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When Tom Cruise wore his ray bans aviators inside the 1986 film Top Gun, he personified a very nice, masculine hero. Like Marlon Brando’s leather Perfecto jacket within the Wild One (1953) and Marilyn Monroe’s white dress in The Seven Year Itch (1955), Cruise’s teardrop-shaped Aviators are an iconic symbol in film history.

Few sunglasses symbolize adventure, freedom and style just as much as Aviators, but they were originally built to protect pilots’ eyes from cold, wind and sun during a period when they wore leather helmets and goggles. As technology improved and planes flew higher, goggles were lined with fur to guard pilots’ eyes in the cold air at higher altitudes.

In 1920, an American Army pilot named Rudolph “Shorty” Schroeder set the record for flying an open cockpit biplane over an altitude in excess of 10,000m. Schroeder nearly died in the record­breaking flight after raising his goggles for a moment to search for his oxygen tank.

It was actually reported that in that altitude, moisture trapped between Schroeder’s goggles and his eyelids caused his eyeballs to freeze and that he subsequently lost charge of his plane. The aircraft dove 9,000m before he regained control, and when on the ground, Schroeder was helped from the cockpit by fellow pilot John Macready.

The shocking sight of Schroeder’s frozen eyes was said to be the catalyst for Macready to get started working with eyewear manufacturers Bausch & Lomb – parent company to what would later become ray bans online australia– to formulate eyewear that will protect pilots’ eyes at high altitudes.

In 1936, Macready assisted Bausch & Lomb to find a dark enough tint that might relieve eyestrain for pilots.

“My dad gave Bausch & Lomb the first shape, tint, and fit for Aviator lenses,” John Macready’s daughter, Sally Macready Wallace, told The Big Apple Times magazine.

When World War 2 broke out, metal-rimmed Aviator sunglasses – model number AN6531 – became standard issue for enlisted personnel in the US Army Air Corps and Navy, and General Douglas MacArthur was photographed landing with a beach in the Philippines putting them on.

The fashion first became favored by most people inside the 1940s. During the 50s and 60s, other eyewear models such as cat-eye and plastic-framed sunglasses grew in popularity, but fishermen and sportsmen remained faithful to Aviators for their anti-glare properties.

The next time Aviators had widespread popularity is in the 1970s. New tints and lighter frames were one of the developments that appealed to girls and increased the recognition in the model. During this period, feminist icon Gloria Steinem started wearing her signature Ray-Ban Aviators. Feminist fashion had been a fact, and suddenly Aviators experienced a new following.

“The style seems to provide a certain idea of the United States, in the ‘good old days.’ They bring to mind Top Gun or Steve McQueen and present a definite ruggedness on the wearer. They dexlpky73 simple and easy essential. That is why the Aviator shape is amongst the most iconic shapes for all time, and why it took over as the ultimate no-frills frame,” says Aroun Ducroux, founding father of designer eyewear brand LOTHO.

The design again lost several of its ­popularity in the 1980s until Michael ­Jackson wore Aviators for the Grammys in 1984 and Tom Cruise and other cast members wore them in Top Gun. (Cruise had sported Ray-Ban’s Wayfarers in his 1982 movie Risky Business included in an item placement take care of Ray-Ban.)

Michael Jackson, a perennial fan of the style, wore ray ban sale australia during his legendary Super Bowl show in 1993, and the stylish shades reappeared about the silver screen in 1998, now worn by Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Today, Aviators have fans around the world. The soon-to-be-80-year-old style is still perched on countless noses worldwide, and it also seems the timeless aviator­style sunglasses are here to stay.