Sunglasses have got to be one of the quintessential masculine accessories. This may sound like a bold statement, but it’s one that I think is justified. Also, unlike many other articles, even “fashionable” sunglasses tend to be more classic. While women’s sunglasses walk more on the wild side, men’s frames even at their trendiest are usually classically inspired.
For my money, there are really only a handful of shapes and sizes a man needs to consider when picking out a pair of bins. Shapes that have stood the test of time, but still look relevant and have a slightly modern edge are usually my pick, and I’ll admit I do have a bias towards rounded frames. For the most part I find that rectangular frames often get too close to the sport-shades category, although there are some really amazing pairs out there.
For everyday, get-up-and-go glasses I can’t imagine a better shape than a variation on the basic aviator. Whether you prefer a classic metal frame, a larger plastic frame, or as I do, a combination of the two, you simply can’t go wrong. Because of the rounded tops and tapered bottoms, as long as you buy them the right size, they flatter most face shapes. Maybe if you have an especially heart-shaped face you should steer clear, but even then I would think you could find some that work. The biggest mistake most people make though is getting the scale all wrong – you should neither look like you are wearing doll glasses, nor have the bottoms touching your upper lip. The Tom Ford model above is my personal favorite, since the combination of metal and plastic keeps them light, modern looking, and a dash more sporty than the rest of what I typically wear.
Now if you’re not into the aviator thing, my next favorite everyday glasses are either the Ray-Ban Clubmaster or Wayfarer. Co-opted by hipsters, I’m seeing both of them everywhere these days. Although this is making them a bit ubiquitous, it’s really hard to go wrong with something this time-tested. I particularly like the way the Clubmaster’s top-heavy frames make a bold statement, but with a more jazz-age than rock n’ roll sensibility when compared to the Wayfarer.
If you are looking for something more rectangular (and haven’t stopped reading yet), Persol makes some really great examples – my first proper sunglasses were a rectangular pair of Persols that I still wear from time to time. But for me, the coolest thing Persol does, and has been doing for a very long time, is their 714 foldable sunglasses. Made famous by Steve McQueen (as many things were) wearing a special blue-lensed pair, the 714 has rounded lenses and foldable arms and bridge. You can get out of your car after a long drive in the country-side or down the coast (when I think they look best), and fold them up right into your shirt pocket.
Since it’s summer, I can’t not mention my favorite summer shades. If you’re lucky enough to be heading for the beach, nothing to my eye is cooler than a perfectly round frame that looks one part 60s French movie star, one part Bond villain. Put on a pair of Ralph Lauren’s aptly named “Round Sunglasses,” get yourself some henchman, soak up the sun, and conquer the world. Not bad plans for a weekend holiday if you ask me.