What’s your stance on Gimmick Shades, made popular by Elton John and Bootsy Collins I say shades should subtly draw attention to the wearer, not scream Look at me, Ma! Did you ever look at a pair of Bootsy or Elton’s shades and think, I wish I had me a pair of them. Pince Nez me if you must: although Elton’s glasses occasionally had a tint to them, it could be argued that they were specs more than shades.
Then there are Legacy Shades, such as those worn by The Jesus and Mary Chain? Obviously, they wear their shades in honor of the shades-wearing members of the VU. In a world that is cool with Legacy Leather, Legacy Guitars, and Legacy Facial Hair, who am I to complain? However, does the coolness of any style of shades ever really carry over to a new generation, or is it a one-and-done fashion proposition? Although it used to give me some warm and fuzzies, how much visceral cool was lost in Kurt Cobain’s occasional nods to the Brian Jones Ladies Shades? I sense that there’s a lesson for us to uncover that goes something like this: Each generation needs to find its own cool shades.
There is, however, a very fine line between Legacy Shades, which can be endearing, and the horrendous Second-Generation Legacy Shades worn by anyone trying to pay homage to The Blues Brothers. (We won’t get near the horrors of Jim Belushi/John Goodman-era Blues Brothers.) Are the shades worn by modern-day ska musicians of the Legacy or second-generation Legacy variety?