How the Saratoga Became Legendary
The History of American Optical Saratoga Sunglasses
Sometimes a classic item worn by a legendary figure takes on a persona all its own. Such is the history of the AO Saratoga, most notably worn by JFK.
In JFK’s day, American Optical was headquartered in Southbridge, MA. Kennedy, a fellow Massachusetts native, was a long-time fan of American Optical eyewear. Town residents fondly recall him visiting Southbridge during his campaigns. He wore not only AO sunglasses, but AO’s Executive Bifocals as well.
JFK often wore the Saratoga while boating, projecting the Camelot image that so many Americans aspired to. The style became an instant classic.
These photos are not the only historic records that tie Kennedy to AO. American Optical received a letter in 1963 requesting glasses for his children. The letter arrived on the day of his assassination.
A pair of AO sunglasses that JFK wore are still displayed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Though the frames adopted the name Saratoga later on, American Optical can still be seen printed on the temple. The style featured a classic shape, silver details, and a thinner temple than the Wayfarer style it is often mistaken for.
The popularity of the Saratoga continued long after it was worn by JFK, gaining a cult following after it went out of production decades ago.
History Repeats Itself
2020 marks the re-release of this legendary style, manufactured to the precise specifications of the original. Once again, you can wear a true piece of history. See the new Saratoga.