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What Are Sleazy Sunglasses, Exactly?
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What Are Sleazy Sunglasses, Exactly?


Vogue’s website ran a story in late October 2019 featuring celebrity actress Jennifer Aniston. The discussion was all about how Aniston was able to make ‘sleazy’ sunglasses look chic. It’s hard to disagree with the premise that Aniston makes anything she wears look good. But really, what are sleazy sunglasses?

Olympic Eyewear, a company in Salt Lake City, Utah that designs and distributes dozens of fashion eyewear brands, explains that the term is not something the industry normally uses. Rather, it is one the fashion industry uses from time to time. The problem is that the term has no working definition.

To figure out how ‘sleazy’ applies to Aniston’s sunglasses, we look to the Vogue article itself. It gives us some clues, beginning with an inference to Miami nightclubs and the men who frequent them.

The Miami Nightclub Bro

What is the first image that comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘Miami nightclub bro’? Your brain might conjure up a dark-haired man wearing a brightly colored suit with wide lapels, a collared shirt with the last few buttons unbuttoned, and plenty of bling. What would his shades look like?

Perhaps your Miami nightclub bro would be wearing aviators with silver rims and colored lenses. On the other hand, your bro might be a wayfarer kind of guy. Or maybe it’s something completely different. Perhaps you envision round sunglasses with tiny frames. As such, we have to move on to other descriptors.

Frame Size

The Vogue article implies that frame size has something to do with the sleazy designation. Apparently, larger frames are more sleazy than smaller ones. It isn’t clear why. However, there’s also an inference to styles from the 1970s. Perhaps it’s an American Gigolo sort of thing.

Maybe the issue of frame size has more to do with recent styles. For example, it’s not unusual for smaller frames to be linked to style and sophistication. If a classy and sophisticated tech entrepreneur wears smaller shades, perhaps his audacious and bawdy counterpart would go large. It’s as good a guess as any.

Lens Color

Next up is lens color. Vogue seems to imply that truly sleazy sunglasses feature lenses in bright, gauche colors. But what is a bright and gauche color? Well, the sunglasses Aniston is wearing in the photographs accompanying the article have pinkish-orange lenses. They are bright, no doubt.

We are guessing anything in the 1960s flower power spectrum would be considered bright and gauche. Likewise, colors from the 1980s powder palette would probably be equally gauche albeit not as bright. How gauche a particular color looks would also depend on the frames. Bright orange lenses in a silver frame would look terrible.

Sleazy is in the Eye of the Beholder

Try as you might, you will not find an absolute definition of sleazy sunglasses in the Vogue piece. Perhaps that’s by design. If one really cannot define what sleazy looks like, there is always the defense that sleazy is in the eye of the beholder. What looks sleazy to you might be classy to someone else.

By the way, this is the big dichotomy in fashion. There really is no right or wrong in the fashion world. People are as different in their fashion perceptions as they are their preferences in anything else. One person likes rock ‘n roll while the other loves jazz. One person cannot get enough of Asian cuisine while another thrives on Mediterranean. One person thinks Tony Manero is the epitome of sleaze while another considers him a saint.

And now you know. There really is no definition of sleazy sunglasses.

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