Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunglasses: A History and Exploration

Do you ever get the feeling that wearing sunglasses can make you invisible? Of course not literally, but it feels like people don't really know who you are or what you're up to when they can't see your eyes. Interestingly, the first "sunglasses" were made not as protection from the sun but to capitalize on this strange concept.

In Ancient China, judges would use glasses made of smoky quartz to hide the expression in their eyes as they interrogated witnesses and considered cases. In 1430, the first prescription spectacles were developed in Italy to correct vision, and they were quickly adopted in China where they were tinted by smoke to be used by judges. Now able to see better as well as hide their eyes, the judges began taking greater pride in these accutremants and ornate frames carved of either ivory or tortoiseshell soon became popular.

By the 1600's prescription glasses had become widely recognized as an effective device for helping people see better, and further developments for usefulness and comfort were made, including Benjamin Franklin's invention of the bifocal lens in 1780. In 1929, Sam Foster began selling tinted glasses designed for sun protection and style. His 'Foster Grants' were the first mass-produced sunglasses, and really kicked off the trend of sunglasses for fashion.

Now a trend even more ubiquitous than scarves, people wear sunglasses to shield their eyes from sunny skies and snowy glare, passersby and paparazzi. Some people wear their sunglasses at night, as an homage to Corey Hart or all in the name of fashion? You decide.

Either way, we love sunglasses and bet you do too! Here's a fun video we made to share the love.

What do you think? We are always psyched to hear your opinions!

Here at Mexicali, we adore sunglasses for protecting our eyes on those bright, sunny days and also as accessories to amplify the awesomeness of any outfit. Here are a few of our favorite styles:

Be sure to check out the Mexicali Blues website for more affordable retro sunglasses in cool styles and colors!


  1. Sunglasses DO make you invisible.... a belief that consequently makes me suspicious of those who wear them at night.

  2. Love the history behind the first sunglasses. That video rocks too. Bonnie Bueno is my hero!!