Joe Biden’s sunglasses: A Look at the History of Aviators
President Joe Biden has a long history with aviator sunglasses. He’s been wearing the snazzy sunglasses since he was a teenage lifeguard. They’ve become his signature accessory.
And aviator sunglasses themselves have an even longer history that dates back to the 1920s. We’ll look at Joe Biden’s aviators and the history of these iconic sunglasses. We’ll also find out which celebs wear aviators as a style statement today.
What are aviator sunglasses?
The history of aviator sunglasses goes back to the days when pilots had to wear special goggles to keep their eyes from freezing at very high altitudes. They also needed protection from the glare at 30,000-plus feet in the air.
A pilot worked with Bausch and Lomb to create eyewear that would protect pilots’ eyes from both the cold and the UV rays. By the 1930s, Ray-Ban was selling sunglasses in the shape of those original aviator goggles.
So, what are aviators? Aviator sunglasses usually have:
A wire frame that may be black, gold, silver, gunmetal or other color.
A teardrop-shaped lens that originally gave pilots a large field of vision to view their instruments.
A brow bar across the top of the frames to make them more durable.
Nose pads that help the glasses sit securely on the face.
As you can see, aviator sunglasses combine practicality and style. Because of their association with pilots, they suggest authority and confidence. That makes these sunglasses a smart fashion choice for the President of the United States.
Joe Biden's sunglasses in the news
When President Biden speaks or attends an event outside, you may glimpse his famous Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses. For example, Joe Biden’s sunglasses made an appearance recently at an outdoor press conference where the POTUS (President of the United States) announced new outdoor masking guidelines for Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Biden walked out of the White House wearing a navy suit, magenta tie, black mask and aviators with black wire frames and black lenses. He removed his sunglasses during the press conference and then put them back on at the end. “It’s joyful to see @JoeBiden in his aviators!” one Biden fan tweeted after the press conference.
Joe Biden selfie in an elevator
There are plenty of famous Joe Biden moments that don’t involve sunglasses. One big one that stands out: the Joe Biden elevator selfie.
What is the Joe Biden elevator selfie? Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden was on his way to meet with the New York Times editorial board in January of 2020 to try to get their endorsement when he met an elevator operator named Jacquelyn. She told Biden: “I love you. You’re like my favorite.” Biden then posed for a selfie with her in her elevator.
Biden didn’t get the New York Times endorsement, but he later tweeted out a video clip of the moment, writing: “Honored to have won Jacquelyn’s endorsement.”
Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses for men and women
How did Ray-Bans get popular? There’s no doubt that introducing the iconic aviator sunglasses helped make the brand a household name.
Ray-Ban now makes an array of aviator sunglasses in different styles with a variety of frame and lens color choices. Popular styles of Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses for men and women include:
Ray-Ban Aviator Classic – This style comes in 14 colors, including gunmetal frames with green lenses, gold frames with violet lenses and silver frames with gray mirror lenses.
Ray-Ban Aviator Titanium – These Ray-Ban Aviators have durable titanium frames and are available in two colors: gold frames with green lenses and silver frames with blue mirror lenses. They come standard with polarized lenses.
Ray-Ban Aviator with Flash Lenses – This style of Ray-Ban Aviators will help you stand out in a crowd. Flash lenses have a half-mirror coating that’s available in a variety of eye-catching colors, including blue, green, orange and yellow.
You can find a pair of Ray-Ban Aviators to suit your style, whether you prefer an understated look or you want to make a bold statement. If you want President Biden’s Ray-Bans, choose the Aviator Classic with gold frames and black classic lenses or the Aviator Total Black, which has black frames and polarized black lenses.
Joe Biden on Twitter and Instagram
President Biden typically tweets inspirational messages, updates about the coronavirus pandemic, comments about current events and photos of himself and First Lady Jill Biden at official events.
Inauguration Day 2021 was the last time Biden’s aviators made an appearance on the Joe Biden Twitter account. On January 20, Biden tweeted a photo of himself in his signature Ray-Ban Aviators with gold wire frames and black lenses. He was wearing a blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, smiling and waving against the backdrop of a cloudless sky. He wrote: “Now the real work begins, folks. Follow along at @POTUS as we build back better.”
Biden’s aviators have been part of his social media presence since his vice-presidential days. In fact, his first-ever Instagram post featured a close-up photo of his gold-frame Ray-Ban aviators sitting on his desk with a blurry then-Vice-President Biden visible in the background. At the time, Politico wrote an article headlined: “Biden aviators star in Instagram pic.”
Who can wear aviator sunglasses?
Inspired by President Biden and want aviators of your own? The nice thing about aviator sunglasses is their universal appeal. Aviators are a classic unisex style — equally at home on the POTUS as on Hollywood celebs, your next-door neighbor or you.
If you're wondering, “What kind of Ray-Bans do celebrities wear?” The answer is often aviators — whether they’re at work on a movie or TV series or just out shopping or grabbing a coffee. Tom Cruise as Maverick in “Top Gun” may be the classic celebrity in aviators.
And female celebs love aviators too: Kendall Jenner has been spotted in gold-framed aviators with green mirrored lenses. Jennifer Anniston has been seen in gold-framed aviators with smoky colored lenses. Kate Hudson, Selena Gomez and Victoria Beckham are other celebs who’ve completed their look with aviators.
Aviator sunglasses are not just stylish: They’re comfortable, practical and offer good coverage to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays.
READ NEXT: How should your Aviator sunglasses fit?
Joe Biden’s aviators have an almost 60-year history — and a little bit of baggage. Vanity Fair. August 2020.
Who made those aviator sunglasses? The New York Times. August 2012.
Expedited evaluation of the US Air Force Type HGU-4/P sunglasses. U.S. Army Aviation Board. October 1976.
President Biden remarks on COVID-19 pandemic response. C-SPAN. April 2021.
Rajani Menon tweet. Twitter. April 2021.
Biden goes viral with elevator selfie. The Hill. January 2020.
Aviator sunglasses. Ray-Ban. Accessed May 2021.
Joe Biden Twitter account. Twitter. Accessed April 2021.
Biden aviators star in Instagram pic. Politico. April 2014.
Celebrities who love aviators. GotShades? January 2017.
Page published in May 2021
Page updated in March 2022