Cool Shades

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No matter the time, place, or problem, sunglasses are always the answer.[1]

Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it.

Wearing dark glasses or mirrorshades is long-standing visual shorthand for Badassitude. The act of putting them on means that it's time to kick ass, take names or do both. The act of taking them off is a sign that somebody's about to get scrutinised by the badass, usually just prior to an asskicking.

Obligatory for a Cyberpunk setting, or for intimidating Deep South Lawmen. A nice accessory to a Badass Longcoat.

The opposite of Nerd Glasses, and the inverse of The Glasses Come Off.

Overlaps, but is not identical to, Scary Shiny Glasses. If the effect is to make the wearer look sinister rather than badass, this is Sinister Shades. If you're Making a Spectacle of Yourself, the effect is to make you look just plain weird. But remember, sometimes the Goggles Do Nothing.

Aside from making them look Badass the reason behind them wearing shades is so they don't show that their eyes flinch when firing a weapon or having massive swords flung at their face. So when a character isn't wearing any shades and running around firing automatic weapons and manages to show no discomfort you know they're truly Badass.

Another reason being that most people commonly have visual cues they give with their eyes subconsciously. Something a properly trained (or badass) opponent might pick up on. If they can't see your eyes, obviously they won't see you look at the gun before you leap into a roll for it, or look at the guy in the corner right before shooting him and making a break for it.

For some specific variants, see Triangle Shades and Lennon Specs.

Examples of Cool Shades include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Chester Cheetah from the Cheetos commercials wear those.

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Kamina of Gurren Lagann is constantly wearing cool shades (which stay on without any visible means of attachment and he wore despite living underground never seeing the sun for most of his life), and after he hijacks his own Humongous Mecha, Gurren, he melts down the pair of swords it had on it to give the mech a pair of shades too. Later on, those same shades (combined with the mecha's wings) are used to hold the enemy down for a final blow. Then the shades reattach themselves. Rule of Cool indeed. This isn't even going into the far more ridiculous and over-the-top sunglasses that appear later on. These shades have undergone Memetic Mutation, instantly rendering any character they are shopped onto incredibly manly.
  • Bleach: Seems to be a requirement for members of the 7th Division given former-captain Aikawa Love, former-lieutenant Kotsubaki Jin'emon and incumbent lieutenant Iba Tetsuzaemon all wear/wore badass shades. Renji's predecessor in the 6th Division Ginjirō Shirogane left to open a sunglasses shop called the Silver Dragonfly which Renji himself frequently buys from. (In keeping with his Butt Monkey status, Renji's badass shades invariably get destroyed in battle shortly after he buys a new pair. No one else seems to suffer this fate.)
  • Adam Blade from NEEDLESS wears shades as well, and it makes him look mighty badass.
  • Sanson from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water has some pretty damn Cool Shades. They have a similar shape to Kamina's without being as over the top, and the generally extremely similar personality of the two characters suggests that the Gurren Lagann team were a little inspired by Gainax's earlier figure of goofball manliness.
    • While not quite as cool, his partner in crime Hanson also wears Cool Shades.
  • In Trigun, Vash the Stampede always puts on his yellow sunglasses right before he stops playing the fool and reveals his actual hypercompetence.
    • This is actually because his eyes glow blue when he gets pissed and he likes to hide it.
    • Also, you will observe that they are actually kind of goofy-looking sunglasses, and only fall into this because of the trope's prevalence and the fact that he wears them so awesomely.
    • Wolfwood wears Cool Shades most of the time in the manga. In the manga, Knives occasionally gets cyberpunk-style ones.
  • Moonlight Lady has this trope represented with Chikako.
  • Dutch, Eda and Mr. Chang from Black Lagoon. Rotton the Wizard is a subversion.
  • In the Pokémon anime, Ash's Squirtle kept the Triangle Shades from his days leading the Squirtle Squad and has been known to pull them out from time to time.
    • Compare Squirtle's shades with Kamina's. The ramifications of this don't bear thinking about.
      • Something, perhaps, like this?
      • Or this.
      • Ow. Images like that are too awesome to show casually like that.
    • The recurring Sandile/Krokorok in Best Wishes has a pair of red sunglasses...even though its evolution line does technically have built-in shades (giving Krookodile the Fan Nickname "Kaminacroc"). Ash ends up catching it during its fourth appearance.
  • Shino Aburame wears a pair of shades that never leave his face in Naruto, as well as most, if not all, of the Aburame clan from which he hails from.
  • In Hellsing, Alucard's sunglasses, at least toward the beginning of the series. By later on, he's abandoned them, in what is probably the most Badass way of having The Glasses Come Off ever.
  • Harlem Beat: there are the Three Men team, Shades, Ultraman (his shades even shaped like Ultraman’s eyes!), and Kojiya twins from Kyan.
  • Nerima Daikon Brothers seems to reference the Blues Brothers. The not-quite-cool title characters seem to wear sunglasses...well, because they're in a blues band!
    • Specifically, they put them on whenever they head out to pull off a money-making caper.
  • Enishi from Rurouni Kenshin is always seen with a pair of purple-tinted John Lennon shades...which brings up the question of who sold sunglasses in the late 19th century...
  • Sai Saici from G Gundam, when trying to look cool to a girl, wore a huge pair of pointed triangular shades.
  • Suzaku Kururugi of Code Geass wears a pair of shades in his civilian clothing. Also, Schneizel sported a pair during the FLEIJA testing. They were only protective sunglasses, but still...
    • It's almost as is Schneizel has inherited Doc Brown's protective Cool Shades...
    • Guilford gets in on the action too, though from the presence of a certain sort of cane when he visits Cornelia in the hospital, it's implied that this is not purely a fashion choice.
  • Franky from One Piece wears very Kamina-esque ones. Before Kamina did it.
    • Admiral Kizaru wears shades too.
    • After the Time Skip, Nico Robin also sports a pair.
  • Tooya of Ayashi no Ceres wears shades at the beginning of the story, while—you guessed it—he was still working for the Mikages. He begins to wear them less frequently as time wears on, which is cool because you get a glimpse of the first facial expressions he makes. In his life.
  • Iceman Hotty from Basquash! wears a pair of cool shades all the time. Though it's not until Spanky attempts to eat a pair of random lizards scampering through the desert that we find out his shades are actually alive. Though they're hardly the first pair of equipment to be alive in the series.
  • Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist sports a badass pair of shades to hide his red eyes. He seems to have left them behind following his Heel Face Turn. Another Ishvalan character, Major Miles also wears shades to hide his red eyes, the distinctive characteristic of his race. Greed is another character who likes sunglasses—in his case, it's mostly for the cool factor, but since he has Hellish Pupils, there is a practical benefit as well.
    • And in Ling Yao's cameo appearance in the 2003 anime version, he's wearing some pretty awesome glasses. In fact; they're just like Greed's, as a nod to what happens in the manga.
  • Char Aznable/Quattro Bajeena trades his famous helmet for a pair of these in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.
  • Matt from Death Note has goggles that never seem to be given a real purpose (though he does wear them at least), but are still thought to be one of the coolest things in the world by fans of his.
    • In the second intro, Aizawa is seen wearing a pair of aviator type sunglasses he never dons outside the opening.
  • Batou/Bateau takes this to its logical Cyberpunk extreme in Ghost in the Shell (all versions) by "wearing" night vision goggle lenses implanted in place of his eyes. They cannot be removed and his "real" eyes, should they exist, are never seen. Also double as Scary Shiny Glasses when he's being extra intimidating.
    • Judging by their size and some other things, like a doctor in Stand Alone Complex trying to sell him actual eyeballs, they indeed are his eyes in their entirety, and their purpose is to pack in more functions than normal-sized eyeballs could, implying again that they are cylinderical and extend deeper in his skull than normal eyeballs would.
  • Ban Mido from GetBackers is another great example. He wears his 'Anti Evil Eye' shades constantly; the only time they ever come off is when he's about to use his signature Evil Eye, or in rare cases, when they've been broken. If it's the latter, he will inevitably materialize a new pair at some point in the near future to wear again.
  • Straight Cougar from S-Cry-ed is almost as much defined by his glasses as he is by his speed.
  • The Sailor Animamates of the Sailor Moon anime sport sunglasses in their respective disguises.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has Trueman, and given the rest of his characterization, it's probably best we can't see his eyes.
  • Osamu Sugo/Knight Schumacher from Future GPX Cyber Formula wears those. So much so that it became a Running Gag in the series when Randoll, Shinjyo, Bootsvorz and even Clair wears the same type of shades he wore during his racing days.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!! is almost never seen without his pair of designer sunglasses, although not everyone thinks that they're awesome. Shuji, for example, thinks they make him look like a pretentious hipster (at least up until Shizuo clotheslines him into oblivion, at which point Shuji agrees that they suit him perfectly and couldn't imagine him any other way and OH GOD, PLEASE DON'T HURT ME!).
  • Ruki and arguably Jianliang in Digimon Tamers wear them occasionally. Yamaki wears his nearly all the time!
    • What, no one remembered Captain Satsuma? We literally never see him without his sunglasses. Ever.
  • Queen Victoria in the Kuroshitsuji manga. All part of the Anachronism Stew.
  • The villain Chinmei from Samurai Deeper Kyo wears shades most of the time except his final battle against the entire Sanada clan, revealing his "True Red Eyes". At one point his shades was damaged by Mahiro during his battle with Kyo, only to be replaced by a spare shade.
  • Tsuchimikaido Motoharu in To Aru Majutsu no Index always wears awesome shades, making him even more badass when he actually is involved in solving a conflict of some sort.
  • Bear Walken of Gungrave always wear cool yellow shades. Up until he was defeated by Brandon and he died. One cute note: Sherri, his daughter, was shown as a girl with a teddy bear with those glasses.
  • Leo/Loki from Fairy Tail wears them on occasion. It might have something to do with his power.
  • Kagato from the first Tenchi Muyo! OVA.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The X-Men's Scott Summers, Cyclops, wears sunglasses (or a visor, when in costume) with special lenses to contain his unceasing Eye Beams all the time, even when asleep. In various depictions, these range from clunky to top of the range Oakleys. In this case, taking them off is the threatening move.
  • Heather Hudson of Alpha Flight (who normally wore prescription glasses) began wearing wraparound shades when she became leader of the team. When she received her version of the Vindicator/Guardian battlesuit, Madison Jeffries modified her shades for wear with the suit.
    • In the second Alpha Flight series, Heather had switched to contacts, and initially didn't wear glasses with the new suit Department H had provided her, but after a while of getting bothered by the wind in her eyes, she brought the shades back.
  • Cassidy from Preacher (Comic Book) always wears them to hide his eyes, which seem to be the only part of him that changed substantially when he became a vampire.
  • In Transmetropolitan Spider Jerusalem has distinct "live shades" with circular red lens and rectangular green lens. The item maker that created them was on hallucinogenic drugs. Now how cool is that.
    • Cool enough that when he finally needed another pair, they had the same mismatched lenses.
  • The Corinthian also wears them to hide his nature. While his taking them off is a threatening move, his leaving them on isn't so reassuring either.
    • It's also up in the air what he did before the invention of sunglasses—wear a blindfold? Fringey hair?
      • While not normal, sunglasses may have already been invented when Dream created him—he was wearing them that time when he ate the orangutan's eyeballs, which seemed to be the eighteenth century. Before he had sunglasses, he presumably didn't go out in public. He only AWOLed after Dream went MIA. Before that, when not being a footman or whatever he was supposed to be on that occasion, he was a full-time nightmare. Turning around was a sufficient Reveal.
  • Calvin once tried to convince his mom to buy him a pair of shades that bore a remarkable similarity to Kamina's (despite predating them by a good 15 years or so). He couldn't really pull the look off, though.
  • The titular Mister X wears circular shades to cover up his eyes, which look about as bad as you'd expect from someone who hasn't slept in years.

Film[edit | hide]

  • The first Back to The Future ends with Doc Brown showing up wearing some very Cool Shades. They're so cool, they're made out of sheet metal! Christopher Lloyd couldn't see a thing out of them. They were only written in as a gag for the first film. When the sequels came around, he ditched them ASAP.
    • In Part II the glasses are revealed to be a part of the Delorean's modifications that allow him to see what's happening around the car.
    • Note than you can now re-create this appearance with some brands of modern-day mirror shades.
  • The Cool Shades in the film They Live!! actually Do Something Unusual ; they allow the wearer to see the aliens in human guise, who are apparently responsible for the widening wealth gap, economic inflation, and a bubblegum shortage. That doesn't stop them from being used for Badass effect, though.
  • Reservoir Dogs, in the intro sequence.
  • John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd wore shades when performing as Jake and Elwood Blues. The Blues Brothers act originated on Saturday Night Live and got made into a blockbuster movie in 1980. Neither one of the Blues Brothers removed their sunglasses in the film... well, Jake removed his in the scene where he was apologising to the Mystery Woman (Carrie Fisher).
    • The Blues Brothers had a not-so-successful sequel in 1998 called Blues Brothers 2000, in which Elwood takes off his shades (only) once—and he covers his eyes with his hand when he does. Even his driver's license has shades. New core members of the band also get cool shades; when Cable is converted to the true faith of R&B, his cop shades are turned into cool shades.
    • The DVD of the original movie includes scenes omitted from the earlier versions, that include Elwood resigning his job as a menial factory worker, while he wears protective goggles instead of shades.
  • Putting on sunglasses is just about all Ace Ventura does.
  • The Men in Black also use their shades for a purpose - it keeps them from being affected by their memory-erasing Neuralizer.
    • J actually trades his first pair in for a more styling set at the end of the first movie.
  • Blade, in the movie and sequels of the same name, apparently stores his surplus Badassitude in his shades. In every movie, there seems to be a point where he loses them, gets his butt kicked for a while, and then regains them, just to put 'em on in a badass way. Usually this happens right before fighting the Big Bad. Step 1 of defeating Blade is "remove his sunglasses."
  • Cool Shades is what differentiates characters from extras in The Matrix. Virtually everyone that matters wears them.

Agent Smith: You'll notice I'm wearing my sunglasses indoors. In the real world, this would make me look stupid.

    • It's also a visual cue that Neo is reaching his potential when he breaks Smith's shades. Smith takes them off and says, "I'm going to enjoy watching you die, Mr. Anderson."
      • Sunglasses seem to be symbolic armor for everyone, really. Nearly every time someone gets beaten up, they aren't unquestionably defeated until after their shades are gone. One exception is Morpheus, who takes his off before Agent Johnson fights him on the truck, perhaps symbolizing the fight's ultimate futility. The final fight between Neo and Smith has them knocking each others' shades off early on, because armor is irrelevant with the level of control they both exert over the world.
    • In The Matrix Reloaded, Trinity removes a motorcycle helmet with black-tinted visor - and she is wearing sunglasses underneath. And it is night-time. How the hell could she see ANYTHING? Not to mention, how does she take the helmet off without breaking or pulling off the glasses? Mighty powers indeed.
      • As with many tropes in this series, easily justified by programming; the sunglasses worn by redpills would be specialized models in the Matrix that don't obscure the sight of the wearer while appearing normal otherwise.
  • My Science Project. This quote could be considered a Trope Codifier.

Cop: Hey kid, why do you wear your sunglasses at night?
Vince Lotello: Because when you're cool, the sun shines on you 24 hours a day.

  • Regardless of what model it is, every Terminator cyborg is required to acquire cool shades before proceeding with its mission. They have to be cool. They have to be shades. They can't be uncool shades. The first T-800 used the shades to hide his damaged skin, but the next two seemed to just be concerned with style.
    • Exception: "Cameron", the Waif Fu Terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, doesn't bother. With Summer Glau in the role, they'd just be redundant.
      • The episode of 25 February 2008 demonstrates that they aren't merely redundant... they look a little silly. Decide for yourself.
    • Subverted in Film/Terminator 3, where the T-850 discovers to his dismay that the shades that come with the outfit he mugged off a male stripper are pink and star-shaped. He drops them on the ground and crushes them with his boot, then finds a better pair in the car he steals.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick seems to put on (or take off) his welding goggles to emphasize what he's saying. To be fair, the goggles are actually functional; his eyes are extremely sensitive to light (allowing him to see no matter how dark it is), so he needs them to protect his eyes. He also takes them off or puts them on depending on the amount of light in a scene and how clearly he wants to see something.
    • Kind of played with in the first Riddick movie, Pitch Black. In the first half of the movie, it's played straight: glasses on when he's kicking ass. The brightness of the sunlight leaves him vulnerable without his welding goggles - when they're torn off during a fight, he's pretty much helpless. For the second half of a movie, during the total darkness of an eclipse, it's subverted: he takes the goggles off so he can see in the dark.
  • Done to great effect in Hot Fuzz: the main character is disenchanted and giving up when he sees DVDs of Point Break and Bad Boys 2 in a little convenience store. Inspired, he buys a pair of cheap sunglasses that make him look disproportionately badass. He later hands off a spare pair to his partner when they meet up.
  • Soultaker stars Martin Sheen's brother as a Cool Shades-wearing Grim Reaper who falls in love with the leading lady/scriptwriter. The SOL Crew insisted upon singing "Sunglasses At Night" to mock this.
  • The blind character in Sneakers only wears dark glasses in one scene, apparently for the sole purpose of reflecting screens of computer code.
  • Combined with a subversion of The Glasses Come Off in the movie Airplane!, when Captain Rex Kramer whips off his sunglasses to make a dramatic point, only to reveal another pair of sunglasses underneath.
    • He then removes those sunglasses to make another dramatic point. Unfortunately, he was not wearing a third pair, as the Rule of Three cannot be applied to this trope for fear of implosion.
  • Vincent Latello, from the movie My Science Project. "Because when you're cool, the sun shines on you twenty four hours a day."
  • Rodney Skinner, Gentleman Thief, wears these to hide the fact that his eyes are invisible.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the The Film of the Book: this campaign ad for Zaphod Beeblebrox puts forward the following argument:

"Zaphod Beeblebrox has the longest hair of any candidate
and he's got the coolest shades..."

    • In other versions of the Guide these are "the greatest shades in the known sky": Joo Janta Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses. At the first hint of danger they turn totally black, and prevent you from seeing anything that may alarm you. Ford isn't impressed.
  • The first Mortal Kombat movie has Johnny Cage wearing a rather pricey set of shades that get crushed by Goro.

Johnny Cage: Those were 500 dollar sunglasses, asshole.

  • Night Watch. In the film adaptation almost all Watchers wear sunglasses. Yes, exactly, in the night.
  • Léon: The Professional has Leon's signature round sunglasses. Mathilda doesn't look all that bad in them either.
  • Dirty Harry Callahan's dark sunglasses...punk!
  • Used intentionally in That Thing You Do. Once The Wonders sign on a major record label, their manager gives the drummer a pair of sunglasses to make him stand out. Lampshaded later by a reporter: "Are those prescription, or are you just trying to look cool?"

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Molly (aka Rose, Sally, etc) from Neuromancer has mirrorshades surgically implanted over her eyes. The same surgery also rearranged her tearducts, so she literally can't cry. Instead, she spits.
    • They're not just mirrorshades; they have microchannel image amps built into them so she can see in the dark. Somewhat cooler than your typical cybernetic replacement eyes, not to mention being rather easier to manufacture.
  • Crowley from Good Omens wears a pair of sunglasses all the time to hide gold eyes with pupils slitted like a snake's.
    • It's partly just because they're cool. The other demons find his coolness irritating.
  • In Artemis Fowl, mirrored shades are on the list of items needed for a night-time mission, but they turn out to serve a practical purpose - deflecting the fairies' hypnotic mesmer ability.
  • Minty Fresh from Coyote Blue wears Cool Shades to hide his golden eyes.
  • Shane Schofield, from Matthew Reilly's books, wears silver anti-flash glasses to hide his scars.
  • Alloysius Knight, also from Matthew Reilly's books, wears similar shades due to his eyes being hypersensitive, and being like "Shane Schofield gone wrong"
  • Tre's Blindsided Shades (read: shutter shades) in Stuck are considered all the rage by his standards. He breaks them in Stuck at School, but later replaces them with Blindsided Mirrorshades in Stuck at the Wheel.
  • The sports glasses Daemon operatives use may be this or Sinister Shades.
  • Lampshaded by Robert B. Parker in one of his Spenser novels, where Spenser needs glasses, & remarks he could get prescription shades, so nobody would know & everybody would just think he was cool.
  • In Invisible Man, the protagonist puts on a pair of dark sunglasses, and finds himself being mistaken for Rinehart.
  • Dark Future: Many people dress themselves with these in Dark Future novels. Many of them are also shades which double as music-playing devices. Elder Seth's shades are not merely cool ones, but they're also a means to see beyond the normal and perceive the Outer Darkness and create a conduit between him and the Dark Ones he serves.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Adam-12: In the final few episodes of Season 7, Reed begins wearing sunglasses on-duty. This includes an off-duty rescue of Malloy (who has been taken hostage by a gang of reactionists) and during Reed's investigation of a typewriter theft ring.
  • Horatio Caine of CSI: Miami punctuates almost every Quip to Black by putting on his Cool Shades—if he's not already wearing them. (If he's already wearing them, he'll take them off and put them back on again.) So you could say that he... (puts on sunglasses) has it made in the shades. YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAH!!
    • Shows up now and then with the other franchise leaders, Grissom from CSI and Mac from CSI: NY but not as often. And they usually don't do the Quip To Black with them like Horatio does.
  • In Double the Fist, Steve's glasses are so cool, they give him The Force.
  • In an early episode of The West Wing, Josh puts on his sunglasses to punctuate his threat to a Congressman. "The President doesn't hold grudges. That's what he has me for."
  • Power Rangers Jungle Fury features a set of shades as a Transformation Trinket.
  • Parodied on Chef!

Gareth: Everton, why are you wearing sunglasses?
Everton: They make me look cool.
Gareth: Take them off.
Everton: I brought you a pair.
Gareth: Okay.

    • Later on...

Gareth: Why do you keep checking the mirror? Are we being followed?
Everton: No. I'm just making sure I look cool.

  • While most of the deputies on Reno911 wear shades to take on the Badass Cop persona, Deputy Junior almost never takes them off. Not even indoors or at night.
  • Kung Fu: the Legend Continues: Ex-mercenary/police detective Kermit Griffin virtually never takes his sunglasses off.
  • On Chuck, shades-wearing secret agent Bryce Larkin tries to give his sunglasses to Chuck, claiming that he should have them if he's going to be a real spy.
    • In reality, he's imprinted an update to the Intersect within them.
      • Recent seasons seem to have shades that can either upload the Intersect to one's head, or remove it entirely.
  • Harper's imaginary friend Mr. Lies sports a pair of these in Angels in America.
  • One recurring character in the reimagined series of Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, Romo Lampkin, nearly always wears shades, despite the fact that he's living in a fleet of dimly-lit spaceships. Justified in that he wears them so that people cannot tell what he is looking at - he is a kleptomaniac lawyer, after all...
  • In the Firefly pilot, Simon is first shown wearing a pair of nice-looking sunglasses. The Better Days comic tie-in indicates these are actually functional, as they block retina scans.
    • Also a slight Genius Bonus to people who watches Chinese period films, where that style of glasses tends to be worn by evil characters or traitors.
  • The awe-spiring sunglasses of Michael Westen from Burn Notice. Sales of that particular brand of shades (Oliver People's Victory) shot up right after the show started to get popular, a testament to just how damn cool they are.
  • Let's not forget the Ray Bans in Miami Vice
  • "Hawk" on Spencer For Hire played by Avery Brooks. Brooks was on the Arsenio Hall Show actually defined a hero as someone who could get into a fight with a bunch of people and never lose his sunglasses!
  • Jamie Hyneman wears some badass Julbo shades whenever the crew takes a field trip.
  • Played with in Glee, Quinn and Finn, wanting advice on how to avoid having slushies thrown in their face and to regain their status, go to the guidance counsillor Emma who suggests cool shades. It doesn't work.
  • Hong Gil Dong in "Hong Gil Dong"
  • Gene Hunt manages brand new levels of awesome when he wears shades.
  • Duncan MacLeod on Highlander the Series had them too in some episodes.
  • The Rotten Tomatoes Show features a song called "Shade Tippin'" in which Brett Erlich examines the phenomena in movie posters.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart
  • The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades by Timbuk3

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Bret Hart wore a pair of pink ones in his run with WWF/WCW. He'd usually give them to a child fan before the match.
  • "Macho Man" Randy Savage is known for his colorful, decorative, and all around badass sunglasses usually with designs on them coordinating with his tights.
  • Hulk Hogan, of the nWo wore a pair f shades and looked absolutely badass while wearing them.
  • The Undertaker wore a pair during his American Badass/Big Evil run.
  • John Morrison has a pair he wears to the ring, although how he sees in them is a mystery to me.
  • These + cool shirt + Fascinating Eyebrow = The Rock.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Unsurprisingly, Shadowrun allows characters to purchase Cool Shades. The real fun comes when you start putting visual enhancements on them.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Cecile Forward wears a nice looking pair in intermission scenes in Castle Fantasia 2 Renewal, though they do tend to subvert their purpose in battle scenes, where she looks rather bug eyed.
  • Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog wears a pair of round-frame sunglasses at all times with the intended effect of making him look more intimidating. It didn't really work, at first.
  • One of the customizable clothing options in Battlefield Play4Free is several types of sunglasses for the player-character.
  • Azel, the Mirror Boss in God Hand. Weirdly, they manage to stay on even when he does all sorts of impossible fighting moves, except in the final stage where he takes them off deliberately. From the cutscene you can tell that now It's Personal, and he's really quite pissed.
  • In The King of Fighters, K' always wears sunglasses and takes them off during his intro. Some official artwork shows him with white framed glasses with red tint. The shades aren't solely there for show as his Chain Drive move has him throwing them at the foe and when hit, follows up with an autocombo, he also seems to have an infinite supply of sunglasses as he can perform his Chain Drive whenever he has 1 power bar.
    • In the latest installment (KOF XIII), he has them on the whole time. Now he grabs back the sunglasses when it hits the opponent during Chain Drive.
  • Parodied in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, wherein Rude, upon having his shades destroyed during battle (because Reno steps on them), immediately produces a spare pair from his pocket and puts them on before returning to the fight. He seems rather distraught by their loss, though.
    • Cloud has a pair at the beginning of the movie, though he loses them in the same scene.
    • In Dirge of Cerberus, Cloud puts on a new pair of (very sexy) sunglasses in the big battle cutscene.
  • Al-Cid Margrace from Final Fantasy XII actually had someone to hold his glasses for him while he wasn't using them.
  • Auron of Final Fantasy X, however, is always wearing his. Except during flashbacks.
    • Subverted slightly in that his cool shades are small and worn low on the nose, so you can often see at least part of his eyes.
  • Beyond the Grave, the main character of Gungrave wears a pair of small, yet neat, sunglasses (?) that have the left lens blacked out and a cross design on top of that. It serves a minor purpose in that the black lens slightly covers up the prominent scar on his face—and the fact that he no longer has a left eye, because it was shot out at point-blank range, and killed him back when he was still Brandon.
  • Proto Man from Mega Man.
  • J.C from Deus Ex never takes them off. When mocked by Agent Navarre for wearing sunglasses at night, he gruffly replies that his vision is augmented. Additionally it is suggested that the cool shades stop him freaking the public with his solid blue eyes.
    • Adam, the Cyborg PC of Deus Ex Human Revolution, has sunglasses built into his face that retract under his skin at will. His vision is augmented, too.
  • With the exceptions of the Duke Nukem games before Duke Nukem 3D, the titular character is never seen without his signature pair of cool shades.
  • All five members of the Elite Beat Agents from newbie Spin to veteran team leader Chieftain.
    • Make that all ten characters, not counting Mr. X. The Divas and Khan have some pretty nice shades too, although the Divas' are transparent.
  • Many characters from Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Serious Sam started off wearing shades, but they were later removed from his design, allegedly to "make a less Duke Nukem looking character".
  • Albert goddamn Wesker. Eventually, it's to cover up his bizarrely inhuman eyes, but mostly they're just there to be rockin'.
    • He only takes them off twice in RE:5 the first time the throws them at Chris as distraction(and then wipes the floor with him before catching his glasses to put them back on) before the boss sequence begins and the second time was during the final battle.
      • Ada Wong in Resident Evil 4 drops a pair, which then explode as a distraction.
  • Johnny from Guilty Gear. His shades are removed only in his Burst sprite (to show he's serious now, of course).
  • Cool Shades adorn the titular Spot in Cool Spot. They're also found in the scenery on occasion.
  • Jake Armitage from the Super Nintendo incarnation of Shadowrun. Initially he needs to put them on to solve a puzzle. He needs to wear them to prevent the morgue guys from recognizing him as the guy who woke up at the morgue, so they won't flee and he can talk with them. But they can't be taken off once worn and show up in all the cutscenes from then onwards. Some characters also comment on them when spoken to.
  • In Fallout 2, putting mirrored shades on actually gave your character + 1 bonus to Charisma.
    • Likewise, in Fallout 3, Mr. Burke wears a pair of these. Which you can later steal from his house, provided you are crazy good with lockpicks (or have discovered cheat codes).
      • Or you can just loot them off his corpse (which is probably the best option for anyone not playing as a evil character).
      • One of the women in Andale has the same kind of shades. There's a way to get them without losing karma, just reveal Andale's evil secret and, when confronted by the 4 adults, tell them you think they're freaks. They'll try to kill you, which lets you get rid of them AND score some Cool Shades.
    • Fallout 3 also has the "Lucky Shades", a unique pair of sunglasses that gives you a + 1 bonus to your Luck while you wear them.
  • In Pen and Teller's unreleased game "Smoke and Mirrors, a minigame has a slider for the amount one wears sunglasses ranging from "hate them, never wear them." to "I'm Lou Reed, I never take them off." On Impossible in the main game, Lou Reed shows up wearing the shades, and kills the player characters with his laser eyes. Without removing the shades.
  • Katsuya and Baofu, both from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, sport some rockin' shades.
    • In the PSP remake, Hitler/Nyarlathotep also looks pretty damn good sporting a pair, to the point where one wonders whether Atlus's censorship will backfire by simply making him look too cool.
    • In Persona4, Cool Shades not only can be worn by some of the characters (Kanji especially), they even are gameplay relevant.
  • Blank from Space Channel 5. His were pink variants of the classic Kamina 'boomerang' shades. His 'turn' icon even had a glint next to the glasses!
  • In The Godfather: The Game, you can buy a pair of shades for your character.
  • Vinnie the Gooch from Backyard Baseball.
  • Liquid Ocleot wears these to great effect MANY times in MGS4: Guns of the Patriots.
  • While they have no effect in increasing the badass quotient of the characters, Thane Krios and Jack from Mass Effect 2 have gained their personal cool shades in a DLC.
    • Some DLC items also allow Shepard to rock the look, such as the Umbra Visor or the Archon Visor.
  • In Art of Fighting, John Crawley the navy man wears a pair of sunglasses that can be knocked off if you damage them enough. His boss, Mr. Big, also wears them.
  • Michael Becket, the player character of F.E.A.R 2, is shown putting on a pair of futuristic looking shades that serve as your HUD for the game.
  • Spike Lakilester from Paper Mario.
  • In Alpha Protocol, Mike can sport several different types of sunglasses, ranging from simple slightly tinted glasses to wraps to big aviators to mirrored sunglasses that make him look like a sinister CIA agent right out of the 60's, all the way to shiny reflective razor sunglasses.
  • In Jumper Three, you can acquire sunglasses in Sector 2. Like any other Nice Hats you get there, they are useless, but still cool.
  • You can't afford Super Macho Man's sunglasses. Now get your hands off the ropes.
  • Air Zonk has the titular Zonk wearing shades. When an ally is chosen to help him, they are powered up and recieve a similar set of shades. One of Zonk's weapons is actually firing neon shades at his enemies.
  • Star FOX has James McCloud.
  • Sissel from Ghost Trick wears a pair of shades... Or rather, Yomiel does. Although Sissel's tail in his real form as a cat is kinked to resemble the shades.
  • In the early 90s adventure game Dreamweb, protagonist Ryan has to put some shades on to obscure his identity after he is wanted for murder.
  • Developer team The Bitmap Brothers had cool shades as their schtick. On photographs in game magazines of the day,they often wore sunglasses, and in at least some of their games, cool shades were included as a hidden item or easter egg. One example is Xenon II Megablast, where the player can buy "Bitmap Shades" as an extremely expensive item. All it does is change the graphics to pure black and white.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Yuki from Megatokyo switched from Meganekko-style glasses to Cool Shades after Largo made her a Little Miss Badass.
  • Brent Sienna from Pv P is never seen without his trademark shades. He takes them off when he gets married, only to be blinded immediately because his eyes haven't been exposed to that much light in decades.
    • At one point, Cole Wilson tries to emulate him by wearing aviator sunglasses, which Brent objects to because cool shades are his thing. A few strips later, Cole no longer wears them and admits he sat on them.
  • Shadehawk's shades in Antihero for Hire. He (almost) only wears them for Cool, since he operates at night.
  • Riff from Sluggy Freelance is never seen without sunglasses. Normally he wears black shades, but when he suits up for the Final Battle during "Dangerous Days," he switches to some even more Badass yellow shades.
  • Mad Scientist Kevyn Andreyasn, from Schlock Mercenary. It's revealed, at one point, that he doesn't need them to see well. In the visual spectrum, at least.
  • Shilo from Rhapsodies
  • Cool Shades abound in Homestuck, ostensibly ironically. Dave Strider sports a bitching pair of aviators, the very same worn by Ben Stiller in the Starsky And Hutch movie. (They were also a key item in the previous MS Paint Adventure, Problem Sleuth.) Dave's Bro wears Kamina shades (an unintentional resemblance people kept pointing out which got a Fandom Nod later down the line when they were referred to as "dumb pointy anime shades"). Terezi Pyrope wears bright red cat eye sunglasses, and Sollux Captor wears heterochromatic shades.
  • Youngsilver from The Pride of Life sports a Bebop-inspired pair.
  • Black Monday Blues, of Dead Winter, is hardly ever seen without his red-tinted shades...and he carries a second pair inside his jacket, just, you know, in case.
  • Punintended's character N/A wears these as driving glasses. It is rather subverted as they are bright pink.
  • James of Out There has yet to be pictured without his Ray-Bans (if that's what they are). You can't even see his eyes when he's in profile. Since you can see the eyes of the other characters when they're viewed from the side (even when they're wearing glasses), it's hard not to wonder: does James even have eyes?
  • Bob and George: Like he'd really use this trope when he could wear sunglasses to see the invisible
  • Murry Purry Fresh and Furry: Cool Cat, an actual non-athropomorphic cat, wears cool shades.
  • El Goonish Shive: Tedd wore glasses to invoke this trope it didn't work but the glasses themselves are still cool.
  • Nearly everyone in Shinigami Death Punch has their very own pair of cool shades in their color. The author never hesitates to use them for dramatic effect, either.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Bandit Keith never takes off his sunglasses, even in a dark cave, because he's American, and Americans always wear sunglasses!
  • The Shadow Men in Broken Saints both wear these in one scene, apparently just so artist Andrew West could have their enormous monitor reflected in the shades.
    • Also, Mars' glowing red shades.
  • The potato in the second Asdfmovie gets a pair.
  • Referenced/spoofed a few times on Homestar Runner. Strong Bad's Cowboy Cop alter-ego Dangeresque, from the Strong Bad Emails "stunt double" and "dangeresque 3", wears Cool Shades. In the Strong Bad Email "the bet", Homestar manages to win the titular bet with Strong Bad that he can "be's cool" by simply putting on a pair of Cool Shades and saying "'Sup?".
    • Homestar Runner also subverted the trope in a different skit, where Homestar buys a pair of "cool shades" from Bubs but stashes them inside a can of yellow paint before wearing them. When he dons the shades, still dripping with paint, the result is that he looks even more foolish than usual and can barely see, causing him to apparently confuse Strong Sad for an old friend named "Dripping Yellow Madness".
  • The Necro Critic. A Caustic Critic who is characterized by his sunglasses.
  • Standard issue for Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Used mainly when agents need to Neuryalize a canon character (MIB style) yet not get neuryalized themselves.
  • Mr. Mendo: The fact that you can never see his eyes takes Deadpan Snarker to a whole 'nother level.
  • Sockbaby - Ronnie Cordova.
  • Sign up for TV Tropes' forums and you can post a Cool Shades smiley! Or most any forum these days. If you happen to not have access something that writes it, just write a B, followed by a bracket opening to the left, possibly with a dash in between [ B) and B-), respectively.]
  • In the Lady Lumps VS Boy Bumps cartoon Sonik Kombat, Amy Rose puts on a pair when she copies Johnny Cage's signature move.
  • 80's Dan has a pair.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Throttle from Biker Mice From Mars wears a pair of sunglasses at all times—this is because as a result of being experimented on he lost his eyes and got them replaced by bionic ones. Although some Biker Mice fans say he's blind.
  • Johnny Bravo wears black shades throughout every episode, and actively covers his face whenever they've fallen off.
  • Many of the 'younger' Transformers (like Jazz and Prowl) have optics shaped like cool shades. Fans generally write fanfiction about them being blind underneath, or how they really have red Decepticon optics.
  • Prowl and Soundwave of Transformers Animated both have similar pairs of shades as Kamina (though it's possible those are their actual optic sensors, being Mechanical Lifeforms and all; they even match their factions like most others eyes), and both are awesomeness incarnate (they're a nod to Joe Pineapple's optic visor from ABC Warriors of 2000AD comics). Jazz and Jetstorm also have sensors that look like visor shades, and Grimlock's are shaped like normal ones.
  • "Hello, Lilo. I'm Mr. Bubbles." "Your knuckles say Cobra... have you ever killed anyone?"
  • Robin wears a pair whenever he's out of costume.
    • Red Arrow wears them whenever he's in a stakeout.
  • Tad and Chad from The Fairly OddParents wear them to look cool.
  • One of the villians in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest was a government agent who always wore sunglasses. Lampshaded by Race Bannon when he said that he "was one of them, until the shades became a part of the uniform."
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise wears a pair during her stint as Jimmy's bodyguard. This parodied in another episode where Jimmy attempts to invoke this trope, but the sunglasses he uses get increasingly tacky.
  • Backyardigans Pablo and Tyrone wear these as 'Delivery Agents' in the episode Elephant On The Run. So don't mess with them.
  • In the recent special for Total Drama Action, Noah and all the members of the boy-band "The Drama Brothers" have them.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Nigel Uno Has these, until the last episode, where they are passed on to Numbuh 5
  • Alan Chan's violet-tinted specs in The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan.
  • In the episode "In the Line of Doody," the Penguins of Madagascar briefly don cool shades, complete with earpieces, while "protecting" the parks commissioner. And they look simultaneously hilarious and awesome.
  • An interesting preschool version - in the Nick Jr. show Bubble Guppies, there is an episode where the characters are welcoming the arrival of spring by going to see the spring chicken - basically a regular chicken who, for some inexplicable reason, wears giant sunglasses.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Rainbow Dash has sported a pair of sunglasses on occasion.
  • Agent Six from Generator Rex rocks shades and a sharp green suit. Oh, and foldout katanas. That he can slice bullets with.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Sunglasses were used functionally by actors who would wear them on set to protect their eyes from the intense set lighting. People saw behind the behind the scenes footage of actors doing so and thus concluded wearing sunglasses is fashionable.
  • Many celebrities attempt to invoke this trope; perhaps the most successful example is Roy Orbison, who originally wore them because he left his regular prescription glasses on the plane that was taking him to one of his concerts, and didn't have time to get a replacement set (in the 1960s, you couldn't get glasses in less than several days, unlike today's one-hour stores).
  • All of the members of X Japan, except for Pata.
  • Tom Waits has an incredibly badass instrumental piece simply called "In Shades."
  • Corey Hart wears his sunglasses at night, so he can, so he can watch you weave an breathe your storylines.
  • ZZ Top, who even have the song "Cheap Sunglasses".
  • Kanye West wears those neat 'Shutter Shade' sunglasses to many of his concerts, regardless of lighting.
  • The late, great Eazy-E of N.W.A was rarely seen without his shades.
  • Future World Emperor and musician, Dr. Phineas Waldorf Steel, has yet to be seen in public without his characteristic thick black-lensed goggle-glasses.
  • Ozzy Osbourne and Geddy Lee perform wearing round framed sunglasses.
  • Joe Satriani's black sunglasses and Bald of Awesome make up his look.
  • Bono alternates between Cool Shades and Scandalous Shades, often really bright. He explains it happens because his eyes are sensitive to light, and thus it's hard to see him without any glasses (and many of those times, he looks weird).
  • Guns N' Roses had two frequent wearers, Axl Rose (who liked to use them over his bandanna) and Slash (who also frequently uses a Nice Hat).
    • Axl is occasionally not seen wearing shades, but Slash on the othere hand never takes his off. One interview said he went to see his mother who was dying of cancer in a hospital, and never took off his shades.
  • The only guy who whore glasses as much as Bono and Slash was Joey Ramone.
  • 2 the Ranting Gryphon, a well known comedian within the Furry Fandom, is rarely seen without his trademark brown shades. In fact, this troper doesn't believe he's ever witnessed a single time in which he hasn't worn them, indoors or out.
  • Dutch author of children's books Paul van Loon is never seen in public without his shades. This rather adds to his mistique, being a writer of mostly kiddy horror.
  • General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, famous for his roles in World War Two and the Korean War, was known for, among other things, wearing aviator shades... long before the aviators started wearing them. It helps that MacArthur, being literally Older Than They Think, had been a commissioned officer in the Army since 1903, making the shades a literal example of Follow the Leader.
    • Worth noting that the shades are pretty essential for pilots as they allow them to see better. Modern combat pilots don't need them so much anymore due to their helmets having shades built-in, but civilian pilots can find these extra useful on sunny days or whenever they absolutely must fly above cloudcover.
  • The late Mitch Hedberg.
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • A 17 year-old kid accused of being the Lulz Sec hacker 'Topiary' was wearing these when he was taken into custody.
  • Shades are standard issue for people working in the Secret Service and other bodyquard services, allegedly because they conceal what the wearer is looking at. This can help keep potential troublemakers in line, since they can't be sure that sunglassed muscleman isn't staring directly at them.
    • Larger, square ones can also have a one-way mirror formed into the glass/plastic as well which allows them to look behind without having to turn around.
  • Bob Dylan. He was almost never seen without them in the '60s.
  • Lou Reed.
  • Ric Ocasek of The Cars.
  • Former President Georg W Bush accidentally mistook legally blind reporter Peter Wallsten's medically-required sunglasses as Cool Shades. They were in fact medically prescribed glasses for a rare form of macular degeneration caused by exposure to UV light.

Wallsten: "Mr. President! Peter Wallsten, Wall Street Journal. Is it true that-"
George Bush: "Are you going to ask that question with shades on?"
Wallsten: "I can take them off."
Bush: "I’m interested in the shade look, seriously."
Wallsten: "All right, I’ll keep it, then."
Bush: "For the viewers, there’s no sun." (Audience Laughter.)
Wallsten: "I guess it depends on your perspective." (More Laughter.)
Bush: "Touche!"

    • Later, upon learning that Wallsten was legally blind and the glasses were medical, a red-faced President Bush called him to apologize. Wallsten shook off the incident, saying it was a funny exchange that didn't offend him at all. He is currently a national policy reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
  1. From left to right, the sunglasses-wearers include Cobra, The Squirtle Squad, Randy Savage, T-101, Krookodile, Kamina, Lt. Horatio Caine, Nada, Duke Nukem, one of the California Raisins, Chester Cheetah, and K'.