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The Quest For The Perfect Pair Of Aviators


Aviator sunglasses are like leather jackets. They make you look cool, but only if you're already cool enough to pull them off. I have a tough time with both—I feel like a stock photo of a hip baby. You can't wear a leather jacket unless you mean it, and you can't wear an aviator without conviction. Which brings us to today's topic.

About a year ago, a collaboration was struck up between two of the things I love most in the world: Into The Gloss (where I regularly flood your screen with posts) and Warby Parker (where I work every day, at a cute desk next to a potted tropical tree). "Let's do a collaboration!" I said to Emily and Nick. "Yes!" said Emily and Nick. There began the process of assembling inspiration, designing frames, producing technical drawings, prototyping, embossing lens cloths, tweaking packaging, and reviewing samples. (This is how your glasses are made, FYI.) The result: two pairs of beautiful frames. One pair of aviator sunglasses and one pair of optical frames, built to ITG's exacting specifications.

Why did we collaborate? First, for fun. Second, because history has taught us that combining two good things into one can have pleasing results—for example, toast with cinnamon AND sugar, or drinks with gin AND champagne or flags with stripes AND stars (USA! USA!).

In Emily’s case, the goal was to create the ideal pair of aviator sunglasses. This is not easy, but at least it's straightforward: the frame must be tear-droppy but not tear-droopy; the top bar must be proportionate with the bridge; the material should be titanium. The scale of the lenses should be appropriate, striking an Emmanuelle Alt vibe rather than an Unabomber police sketch vibe.

Nick brought a trickier idea to the table: he wanted to create the ideal pair of optical aviators. Specifically, a pair that was elegant and wearable—vintage-y without being costume-y. Something that would look great on both a cool old man AND an Olsen twin. Not, to address the elephant in the room, Terry Richardson or Dov Charney aviators. As design challenges go, this is the equivalent of a Saturday crossword puzzle. (“Ambitious,” we’ll call it.)

That’s the short story about why it took a whole year to produce these specimens. The longer story is that we spent a lot of time on the details, right down to the little insert card and custom pouch that comes with each pair. When the frames were finished and Emily and Nick each tried on their signature pair, there was almost an audible “click."

As for me, well. I stopped by the ITG office to get Emily’s verdict on whether I could pull off the glasses or not. (She is very honest.)

I put on the sunglasses. Emily turned her head 25º to one side. “Zhush up your hair,” she said. “Fluff out your shirt a little. It looks uncomfortably tight where you’ve tucked it in.” I did both and stood against a wall, where Emily took pictures.

“Now put on the optical frames,” she directed.

“I’m afraid that I will look like a pervert in these glasses,” I admitted, putting them on.

“Then maybe don’t lick your lips like that while you’re wearing them,” Emily said. “Hold on, I’ll get you some lip balm.”

Snap snap snap. “These make your eyes look huge,” Emily said.

“Do I look creepy?”

“No. You look like a hot babysitter.”

A thrilled shiver traveled up my spine. A hot babysitter is exactly what I want to look like in summer: friendly but not fussy, with a face that says, “I am responsible for the welfare of small children,” and a booty that says, “I like long walks on the beach—and beer!”

Next stop: leather jackets.

—Molly Young

Molly Young photographed by Emily Weiss on June 22, 2014 in New York. Shop the collection here.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • kt mo

    Your jeans though...that is the perfect fit and wash and amount of wear. They really go with the optical aviators.

    • magicmollys


    • francesca

      i have to agree about the jeans. can i ask what brand? they look like they are the perfect high waist!

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    I loved this, Molly. It was a great little look into the conception of two beautiful glasses frames. By the way, you look wonderful in both pairs.

    I have to say that Nick did a pretty amazing thing making optical aviators that do not emit creepiness and felony the way the style almost always does.

    Well done, #WarbyxITG!

  • Chloe

    Wish I could look like a hot babysitter! Devastated that these don't ship to my country

  • JY

    Molly, your hair looks so good that I need to comment. What products are you using?

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      So nourished and shiny!

  • CK Burner

    Oooh, they're already sold out in silver :( That's a mild to moderate bummer. I'm hoping the gold ones don't sell out before payday but if they do, I guess that'll be the universe saying that I wasn't meant to have them. And anyhow, if Ray Bans are good enough for Angelina Jolie then I suppose they're good enough for me. Although you could make the argument that Angie Jo would still be exquisite with any sunglasses and that it's me who needs to be elevated by the more attractive pair... but anyway, fingers crossed :)

    • JY

      Good luck!

      • CK Burner

        Thank you! :)

    • http://www.intothegloss.com ITGFerber

      Hey there! If you're looking for silver, make sure to call WP customer service at 1-888-492-7297 to place a phone order!

      • CK Burner

        Oh yay! Thank you!! I will try this for sure :-)

  • Bella

    Wonderfully written article, I had to read paragraphs twice just for another guffaw! Nice glasses too ;).

  • http://instagram.com/_ninarupp Nina Rupp

    Molly, you are hands down one of my absolute favorite writers on this website. ITG, take note - please let Molly write about anything and everything, she's such a gem!

  • kathS

    molls - shade on your eyes?

  • francine

    I'm tempted to get the optical ones... but I am unsure of their perviness or if they are too much 'look at my glasses'. I'd love to see them on more faces, and more head on, unobstructed shots.

    • magicmollys

      Do you by any chance live near a location? If so, come try them on!! ((LA, Oklahoma city, Dallas, Nashville, Miami, Philly, Boston, NYC, Chicago)

      And if not, you can always order and then return if you aren't strongly feeling them? (it is free to return) The optical frames are pretty small-scale and delicate.

    • ITGNick

      They're awesome! Check Leandra Medine's instagram, and the hashtag #WarbyXITG for more shots of people in the optical and sun. Do it!

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        They look so amazing on Leandra.

  • Jennifer Blakney

    It seems that the checkout doesn't offer shipment to Canada - say it ain't so! Am I doomed to just admiring the gold pair from afar forever?

    • magicmollys

      Looking into it!

  • Alice

    I love you for that. So much. They are just the best and still a classic for a reason. And you're totally pulling the glasses off with all the coolness.

  • Alice

    Though still the best pair of aviators I got was for $10 at Ricky's (I still kick myself for leaving them on the LIRR).

  • Holly

    I love Molly Young!

  • Alexis Cheung

    MY + WP + ITG: the ultimate trifecta !

  • Grace

    where is your bracelet from (your right wrist)?? I love it!

    • magicmollys

      Delfina Delettrez :)

  • KP

    can I ask where you got the top? so cute!

  • easy_e

    where are your perfect high rise jeans from plzzzz

  • Olivia Dello Buono

    On a side note: where is your top from? I've been on the hunt for some well-fitting basics.

  • Tracy

    Girl, you funny

  • Jess

    Good Lord that was funny. Hot babysitter!!!

  • Emily Marie Ancona

    Your blog is amaze balls and your style is great!

  • Hollo

    No international shipping? Booo

  • http://www.naplessunglasses.com Brian Schoedel

    Way to take on the impossibly hard task to re-invent Classic Aviator Sunglasses. They always look great on oval face shapes & I really like your details that make them unique (to get that hot babysitter look).