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6 Terrible 2000s Sunglass Trends We All Loved

Dec. 06, 2023
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As with any decade, the 2000s had some pretty unfortunate fashion missteps. And because those were the years where accessories were everything (Remember all those fringe belts, bandanas, and bedazzled anything we could get our hands on?), there were some pretty terrible 2000s sunglass trends. But of course that's just hindsight. At the time, we loved them all, and rocked them with pride. Because when you have blue and purple ombre shades with a rhinestone star on the bottom corner of one of the lenses, you show that sh*t off.

Sure, maybe 10 years from now someone will be writing an article about all of the ridiculous shades we've let sit on our noses during the 2010s, but it can be hard to realize in the present just how questionable some of our fashion trends are. Which is why we all get a pass for thinking all of the sunglasses from the 2000s were so bomb, when clearly, at least some of them were pretty head-scratch worthy. So let's take a little walk down memory lane and check out six sunglass trends of the early 2000s that were so terrible, that they were awesome. And don't tell me you didn't have at least one of these pairs.

1. Colored Lenses

Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Any lens color besides traditional neutrals were on point. Green, yellow, even literal rose-colored glasses fit the trend. But I think everyone who was into colored lenses in the 2000s had a soft spot for blue. Oh, and of course this meant the color of your shades had to be perfectly matched to your outfit. Duh.

2. Bedazzled Lenses and Frames

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These aviators were basically the dream. Sunset lenses with a rhinestone heart? I think the tween section of my heart just skipped a beat.

3. Super Tiny Lenses

HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images

Whether they were Ozzy-style or looked like you were balancing a pen across your nose, there was something about those barely-there sunnies that were still going strong in the early 2000s.

4. Bug-Eye Lenses

Al Bello/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Of course, on the flip-side of that, were the oh-so-trendy bug-eye glasses. Not gonna lie, this style will always have a place in my heart.

5. Chunky White Frames

SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images

If you did have traditional, black lenses instead of a color of the rainbow for your sunnies though (OK, OK even sometimes in this case too), you best believe they were encased in some thick, white frames.

6. Square & Frameless

James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images

Probably the least-offensive of the bunch, the only reason this trend made the list is because we couldn't ever just let this style happen naturally. This was the style where the lenses had some intense ombre coloring (like black to clear), or were bordered with rhinestones in lieu of a frame. On the rare occasion that we really did just have some regular, stand-the-test-of-time, square and frameless sunnies, we paired them with something like a head-to-toe velour track suit or a denim fringe on denim fringe type of ensemble. Oh, and on guys, they were always paired with spiky hair and/or frosted tips. It's all in the associations, people.

But at least we can rest easy for the time being. These trends shouldn't come back around for another decade. *Crosses fingers*

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The aughts were a bold time for eyewear. Stars were running around Hollywood in huge bug-eyed shades (very Paris Hilton) and clear, tinted square frames (very Eve), and I simply had to try them all. As a teen, I was completely obsessed with big, wraparound shield frames. (You could hide half of your face behind them—a shy teen’s dream!) I taped a 2006 Dior sunglasses ad starring Kate Moss, in which she wears huge black shield sunnies, onto my bedroom wall for inspiration. Britney Spears also rocked a pair of Dolce & Gabbana shades, and I’ve been on the hunt for them ever since.

This may seem like I’m reminiscing on a bygone fashion fad, but shield sunglasses are having a moment right now, in line with the fashion world’s hunger for Y2K trends in general. The decade’s miniskirts, low-rise jeans, and Juicy Couture tracksuits have all experienced a comeback, thanks to stars like Rihanna, Dua Lipa, and Kendall Jenner sporting them. But it’s the sunglasses revival in particular that has piqued my interest: Dua has worn big brown shield sunglasses, Jenner a metallic blue style, and Kim Kardashian has been wearing Balenciaga’s large, Batgirl-esque sunglasses with virtually every look. Labels like Blumarine have also brought them back on the runway, styled with floral dresses. It’s official: After a few seasons of micro Matrix shades, we’re making a full return to gargantuan 2000s eyewear.

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The accessory’s comeback has me feeling nostalgic in a good way—like I can channel my 16-year-old self again—but I would argue it’s actually the perfect piece to dip your toe back into the current Y2K craze. Paired with a simple white tank and jeans, it easily conveys the vibe of early-aughts style without having to commit to an entirely new wardrobe. Also sunglasses are something you can afford to go a little kitschy with—they’re meant to be fun and whimsical, so why not go retro? Luckily, the market also has a variety of styles to choose from right now, whether you want a discreet shield shade or a bold colored-lens style. Pairing them with a Motorola Razr phone or a bedazzled trucker hat, however? Not required.

Below, shop 12 shield shades now. 

6 Terrible 2000s Sunglass Trends We All Loved

Now's the Time to Bust Out Your 2000s Shield Shades

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