Let's talk a bit about a classic pair of sunglasses. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer was introduced by Bausch & Lomb in 1952 and was an instant sucess has been a style icon ever since. The shape and design of the sunglasses took advantage of recent advances in plastic technology and represented a bold contemporary style. With celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak publicily wearing the Wayfarer in the 50's, Audrey Hepburn wearing them in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and icons like Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Roy Orbison, and JFK wearing them these sunglasses became a classic.
The Wayfarer then had a resurgence and a huge rise in sales in the early 1980's with key product placement in cult classic films such as "The Blues Brothers" and "Risky Business."
In recent years, the Wayfarers have been re-released by Ray-Ban and have been a huge sucess, largely due to celebrities like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Sienna Miller, Kirsten Dunst, Chloe Sevigny, and Lindsay Lohan wearing them in paparazzi photos all over the gossip blogs.
But what are the differences between these various generations and incarnations of these classic sunglasses?
The vintage B&L Wayfarer's were the 5022 model. This number was imprinted on the inside of the temples or inside above the lens. The lenses are tinted green and have an etched "B L" logo on the outside of each lens.
The Ray-Ban Wayfarers of the 2000's are slightly flatter and are have the model number 2140. This is imprinted on the inside of the temple. They also have a script Ray-Ban emblem on the lens and on the outside of the temples a feature on some of the earlier models but not all, especially those from the 80's era. These also come in many more color combinations, some a little crazier and bold than others.
There are also other models of the Wayfarer, including the 2039 model, which is a folding version of the Wayfarer.
For some more models and editions of the classic wayfarer, this japanese sight has a bunch of great photos.