Sunglasses can make or break a look, so let Idle HQ give you a run down of the most iconic styles of all time, so that you can get it right without all the effort. Read more Men’s Style Guide features and check out our Store.
If you live in England, trendy sunglasses might not seem like much of a necessity. Granted, you don't need them to protect your eyes from the grey, muggy weather but if you own a timeless pair then there need only be a hint of sunshine before you can slide them on. Whilst having a vast number of accessories isn't necessary for the modern gentleman, having a trusty pair of sunglasses will always come in handy. Choosing the best looking sunglasses for guys can be tricky, as each style suits a different face shape. Some styles are so legendary that everyone wants to give them a go, but you have to take in to consideration the shape of the frames and lenses before trying to pull off the same style as your favourite Hollywood star. We've found the top sunglasses for men - all the different styles, brands and trends that you need to know about so you can confidently invest in a truly iconic pair.
Different Sunglass Styles
There are more cool sunglass styles for men available today than ever before, so we've narrowed it down to the four most iconic styles for you. Unless you're a keen sportsman or biker, one of these styles is all that you need; they're classic for a reason so don't be put off by the fact that everyone's wearing them.
This style originated in the 1930's and, as the name suggests, they were made for pilots. The most distinctive features of aviator sunglasses are their thin wire frames and a double bridge. Dark lenses which are usually two to three times the size of the eye socket are also a key feature that prevents too much light from entering the eyes whilst providing peripheral views. The aviator style was originally developed by Ray-Ban, and now the lenses come in classic, square and teardrop shape. They are also the only style of sunglasses that will suit every face shape.
These are sometimes referred to as browline glasses, due to the way they mimic how the eyebrows frame the face. This style was hugely popular in the 1950's and 60's, making them a classic yet slightly retro option. Clubmaster glasses have been most famously associated with human rights activist Malcolm X, although they later went on to appear in TV and film. They are characterised by their rounded lenses and their distinctive frames which consist of a plastic upper, and a thin metal rim on the lower half. It is the bold plastic upper which accentuates the eyebrow line.
This style emerged in the 1950's, and was first manufactured by Ray-Ban. Wayfarer frames are a trapezoidal shape, which Ray-Ban created by using the newly-invented, moldable material, acetate. They are sometimes heralded as the best selling design of all time. Wayfarers were initially popular as they were radically different to other available styles; since the 50's they have slumped in popularity multiple times but they always make a comeback, proving themselves to be a classic.
Round frame sunglasses are another style considered to be retro, even though they became popular as late as the 1990's. They're smaller and more minimalist than the sunglasses of previous decades, and they are probably the only thing to be associated with both Elton John and grunge. Today, round frames with tinted lenses are hugely popular although the style has mostly been adopted by hipsters.
When it comes to eyewear, it's important to buy from a reputable brand if you want value and durability. Here's a brief overview of some of the top men's famous fashion sunglasses brands out there.
Armani: Italian fashion house Armani is well known for their luxury goods, and their sunglasses are no different. They're a high-end product with a high-end price tag, but the quality materials and manufacturing make the products comfortable, durable, extremely stylish and one of the world's seriously cool sunglasses brands.
Oakley: Oakley, Inc. is best known for its sportswear, but in the 1980's they moved on from ski goggles to sunglasses. The brand is hugely popular amongst athletes, with numerous sportsmen choosing to wear them during the 2012 London Olympics. Their Radarlock sunglasses block 100% of UV rays and have a super lightweight frame that helped athletes to win a combined 107 medals.
Ray-Ban: This is the brand most synonymous with sunglasses, seeing as it's been around for almost 100 years. Ray-Ban has had a continual influence on pop culture through it's presence in the world of music and on the silver screen. They also make use of the latest technologies to ensure their designs are relevant to the modern gentleman.
Some of the most iconic movies of all time also featured some pretty iconic sunglasses; here we give you the lowdown on our top three. Spoiler alert: they're all Ray-Bans.
Dirty Harry Sunglasses
Clint Eastwood walked on to the big screen 45 years ago wearing the Ray-Ban 4089 Balorama. His character, Harry Callahan, was undeniably badass and there is no shame in thinking that sporting a pair of these sunglasses will make you look equally badass. The frames are a curved, black nylon and the lenses are a green-tinted crystal. The lenses also come polarized, which helps to reduce glare and protect the eyes from UV rays, making them perfect for driving.
Reservoir Dogs Sunglasses
The opening sequence of Reservoir Dogs is one Tarantino scene that everyone wants to re-enact. Everyone is sporting Ray-Bans, namely the Ray-Ban Wayfarers, the Ray-Ban Predators and the Ray-Ban Clubmasters. If you and your mates all grab yourselves a pair to wear on a Friday night, it's not guaranteed that you'll have the same suave sophistication as Mr Blonde, but you can try your best.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer: This style has changed a lot since the early 90's, due to a slump in popularity. The frames are now smaller and less angular, and are made from a lighter plastic.
Ray-Ban Predator: This series contains a number of styles, all with slight variations; but they tend to suit most face shapes. Sunglasses from this series have also been worn by the likes of Will Smith, in Men In Black.
Ray-Ban Clubmaster: These are a nod to the 50's; the vintage inspiration makes them a timeless, yet sleek, style.
Taxi Driver Sunglasses
Robert De Niro donned the Ray-Ban Caravan for this legendary role. This style has since been re-issued with updated metal frames. The square lenses and frames are a nice alternative to classic Aviators; the lenses come in a range of colours including violet, orange and green, meaning you can really make a statement.
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