Like It or Not, Wrap Shades Are Back

They say time is a flat circle, that we’re on a continuous trend cycle that loops back on itself every 20 years. Don’t you remember our overt obsession with the 80s circa the 2000s? We were headed into the new millennium, adorned with scrunchies, leggings, and Ghostbusters nostalgia. When it comes to the return of Y2K (now that 20 years have [somehow] passed), we had a feeling the low-rise jeans, velour tracksuits, and logo-mania would return, but there’s one essential look of the late 90s and early aughts whose comeback has taken us a bit by surprise—wraparound shades. 

That’s right, folks—the wraparound sunglasses from our childhood are back, and they’re better than ever. This probably seems inevitable, considering we’ve gone through quite the sunglasses evolution—from the sporty hi-vis styles that dominated the late 80s and early 90s (shout out to Andre Agassi), to the tiny, futuristic versions made popular by movies like The Matrix. It was only a matter of time before we left the minimalism of the late 90s behind and headed back into the mid-2000s’ affinity for… well, giant, reflective, colorful shades that are a little bit Y2K cyberpunk, and a little bit NASCAR.

Maybe the original catalyst for all this was at the turn of the century, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Sprinter Ato Boldon debuted arguably the wildest Oakley sunglasses anyone had ever seen—the Over The Top model (which Oakley re-released in conjunction with the “Concept Studio” collection released for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In style circles, this renaissance is likely in no small part to a resurgence in new millennium nostalgia). While these shades did serve as a forerunner (at least in the public consciousness) for a slew of sporty, modern, futuristic wraparound sunglasses that would inevitably hit the market, the trend slowly fizzled out as we ventured further into the 2000s and 2010s.

Now, thanks to an absurd amount of early 2000s nostalgia and the Kardashians (gotta give credit where credit is due), this massive, sport-meets-style sunglasses trend (which The New York Times refers to as “gas station sunglasses”) is once again ripping. This is good news for you because while you could spring for a designer pair of Bottega sunnies, you can also snag a pair on Amazon that aligns with the trend and sells for around 20 bucks (and no one will be the wiser). Heck, go wild and get a whole arsenal: a reflective pair for working out outside, tiny metal frames for dressing up, and giant “hater blocker” shades for those Sunday morning hangovers. (Pro tip: Big wraparound sunglasses are excellent for crying in public.) Read on for the best wrap sunglasses.

The OG Oakleys 

If you're looking to go big or go home, Oakley is your best bet. The de facto originator of the wraparound, sporty sunglasses trend (at least if your favorite Instagram zoodboards have anything to say about it), Oakley isn’t afraid to push the limits in terms of giant lenses. Whether you’re looking for a massive super-reflective pair for skiing and other outdoor activities or the timeless and understated Eye Jacket Redux for everyday wear, Oakley has pretty much every size, shape, and color imaginable—here are a few of our faves. 

The ones Kylie and Timmy have

If you really want to up your couples costume this year, go as Timmy and Kylie canoodling at the US Open, rocking the actual shades that our next Willy Wonka and billionaire lip-kit creator own. While Kylie’s super-slick Bottega pair will set you back a cool $700, Timothée’s Celine sunnies are a still-pricey-but-more-attainable $440 in comparison. 

The sporty ones

Because you’re tired of fighting over available pickleball tennis courts, and you want to show people that you mean business.

In addition to a comfy, adjustable rubber nose pad, Alo’s Speed sunglasses feature high-gloss wraparound nylon lenses, UVA and UVB protection, an anti-fog treatment (so your sweat won’t stop you from making that match point), and a scratch-resistant exterior.

The Nike Show X3s feel simultaneously vintage and futuristic and were designed with elite athletes in mind. The super-lightweight frames offer superior clarity, and anti-fogging ventilation so nothing stands in your way of shattering your PB.

These X LOOP polarized shades give us massive dirtbike energy. Does anyone else remember that Disney Channel D-Com original Motocrossed? With over 30 reflective colors to choose from, these are the perfect shades for wearing on the back of your head. 

So you want to be a video vixen? Cop a pair of these Crazy Feng rimless sunglasses from Amazon if you want to exude hot, hip-hop baddie energy. 

The cheap ones

So you want to dabble in the vibe, but you’re not ready to commit wholeheartedly to this trend? That’s cool, because there are a ton of really inexpensive wraparound sunglasses on sites like ASOS and Amazon you can cop and try on for the vibe before you sink any real money into buying something super pricey.

The Balenciaga baddies

Balenciaga has been at the forefront of fashion (like it or not!) since creative director Demna Gvasalia took the reins, gaining traction from the number of celebs spotted in the brand’s wraparound sunglasses, and there seem to be no signs of slowing down—with new iterations getting even wavier and more far-fetched.  

Chic, yet affordable, Chimi sunglasses

Not willing to spend half your paycheck on some sunnies, but still want a quality pair that won’t snap after a week? Chimi makes high-quality shades, all of which are under $200.

Le Specs goes Y2K

Another one of our favorite affordable sunglasses brands is Le Specs. The Australian brand has been making shades since the late 70s, and even though all of their styles are less than $100, we’ve yet to have a pair break on us. 

They don’t call them hater blockers for no reason.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.


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