What These Celebs Really Look Like Without Their Sunglasses

Celebrities are known for making wild fashion choices. From Bjork rocking a swan dress at the Oscars to Lady Gaga wearing a meat dress at the MTV Video Music Awards, the most famous among us are unafraid to take risks when it comes to their wardrobe. Other celebrities, though, have become more famous for their accessory game, choosing again and again to wear one item in particular — sunglasses.

Sunglasses have been around for centuries, serving the practical purpose of keeping our eyes safe from the sun. But as time has passed, sunglasses have turned into a fashion statement, with every aspect of the item being manipulated to look different from the next pair. Now, sunglasses serve more purposes than just blocking the sun, especially for celebrities. For a multitude of reasons, several celebrities have made the accessory part of their uniform, so much so that we're not even sure what they look like without them. If you've ever wondered about this, here's what these sunglasses-loving celebs really look like without their shades.

Anna Wintour wears sunglasses to keep her thoughts to herself

A fashion statement or a quick trick? Longtime Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is known for a few things: her purported icy persona, her iconic bob, and her sunglasses, which she almost always wears. If Wintour is out and about, it's almost guaranteed that she'll be sporting a pair of sunglasses. The fashion maven is so dedicated to the look that she even once sported a pair while sitting next to Queen Elizabeth II.

But what exactly is the reason Wintour wears the accessory so much? As she told Christiane Amanpour in an interview with CNN, sunglasses are "incredibly useful because you avoid people knowing what you're thinking about. They help me when I'm feeling a bit tired or sleepy, and maybe they've just become a crutch in part of who I am." Sometimes, like all of us, Wintour just needs them to help her appearance. As she added in the interview, "I'll be brutally frank: I have been unbelievably ill all week. And, plus, I just had eye surgery, so those are the real reasons I'm wearing them today." There is one place Wintour is likely to be seen without her sunglasses, though — The Met Gala. Wintour hosts the event every year, and she often arrives sans eyewear.

Eric Church wears sunglasses to protect his eyes while performing

Country music star Eric Church often seems inextricable from his sunglasses. The singer always wears the accessory while onstage, and because he's not seen in public much aside from that, he's almost always publicly wearing sunglasses. The cover of Church's most famous album, "Chief," also features him in a pair of shades. But his reason for sporting the accessory isn't as mysterious as it seems — it's actually very practical. As the singer said in an interview with Mike Adam, when he began performing, due to his height and his having to wear contact lenses, the stage lights often caused his contacts to fall out of his eyes, blinding him. "Somebody suggested, 'Put glasses on,' and it worked. What's funny is, it stuck. It was never thought out," Church said, adding that his team thought it was a bad idea at the time.

If you happen to run into Church while he's off duty, you'll likely see him without sunglasses. As he said to CMT, "If I'm not playing shows, I usually don't wear them. But my eyes don't do real well in lights. So if I'm playing shows, I'll have shades on. It doesn't feel right if I don't." The real question is, will fans recognize Church in the wild without his sunglasses on?

Stevie Wonder once took his sunglasses off for a speech

Stevie Wonder made it farther in life than most people in his childhood thought he could. As he shared in an interview with The New York Times in 1975, "People at school told me I couldn't make it, that I would end up making potholders instead. But after I thought I was going to be a musician, I became very determined, simply to prove those people wrong." Decades later, Wonder is still one of the most famous, accomplished, respected musicians in the industry. Wonder is also well known for almost always wearing sunglasses, but his reason for doing so is that he's been blind since infancy.

Wonder hasn't publicly removed his sunglasses for many years, but in 1989, after being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he did. At the ceremony, Wonder gave a moving acceptance speech, walking listeners through his life experience as a blind man. "Through the eyes of our ears, we see the beauty of hope, we see the beauty of pain, we see the beauty of sorrow because through all of those, through even the pain and sorrow, the hurt, the poverty, the war, the destruction, we see the beauty of the God within us," Wonder said.

Victoria Beckham uses sunglasses as makeup

When Victoria Beckham first came onto the scene, she was hardly ever seen with sunglasses. The Spice Girls singer might've worn them on her head, but the accessory wasn't a staple in her wardrobe. Now, a decades-long career in music and fashion and three children later, Posh Spice has both a sartorial and maternal reason for incorporating sunglasses into so many of her outfits. "I think sunglasses are the final touch to a woman's outfit. I wear sunglasses because like most mums, I am up all night with my children. They hide a multitude of sins," Beckham said while speaking in Hong Kong, as reported by the Mirror.

Although she wasn't always photographed in sunglasses when she was younger, Beckham's love affair with the accessory goes way back. As Beckham shared in an interview with Vogue, she bummed her first pair of sunglasses from her dad. Now she has a large collection of her own sunglasses, including those from her fashion line, and she rotates through her options according to her outfit and location. But she keeps it simple. "I don't like anything too challenging. I want to wear my glasses, not have my glasses wear me," she told the fashion outlet, adding that she's always game to put on a new pair.

will.i.am has made enemies for wearing sunglasses

For some, refusing to take off your sunglasses during a conversation is a sign of disrespect, and will.i.am learned that firsthand when he visited the set of "This Morning." The artist, who is frequently seen in either sunglasses or eyeglasses, kept on his pair of sunglasses and headphones during an interview. "If people are wondering why I'm wearing sunnies, it's because I have sleepy eyes," will.i.am said as an explanation for his fashion choice, as reported by The Standard. As for the headphones, the singer said that he was waiting for a phone call. Viewers of the segment did not take well to will.i.am's choices, criticizing him for not being present in the interview.

Like many stars who are known for wearing frames, will.i.am created a line of sunglasses and optical lenses. The musician debuted ill.i back in 2014, and he was careful to design pieces that he knew consumers would want to wear but were also technologically advanced. "We have to design them in the same aesthetic as Gucci and Louis Vuitton and people who are making stuff we desire — then the tech should be invisible. ... You need to make sure your stuff looks like something you desire to put on and not like something out of 'Star Trek,'" will.i.am told Women's Wear Daily of his eyewear.

Bono likes to joke about his signature item

Bono has been famous for decades, bringing music to the world with his band, U2. For many of those decades, Bono has almost always been seen wearing sunglasses. As the singer shared in 2014 while on "The Graham Norton Show," the reason he's worn sunglasses in public for so long is because he has glaucoma. While glaucoma can be treated, the condition can also change the appearance of the eye and cause light sensitivity. Bono hasn't stated whether he suffers from either of those side effects, but they could be among the reasons the he's always wearing sunglasses.

The musician has a good sense of humor about his condition. While appearing on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Bono joked about wearing sunglasses during the interview, as some celebrities in the past have been criticized for refusing to take theirs off during interviews. "I'd like to apologize for wearing sunglasses. You see, when I take them off, I shoot lasers out of my eyes like Cyclops from the 'X-Men,'" Bono teased. Given his eye condition, it's more than reasonable for Bono to wear sunglasses whenever and wherever he wants. 

Karl Lagerfeld wanted to stay mysterious

Karl Lagerfeld was known for many things — his cat, fingerless gloves, making offensive comments about marginalized groups and people of lower socioeconomic status, almost exclusively dressing in black and white, keeping his hair in a ponytail, and always wearing sunglasses. Very few people have been as dedicated to wearing sunglasses as Lagerfeld, and he even went so far as refusing to take them off while being interviewed. "I had an interview once with some German journalist ... She had huge tits and a huge black bra, and she said to me, 'It's impolite; remove your glasses.' I said, 'Do I ask you to remove your bra?'" Lagerfeld once said, according to W Magazine.

Lagerfeld's sunglasses were a part of him. The fashion icon once said, "You hide behind your sunglasses because you don't want to be observed. I don't want everyone to be able to see my facial expressions," as the Mirror reported. The Chanel legend went on to say, "Nearsighted people often have somewhat sad looking eyes, like a puppy that's hoping to get adopted. You have to take your glasses off for two or three hours for that to fade, that pitiful look." Whether Lagerfeld could spot a nearsighted person in the wild is unknown, but for him, the natural and common eye condition resulted in eyes not worth looking at.

H.E.R. wants to maintain a stage persona

H.E.R. is an artist shrouded in mystery. As a singer-songwriter, the artist has gone by the stage name H.E.R., and she's always worn sunglasses while performing as the persona. While she hasn't explicitly said why she wears sunglasses during performances (other than saying "sunglasses are my thing" in a Billboard interview), H.E.R. has hinted that the choice is part of her stage persona. As for the persona, H.E.R. told Now Toronto (via Refinery29), "You can't avoid heartbreak, you can't avoid a lot of things. You have to go through them in order to become the person you're going to be. So, being H.E.R. is just the evolution of being a woman."

Music is only one part of H.E.R.'s artistry. As an actor, she goes by her given name, Gabriella Wilson, and as Wilson, she ditches the glasses. Wilson discussed this more thoroughly when she was promoting her role as Belle in the TV special "Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration." "Now I'm not wearing glasses. I can't be acting and wearing glasses. So, I think it's time for people to really get to know the person behind H.E.R.," Wilson said on "Good Morning America." "It's a new chapter in my life, and I think I'm really finding that connection. I'm allowing people to see under the layers a little bit."

Lil Jon rarely goes without his sunglasses

Sunglasses are a staple accessory for many prominent hip-hop artists. During his "Graduation" era, Kanye West was famous for rocking the shutter shades. The members of Migos are often spotted wearing sunglasses. Pharrell Williams is a frequent wearer of the accessory. But each of those hip-hop legends is seen without sunglasses far more often than Lil Jon. The rapper, best known for contributing ad-libs to popular songs throughout the 2000s, wears sunglasses on red carpets, to sporting events, when being interviewed, in music videos, and to awards shows.

If Lil Jon is in public without his sunglasses on, he might not be recognizable. While on "Conan," host Conan O'Brien asked the rapper if he ever goes without his signature accessory. "Only time I take them off is when I don't want to be noticed," Lil Jon said. "I'm tired of people screaming, 'Yeah, what, okay,' at me everywhere I go," he continued, referencing his most famous phrases in song. If Lil Jon is in public with his sunglasses on (and if he is, don't yell the aforementioned phrases at him), he's likely in his favorite brand, Oakley. The rapper has a signature pair of Oakley sunglasses, and he even gifted O'Brien a pair of Oakleys after answering questions about his own shades.

Elton John never performs without glasses

No man in music history has as outrageous a sunglasses collection as Elton John. "I've probably worn more pairs of glasses than anyone else in the world ... I wear them all the time," John told The Times of his obsession with glasses. The iconic singer-songwriter never goes on stage without the accessory, and he's rarely seen in public without them, even when he's not performing. John started wearing sunglasses to perform long ago, and when he attempted to perform without them, he struggled. "I tried it in the early '80s, but I felt exposed. Glasses give me confidence. I'm not me without them," John said.

John is so fanatical about sunglasses that he even has his own line. During the pandemic, the musician, in collaboration with his husband and manager, David Furnish, created Elton John Eyewear. "The eureka moment came when we put them into groups according to their style and realized that we could tell the entire story of Elton's life and career through eyewear," Furnish said of the collection. The specs are available as sunglasses and corrective lenses, and they have the same flair as John's personal collection. Speaking of John's personal collection, the artist claims to have over 250,000 pairs. It's safe to assume John has spent millions of dollars on sunglasses over his lifetime.

Future doesn't want people making assumptions about him

As noted, sunglasses are a common accessory in the hip-hop world, and another rapper who's known for wearing them is Future. Future doesn't just keep sunglasses on his face because he thinks it looks cool, though. As he told HipHopCanada, "The reason I keep [them] on is because usually I'm just in another zone, where I don't want you to be looking at me in my eyes ... You just try to be able to keep people out [of] your business. If you keep your glasses on, they don't ask you what you're doing. Or if you're high — or not. You don't know if I'm sober or if I've been smoking."

Future is a stylish man, and he combined his love for fashion with his love for sunglasses in collaboration with Lanvin. Together, the rapper and the fashion house created the Lanvin X Future Sunglasses. The glasses were part of an entire line Future designed with Lanvin, the first collaborative project to come from Lanvin Lab. Other pieces included overalls, T-shirts, jeans, and more. "I'm always thinking about how to incorporate the street style into fashion, just from the neighborhood, with how people dress, just to bring that into the fashion world, man, that's special," Future told The New York Times about his approach to the collection.