Why exactly were aviator sunglasses so popular after WWII? The history of aviator sunglasses Part 6

The earlier installments in this series are at the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

This installment largely consists of a nagging thought I’ve had.

I remember once listening to a Chuck Berry interview. I think he was talking about the psychology behind the “Payola” scandal of the 1950s. He said the record companies had discovered that if you constantly heard a song you’d get used to it and if you got used to it you would buy it.

It made me think about a page in an old Montgomery Ward catalogue I have that was reprinted in my book.

Montgomery Ward Catalogue 1946.

Montgomery Ward Catalogue 1946.

It was from 1946 and almost all the sunglasses in it derived from military issue eyewear. I guess when the catalogue went to print none of the companies had significantly tooled up for civilian production yet.

I know I’ve written that the glamor of the WWII aviators was the key element in the massive popularity the style enjoyed. I still think that’s largely true. Military officers from Douglas MacArthur on down looked good in the style.

General Douglas MacArthur in AN6531 Sunglasses and A2 aviator jacket.   Photo from Life magazine.

General Douglas MacArthur in AN6531 Sunglasses and A2 aviator jacket. Photo from Life magazine.

On the other hand not much else was available to the public when wartime shortages and rationing ended. For the first time in 16 years, counting the Depression, consumers could spend freely but there was little available but aviators.

I think that temporary monopoly on the market probably sealed the deal on aviator sunglasses’ perpetual popularity.
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3 Responses

  1. steve says:

    Hi. I’d like to get hold of a pair of these without paying $125 any ideas?https://www.eyeglasseswarehouse.com/pages/lennon-plastic.html

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