A side from his incredible acting talent, Hollywood legend Paul Newman was well known for his unique taste in eyewear. Search for “Paul Newman sunglasses” and you’ll be treated to image after image of the famous actor wearing large aviator frames with everything from formal wear to his racing jump suit. Much as Steve McQueen did with the Persol 714s, Newman made oversized aviators iconic accessories every man should consider trying.
Again much like McQueen and the Persol 714s, the sunglass brand most often associated with Newman is Carrera, specifically their Champion model. The only problem is the sunglasses in those photos above are not Carrera Champions. That model was introduced into the brand’s line-up in 2008, about 45 years after Newman was wearing his shades at the March on Washington in 1963. And although the retro styling of the Champions is similar to what Newman wore, there are some distinct differences.
In fact I haven’t seen the make and model of the sunglasses Newman actually wore identified anywhere with 100% certainty. They could definitely be an earlier Carrera model. The brand was founded by Wilhelm Anger in 1956 in Austria. So it’s certainly old enough. And Newman’s sunglasses do bear a strong resemblance to some of Carrera’s early designs, like the 5524s from the 1970s. But I still haven’t been able to find an exact match after searching through various vintage sunglass websites. If you want to go on the hunt yourself, the best photos showing the sunglasses from a variety of angles are probably of Newman at the 1979 Le Mans race.
Whatever the brand, there’s no denying they’re a very cool pair of shades. Does it require a bit of attitude to successfully pull off the look? Absolutely. But that’s just another element of personal style Newman can inspire us to develop for ourselves!
Newman wore this sunglass style many times over the years. In the most famous photos they have a dark tortoise frame. But we can also see him wearing them in black and, earlier in his career, a honey-toned brown. The frames also have two unique features that makes it difficult to find an exact match for them. First is the bridge, which is solid and quite large. Second are the end pieces, which extend out from the sides of the frame and include two metal rivets. Most plastic frame aviators on the market today don’t have that feature.
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