Bob Dylan’s Sunglasses

I’ve been posting so much on cycling lately that I think I need a music post.  This qualifies, I guess.

This is something that has been on my mind for years and years.  I’ve often heard it said that some of the popularity of Ray Ban’s Wayfarer sunglasses is attributable to Bob Dylan wearing them during his disheveled Rimbaud phase.  I must admit, I love the sunglassed Dylan is wearing in the photos below, but they are not your ordinary Wayfarers.  At least I’ve never come across a pair that is quite like them.  Yes, I’ve probably spent too much time and thought on this unimportant little quandary, but I must get to the bottom of it—I must!

Take a close look at the frames in the photos below—and then read on.

Bob Dylan in his "supposed" Ray Ban Wayfarers. You decide.

You can see in the photo on the left that the metal hinges—or maybe they’re just decorative—that stick through to the front of the frame are vertical. On all the models of Wayfarers I’ve seen, these are horizontal. More importantly, look at the shape of the frames themselves. Much more “cat-eyed” and angular than the Wayfarers that, say, the Blues Brothers wore or that are all the rage lately.

Even Hollywood couldn’t nail it.  Look at Cate Blanchet’s sunglasses in the movie I’m Not There.  These are the modern-day version of Wayfarers with the horizontal hinge and the relatively rounder corners.  With all the stylists on the set of this movie, either they overlooked or dismissed this detail, or they couldn’t find a pair like Dylan’s.

Cate as Bob. Bob as Bob. She is truly his doppelganger

Cate as Bob. Bob as Bob. She is truly his doppelganger

Cate looking oh so Dylanesque

Cate looking oh so Dylanesque

I have looked and looked but have never seen another pair quite like Bob’s. I recently emailed Ray Ban inquiring about this and will post their response if I hear back. These are neither “Wayfarer Originals” or “Wayfarer IIs.” They are something else—maybe not even Ray Bans! Whatever I find out, it once again illustrates what a singular, innovator Dylan was, not only with his music, but also in his personal style.

If you, dear read, know anything about Bob Dylan’s sunglasses, please, please leave a comment here.  And thank you!


11 thoughts on “Bob Dylan’s Sunglasses

  1. You would be surprised how many people are trying to track down these mysterious shades. I personally have researched these glasses for over 15 years (much more difficult before the spread of the internet) & feel I have just recently solved the puzzle. I’m hesitant to post the make/model for fear that those still available for purchase will see a 2000% price increase! If you are still interested, email me for more info. Cheers!

      • If I knew, I would gladly share! I’ve had many theories posed as to the make/model of the glasses, but every time I look into it, they are close but not exact. The best theory I’ve heard is that RayBan changed styles quite frequently and the style Bob wore may have been very short lived and so finding info–or an actual pair–is that much more difficult. Sorry I couldn’t offer more, but that’s all I know! Good luck and please share if you find out. I have a lot of queries about this post. RV

      • It’s been a long time since I’ve posted in this blog–or received any questions about Dylan’s sunglasses. Regarding the latter, it is still a mystery. No one–to my knowledge–has successfully ID’ed the brand/model of sunglasses. Sorry, this may be a mystery for the ages. Bob, if you’re out there reading this and remember what they were, please let us know!

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