic design in eyewear that is still popular today.

When it comes to iconic eyewear, few frames have stood the test of time like Wayfarers. Bold, angular frames characterize the design, allowing wearers to flaunt a distinct aesthetic that suits both men and women.
The classic design of Ray-Ban Wayfarers features a thick black frame that’s perfect for any face shape, and the slightly curved lenses offer fantastic clarity and protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
It’s no wonder that these shades have become a staple in fashion and pop culture!
Whether hitting the beach or cruising around town, these glasses are a popular accessory for any look. Its versatility has allowed it to appear in retro and modern fashion trends.
Designers can build Wayfarers from various materials, such as acetate, metal, and even wood.
Acetate is a common material used in Wayfarer glasses due to its flexibility. Meanwhile, metal provides a sleek and modern look.
Yet the design of Wayfarers goes far beyond cosmetic.
They offer a practical solution for those who need glasses for everyday use. With their sturdy construction and wide-fit design, Wayfarers are perfect for active individuals who need glasses they can rely on.
Plus, with the variety of colors and materials available, it’s easy to pick a pair of Wayfarers that perfectly match your style.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers started wave that still rock and rolls today

Here are some of the stars that have helped Wayfarers shine through the ages;

Bob Dylan, the original Wayfarer rocker

bob dylan wearing a pair of wayfarers

Bob Dylan sports Wayfarers while wearing a leather jacket Source: Pinterest


A true icon in rock and roll, Bob Dylan has had a massive impact on the genre.
Known for his raspy voice, poetic lyrics, and signature harmonica solos, Dylan has made music that speaks to the soul of the restless, the wanderers, and the dreamers among us.
One of his signature accessories is the iconic Wayfarer sunglasses he wears with effortless coolness.
Whether performing on stage, posing for photoshoots, or just walking down the street, Dylan always adds a touch of mystery and intrigue with his shades.
He pairs them with everything from leather jackets to denim shirts and often goes for a classic black frame.
The Wayfarers perfectly complement his unmistakable voice and rebellious spirit, making him a true fashion icon.

Risky Business with Tom Cruise

tom cruise wearing a pair of wayfarers in the film risky business

The Wayfarers that Tom Cruise dons in the film have since become a pop culture icon. Source: Today


If you’re looking for a thrilling cinematic ride, watch Risky Business with Tom Cruise.
This classic ’80s film follows a high school student named Joel as he navigates the murky waters of adulthood.
But the real standout of the film?
Those iconic Wayfarer glasses – which have since become a cultural touchstone.
Tom Cruise’s character famously sports the shades throughout the film, lending a cool nonchalance to his risky business ventures.
It’s hard not to feel a surge of adrenaline when you see Cruise cruising around in his sunglasses, ready to take on the world!


The Michael Jackson signature look

michael jackson wearing a pair of wayfarers

Michael Jackson wears a biker jacket and accessorizes with a pair of Wayfarers. Source: Showbiz CheatSheet

Michael Jackson sure had his own signature look.
From the slicked-back hair to the sparkly gloves and, of course, the iconic Wayfarers, he truly was a fashion trailblazer.
The king of pop had a way of making these classic shades look absolutely cool and effortless.
Whether rocking a white suit, a leather jacket, or a fedora, his Wayfarers were always on point.
And it’s not just the frames that made his look so memorable – he had a flair for styling them in different ways, from wearing bold patterns to matching them with his signature red jackets.
It’s amazing how much an accessory can say about someone’s style, and it spoke volumes in the case of Michael Jackson and his undeniable coolness.

So – is the Wayfarer style right for you?

If you’re looking for that one staple accessory to add some edge to your wardrobe, Wayfarers might be for you.
The Ray-Ban’s may come with a steep price tag, though. A classic polished black pair with polarized lenses can cost you more than $160.
BUT – don’t stress out over that price. There are places where you can get quality Wayfarer lookalikes at a fraction of the cost.
Here at Mouqy, we’ve got a few high-quality but affordable alternatives that won’t break the bank.
Like the Genius frame:

Or the Quiet frame:

…or the Dylan frame – with a keyhole bridge!

Another thing to consider if you should get Wayfarers is your face shape.
Although we believe in wearing whatever you want, style guides don’t necessarily agree.
Make sure you choose the type that suits your looks with our picking guide based on face shapes.
But again, you do you. Sport Wayfarers if you want. Don’t listen to those who say the glasses aren’t for you. If you feel confident donning them, they will look good on you.
We also offer a virtual try-on tool that you can use to see if the glasses you pick, suit you!

The Wayfarer style is a timeless classic

From humble beginnings in the 1950s to continued popularity, Wayfarers have become a symbol of style, individuality, and a timeless fashion statement.
The next time you’re looking for a pair of glasses or sunglasses that make a statement, consider trying the iconic Wayfarer style. You may find your new favorite pair of frames.
For more posts like this and general eye care tips, visit the Mouqy blog.

Phoebe Jade

Written by:

Phoebe Jade

Phoebe is a registered nurse, licensed teacher and writer who's passionate about creating content that educates and inspires.

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