American Psycho Glasses: A Look Back

Identifying the Sunglasses worn by Christian Bale in this portal of Patrick Bateman in the film American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho” is a 2000 psychological thriller film directed by Mary Harron and based on Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel of the same name. The story is set in the 1980s and follows Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker in New York City who also works as a serial killer. The film is significant for its commentary on 1980s excess and materialism, particularly in finance and business. Patrick Bateman’s character exemplifies the dark side of the American Dream and the obsession with wealth and status. The film also criticizes the shallowness and superficiality of Bateman’s upper-class society.

The film has become a cult classic and is notable for its stylized violence and dark humor, as well as for Christian Bale’s performance as Patrick Bateman, which has been widely praised. It has been the subject of much analysis and interpretation, with many critics seeing it as a critique of American culture and values. Today we’re going to look at the specific pair(s) of glasses worn by Bateman throughout the film, discover their brand, and discuss whether they’re still available to purchase.

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Patrick Bateman’s Fashion & Style

Set in the 1980s the film uses the fashion of the period to highlight and satirize Bateman’s obsession with materialism and the outward culture of wealth and status which was highly prominent at the time (with Wallstreet being a big culprit). Christian Bale’s portrayal of Bateman is notable for his meticulous attention to detail in his clothing, grooming, and accessories – including this famous pair of glasses. Bateman’s obsession with his appearance reflects his preoccupation with status and wealth, as he believes that how others perceive him is determined by his outward appearance.

Bale’s performance as Bateman is crucial to conveying the character’s obsession with fashion and appearance. which plays into his take persona as a secret serial killer. His meticulously crafted appearance reflects the shallow and image-obsessed personality of Bateman, and his attention to detail is evident in every scene. From the perfectly tailored suits to the slicked-back hair and impeccable grooming, Bale’s portrayal of Bateman is a masterclass in character acting.

The American Psycho Sunglasses

Christian Bale wears several different styles of sunglasses throughout the film “American Psycho,” each of which reflects a different aspect of his character’s personality and the era in which the film is set. In the film, Bale rocks 2 different pairs of glasses which we’ll discuss in turn below. 

The first pair of glasses Bale is seen wearing is a pair of round tortoiseshell glasses, a style that was also popular in the 1980s. These glasses have been identified to be a pair of Oliver Peoples O’Malley. The glasses reflect Bateman’s desire to fit in with his peers and conform to societal expectations, as they were a common choice for young, trendy men at the time. They are still available today and can be bought through Oliver Peoples’s official website starting at $400.00.

Oliver Peoples: O’Malley Eyeglasses (In Tortoiseshell)

By far the most famous sunglasses worn by Bale throughout the film are a pair of all-black Sunglasses. Seen at various points throughout the film and most famously turned into a meme from the scene Baleman’s talking on the phone. These sunglasses are a pair of Ray-Ban 2140 Original Wayfarer Sunglasses. Wayfarers, first developed by Ray-Ban, are probably the most famous sunglasses design ever made and are featured in many films including Risky Business (1984) and The Blues Brothers (1980).

Since the film is set in the 1980s the style of glasses through American Psycho is influenced by the fashion trends of that era. The 1980s saw a range of sunglasses and eyeglasses trends, with many styles reflecting the era’s emphasis on boldness, excess, and self-expression. These included now cult classic frames such as Wayfarer’s and Aviators which were both designed and produced by Ray-Ban. Other prominent brands of that era include Oakley, Revo, Carrera, and Persol to name just a few. 

ARay-Ban store in Paris, France.
The Popularity of Ray-Bans

The history of Ray-Ban dates back to the 1930s, when the US Army Air Corps approached Bausch & Lomb, a well-known optical company at the time, to create sunglasses that would reduce glare for pilots. The result was the first aviator sunglasses, which had a distinct teardrop shape and a metal frame.

In the 1940s, Ray-Ban introduced another iconic model, the Wayfarer, which had a plastic frame and a distinctive shape that became a symbol of rebellious youth culture in the 1950s and 1960s. From here, and with the success of other styles including Aviator and Clubman, Ray-Bans have cemented itself as the world’s most popular eyewear brand in the world.

In 1999, global company Luxottica purchased Ray-Ban for a staggering $640 million, adding to Luxottica’s already large portfolio of eyewear brands. The topic and impact of Luxottica on the eyewear industry are debated heavily. Although Luxottica has invested heavily in research and development and paved the way for advancements in eyewear technology, we strongly believe they are overall bad for the eyewear industry.

Luxottica’s dominance in the eyewear industry has resulted in a lack of competition and higher prices for consumers and poorer quality products. To add to this, Luxottica owns and operates all aspects of the supply chain resulting in conflicts of interest and anti-competitive practices. This all adds to a company that can force change and rules that have an immense impact on pricing and use its market power to squeeze out the competition (something that happened to Oakley before it was acquired by Luxottica).

Original (Black) Ray-Ban Wayfarers

Where to Buy Ray-Ban Wayfarers?

As one of the most popular styles of sunglasses in the world Wayfarers are available through a wide variety of different retailers and brands. The original Ray-Ban Wayfarers are still available to purchase through Ray-Ban on their official website, or local retailers, for around $150.00+. Due to the popularity of Wayfarers, many different brands also produce similar nearly identical styles at differing prices. Below are some Wayfarer alternatives for you to consider.

To add to this, you can even get yourself a pair of cheap Wayfarers for as low as $xxx. Brands such as ASOS and Shein sell Wayfarer-styled glasses for incredibly low prices. That being said, the quality of these glasses is sub-par and I can’t guarantee they’ll last for any prolonged amount of time. You also need to consider if cheap sunglasses have the proper UV Protection to actually sufficiently protect your eyes from the sun.

You can also look for vintage Wayfarer sunglasses on places like eBay and Etsy. When Luxottica took over Ray-Ban in 1999, the company significantly reduced the quality and durability of its frames. Because of this, vintage Ray-Bans before 1999 are oftentimes much better quality than what you can purchase brand new today.