Warmer weather is finally among us and I’m so excited to be wearing cuter more colorful pieces! As much as I love other seasons, there’s just something about spring that makes me feel more alive. It has to be a combination between playful accessories, gorgeous florals, lighter textures, and lace up espadrilles! Check out some of these items that I’ll be purchasing shortly.
What happens if you stare at the sun? You begin to wonder what, if anything, will come after tiny sunglasses. Men and women alike spent the entirety of 2018 seeing the world through tiny-tinted goggles, a new beacon of our shifting relationship with fame and attention. If the big glasses of the paparazzi-manic mid-aughts were shields from the glare of public life, tiny glasses were a symbol of new values: look at me, but only as I want to be seen! But meme-ready trends, unlike diamonds or things you tweeted in 2013, are not forever. So what kind of bold silhouette could possibly follow in their teeny-tiny footsteps?
Enter… racer sunglasses.
Racer sunglasses—also known as wraparound sunglasses, ski sunglasses, blades, performance running goggles, shields, or baseball glasses—are the shape that will dominate your entire summer. After Balenciaga and Prada both made them for Spring 2019, the style is now heavily stocked on nearly every reputable e-commerce site, not to mention filling the racks at the fast fashion outpost of your choice. Fashion freaks and dudes just looking to perk up their beach wardrobes alike can wear this wild style. They combine the current performance gear fetish with our increasing appetite for weird clothing. In other words, racer sunglasses are basically the lovechild of clout goggles and tiny sunglasses. And they come from fashion’s current wellspring of inspiration: the ’90s.
WHY?! Mr. Porter Style Director Olie Arnold says there are two trends at work here. “First, it’s clear that the ’90s are having a major resurgence, especially from brands like Balenciaga and Vetements,” he says. “And there’s no more ’90s a pair of sunglasses than the quintessential Oakley visor sunglasses.” Arnold points to icons like Michael Jordan, David Duchovny, and Andre Agassi (YAAAS!) as inspo for this look. Second, Arnold says, baseball players in particular are emerging as a new style icons, from retro, like Cal Ripken, Jr., to more contemporary. (Well…maybe.) “Today, we’re starting to see this style off the diamond and on the streets,” Arnold says. “You can just imagine A-Rod wearing this pair from Moncler.” The new A-bomb from A-Rod.
That brings us to another intriguing element of the wraparound or blade sunglasses revival—many stores are carrying not simply the fashion version of the look, but the performance brands themselves. District Vision is a running apparel brand that makes a mean pair of the frames, but it is also stocked on Ssense, among the Prada and the Vetements options. Max Vallot, a cofounder of District Vision, says that the way the brand approaches sports gives their frames a certain panache, even if you aren’t putting them on to run a half marathon. They design for “mindful athletes,” he says, “those approaching sports with a deeper awareness of mind and body, as well as anything affecting this dynamic. Nowadays, being active and being mindful is aspirational. So even if our customer is not actively practicing, they tend to favor the relevant objects.” Good morning, New York! Let’s get these relevant objects!
With that in mind, it’s only a matter of time until Oakley itself reemerges as the king of the look. After all, we might be wild for designer fleece, but we all know that Patagonia really makes the best version. A 1997 Los Angeles Times article writes about the source material with a poetic reverence to which every fashion writer should aspire. “The single red iridium lens stretches like a shield from brow to cheekbone and nearly halfway around the head,” it opens. “The jagged Hammerfang earpieces jut out from the temples, never bending toward the lobes.” It brags that Oakleys “flaunt an almost inhuman impenetrability.” In other words, you look at a person in mirrored, protective frames, and all you’ll see is yourself trying to figure out their secret. “The optical ideas we generate would melt the brains of mere mortals,” read the late ’90s Oakleys marketing copy. One customer, the Times reported, said his Oakleys saved him in a grizzly bear attack.