20 Sunglasses That Give Off Big Italian-Grandpa Energy, If You Know What I Mean


(Image credit: @champagnemani)

Earlier this year, I came across a pair of oversize aviator frames in one of my favorite vintage stores that stopped me dead in my tracks. Although I hadn't worn the sunglasses silhouette in years, this particular pair stood out to me because they reminded me of the ones my very Italian grandpa always used to wear. So when the store owner told me they were a deadstock style from Italy, I bought them immediately. Scroll down to see them in action.

Fast-forward to summer 2021, the fashion crowd has joined me in my obsession with retro sunglasses. I'd even go so far as to say that they've become *the* accessory trend of the moment. If I spot someone in them, I know they're a fashion person. But let's get into the details. Nope, these aren't the slim metal-framed aviators we used to know. Instead, this new wave is all about embodying a '70s aesthetic that's anything but minimal. The details that define the modern-day trend include large acetate frames in lieu of sleek metal ones, tinted lenses (especially transparent yellow and orange shades), and the general vibe that you could have lifted them from my own grandpa's closet.

To show you what I mean, I've pulled together examples from Instagram that highlight how the style set is wearing retro sunglasses right now. I also went ahead and shopped out the 20 pairs that embody this whole aesthetic, so keep scrolling for more.


(Image credit: @anna__laplaca)


(Image credit: @amaka.hamelijnck)


(Image credit: @annelauremais)


(Image credit: @abysdiary)


(Image credit: @jen_wonders)


(Image credit: @monamali_)


(Image credit: @hoskelsa)


(Image credit: @sofiamcoelho)


(Image credit: @moeblackx)

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Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.