An Ode to the Classic Black Wayfarer

I’ll never let my Wayfarers go.
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I’ll never let my Wayfarers go.

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Ray-Ban recently came out with colorful new frames, but I’m sticking with my classic black Wayfarers. As a kid, I listened to every song by the most important person to ever wear them 24-7, Roy Orbison. I discovered the power of his sunglasses later in life.

They fit perfectly when I was generally clueless about what to wear. I wore them when I learned how to dress. I wore them outside to avoid the light, and I wore them on my head indoors to remind everyone I still had them. Sorry to get all “I love my Prada backpack” on you, but they’re versatile. They work for vacations, funerals, and on mornings you don’t want to be disturbed.

I’ve spent disposable income I didn’t have on them. Someone stole a pair, claiming they’d been lost after he “borrowed” them. I was too trusting. Another pair cracked under someone’s foot when I played Twister in Prospect Park. “Sorry,” he offered, half asleep. It was my fault for putting such an important piece of iconography in the grass next to a Milton Bradley situation. No matter how broke I was, these sorts of calamities I’m prone to could never stop me from getting new ones.

I tried fake ones from Fred Flare, but I missed the weight of the real thing on my nose. So I got the rubbery kind that folds up in four places like it’s a superhero gadget. I eagerly favored everyone with a demo of this the way a mom’s new “friend” does the coin behind the ear trick you’re too old for for the fifth time.

The long history of associations with famous people didn’t make me love Wayfarers. Pre-scientology Tom Cruise and Debbie Harry were cool, but that wasn’t it. It seems that they have the specific power to relax you. Putting them on immediately switches you from looking like a blotchy hot mess to looking like someone immune to an earthquake. You’re impenetrable, and the world shuffles outside. You could be wearing the most thrown-together outfit, but Wayfarers improve everything. It’s why I’ve chosen the unisex frames over every logo, mirrored or cat-eyed pair. Those look good on other people, but on me, I look like one of those people who hires their own paparazzi for their birthday. My closet’s pretty bi-polar, but I’ll never let my Wayfarers go.

Reprinted with permission from Stylite. Want more?

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