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Want to look glam, go incognito or just plain save your eyes from wrinkle-inducing squints? What you need is a pair of sunglasses.

Luckily, you live in the world HQ of fashion-forward tinted eyewear.

For nearly four decades, Los Angeles has been a leader in hip sunglasses design. In fact, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to great frames. Here’s a look back at classic styles that SoCal has put on the map, from brands that are just as relevant today as when they debuted.


In 1979, two high school friends from Huntington Beach opened a storefront on Melrose and captured the zeitgeist with their punk rock-inflected frames and black-and-white celebrity portrait ads. Today, they’re still making arty frames--and attracting around-the-block lines at their annual fall weekend sale, which slashes prices by up to 80 percent.

7407 Melrose Ave.; 323-653-8255 or

1980s: Oliver Peoples

In 1987, Oliver Peoples opened up shop in Los Angeles and became known for its menswear-styled sunglasses. The definitive ’80s lens showed up on the face of the era’s stylish antihero, Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Today the lenses grace more, um, sympathetic faces, like Zooey Deschanel’s.

8642 Sunset Blvd.; 310-657-2553 or

Lionel Deluy

1990s: Dita

In 1995, two childhood friends opened Dita, a line of vintage-inspired sunglasses designed in L.A. but handmade in Japan. Named for performer Dita Von Teese, the brand is known for using fancy materials like titanium, 18-karat gold, white gold and high-quality acetates. Most recently, its frames were worn by Caitlyn Jenner.

7625 Melrose Ave.; 323-658-7078 or

2000s: Salt Optics

Want something really elegant (but not at all stuffy) and über-flattering, to boot? Get a pair of SALT Optics frames. The Newport Beach-based company was founded in 2006 by eyewear execs who used high-tech lens technology to improve clarity. But you?ll pay for the pristine view--the pair Cindy Crawford wore when hanging with the Clooneys, for example, retails for $415.

Available at Gogosha Optique, 8238 Third St.; 323-655-1122 or

2000s: Knockaround

Behold, the no-fault sunglasses: Knockaround. In 2005, a San Diego art student debuted glasses that were as inexpensive as drugstore brands but way cuter, with reflective lenses (including polarized) coated in candy colors, bright plastic frames and simple, flattering shapes. We recommend buying a few pairs to keep on hand for out-of-towners who aren’t ready for our intense SoCal rays.

2010s: Freeway

In 2010, artist Alex Israel debuted a line of $100 sunglasses called Freeway. Each unisex frame is named after a major thoroughfare. Angular Freeway 15 style, Jessica Biel’s favorite, is a baller look; the curvy Freeway 405 is worthy of a Malibu starlet.

Available at Barneys Co-op, 189 The Grove Dr.; 323-761-5255 or

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