Retro Sunglasses Buying Guide

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Retro Sunglasses Buying Guide

Retro sunglasses are original designer sunglasses that were manufactured prior to 2000. As well as offering the practical function of blocking out the sun for the wearer, retro sunglasses are fashionable women’s accessories.

Because it is possible to purchase newer sunglasses that often offer the same sun protection, wearing retro sunglasses is more a statement rather than a practical item.

Given that most retro sunglasses are purchased from their previous owner and not direct from shops, eBay is a great source to find the perfect pair of retro shades.

This guide offers practical advice on how to purchase women’s designer retro sunglasses.

The Different Types of Women’s Retro Sunglasses

There are many different retro sunglasses designs to choose from. When it comes to wanting to purchase a pair, it is more than likely one knows exactly what style they are after. However, if not the best way to browse for retro style sunglasses is by looking at the different designs via a period in time, in this case, the decades from the 60s to the 90s. This search will identify the popular glasses of that particular period in history.


Most sunglasses designed and made in the 60s reflect the colour and style of the era. Perhaps the most famous glasses were Teashades. Teashades are often referred to as ‘John Lennon sunglasses’ because he brought them into fashion. Original teashades will have colloid nose pads and a wire frame. Other designs include wayfarer retro sunglasses and oversized sunglasses.


The 1970s saw the introduction of lighter materials onto the market, which revolutionised the way sunglasses were made. The most common new material was called Optyl. This introduction had a direct affect on the market. Sunglasses got bigger – a classic larger pair of 70s shades are the ‘Carrera Prosche’. Another new introduction was photochromic sunglasses. These had the ability to change colour depending on how bright it was at any given time. A notable designer creating these types of sunglasses was Ray Ban Ambermatic. But perhaps the most famous designer of the era was Oakley. Still a leader in today’s modern sunglasses market, Oakley produced alternative designs that were possible because of the new materials that were emerging. Other styles included Valentine, Pancakes, Brady, Doll baby and Deco.


The 1980s saw the introduction of polarized glasses. The frames themselves got larger and the designs more elaborate. Famous designers included Cari Zalloni and Cazal sunglasses. Other style glasses included North Star, Hung, Delta, and Sepulveda.


The 1990s took the designs of the 1980s and pushed them even further. However, alongside this they also introduced a more subtle design aesthetic as an alternative to satisfy another emerging market. Introduced into the pool of popular sunglasses designers were Armani and Revo. Different style glasses included Marigold, Boulevard, Winters, and The Times.

What to Look for When Buying Retro Sunglasses

Perhaps the hardest decision to be made when purchasing a pair of retro sunglasses is the design of the glasses. To help make this decision, ensure to undertake adequate research on the different styles and designers available.

The above section will assist with this. Whilst researching, also take into consideration what the sunglasses will look like when on. Be sure to check they flatter one’s facial features. Also check to see if they are designed for a male or female.

Once the style of glasses is decided upon, the next step is to consider the following points:

· Functionality of the Sunglasses: A sunglasses main purpose is to block out the sun, dust, wind and other particles from the wearer’s eyes.  Be sure to look at the functionality of the glasses as well as the aesthetic.

· Brand: As sunglasses started to become a fashion statement, the brand of the glasses was just as important as the style/design. Most glasses will still be in circulation because of the brand. The brand will often be a direct indicator as to the quality of the glasses. It is therefore important to know who made the glasses and ensure that the ones being bought are originals.

· Fake Sunglasses: As with most retro and vintage products, it is possible to buy replica sunglasses. This is fine if it is what one wants; however, if a buyer is after a retro pair manufactured at a particular time in history, it is important to check that the glasses are authentic.

· Construction: Sunglasses are made out of lots of different materials. When looking to purchase be sure to address the construction of the lens and frame. Whilst a buyer is doing this, they should also look to see what material the lens, lens colour, and frame are made out of. Compare and contrast other glasses to ensure one is purchasing the most durable and resilient pair. It is possible to get varying degrees of quality within the same brands.

· Features: The particular era the glasses were manufactured in will determine the additional features. Common features to enquire about are: polarisation, mirrored glasses, scratch free lenses and high contrast lenses. They may not be available in the particular style wanted, so one will have to make a decision as to whether these additional features are necessities or a luxury.

· Cost. Ultimately the cost of the product will play a deciding role. Make sure that one’s budget reflects the type of glasses wanted and includes accidentals like postage. It is possible to purchase the more affordable option; however, note that this will affect the quality.

How to Purchase Sunglasses on eBay

eBay is the best option when buying retro sunglasses. The site offers a broad range of both authentic and replica retro sunglasses, meaning there is an affordable option for everyone. The following steps will offer a practical breakdown of how to use the site effectively:

· Searching. There are three main ways to search for an item:

o   Keyword search: using the search bar conveniently located at the top of every page on the site


o   Advance search: that is located directly to the right of the search bar function. This will offer the user the opportunity to complete a focused search.

o   Categories: eBay place every item for sale on the site into larger Categories and sub-categories. Retro sunglasses are located in Women’s Accessories.

· Quality Check: Be sure to check that the product is exactly what is being looked for. The seller will have provided a description and photograph of the pair of glasses. Be sure to cross-reference them to ensure the quality, and ask the seller if anything is unclear.

· Refunds and Exchanges: Given the vetting process that one will undertake it is unlikely this information will not be necessary. However, it is wise to check the seller’s refunds and exchange policy. At the same time it is possible to read reviews from other buyers about their experience with the seller.

· eBay Deals: Also search on eBay deals. There will be different offers available on eBay deals, but not on eBay. This may offer a buyer more choice.

· Protection Policy: eBay offer an excellent Buyers Protection Programme.

· Purchase: Exchanging money on eBay is safe and secure. The site works in partnership with third party companyPayPal to offer additional security and support in this exchange.


Not only do retro sunglasses offer a practical function of protection for the eyes, they’re also a great fashion accessory and statement. Sure to jazz up what would have been another run of the mill outfit, retro sunglasses from any of the aforementioned eras are easy to come by.

eBay’s extensive range means that shopping for these sunglasses has never been easier.  If one is after more information, visit eBay’s ‘Buying Tips’ page, as it has more information regarding the site, as well as offering answers to frequently asked questions.

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