“So, What about sunglasses?
This is something that after winding down a style consultation with a guy, gets brought up as an afterthought.
Sunglasses are like the cherry on top of your outfit. I’ve seen an otherwise perfectly fine casual outfit, get spoiled by icing the top of it with something that looks like this…
Tips for Buying Men’s Shades
So, if you need sunglasses, it’s best to get something that won’t ruin the rest of your look. Like everything else I suggest around here, your sunglasses should meet some specific criteria…
They should be well-constructed. This is why I recommend a lot of heritage brands. They’ve stood the test of time and have a commitment to quality.
They should NOT be sporty. You're not Lance Armstrong. Wearing shades that are appropriate for the Tour De France while attending a Sunday Barbecue looks ridiculous. There’s a time and a place for everything. Just like you shouldn’t wear athletic shorts as part of a casual outfit, you shouldn’t wear athletic shades when doing stuff that isn’t athletic.
They should fit your face shape. Don’t get hung up on this. Guys go nuts over trying to figure out what works well for their face shape. If we were shopping for glasses, we would pay more attention to this as they’ll be on your face all day. Sunglasses are worn sporadically so this isn’t as big of a concern. Here’s the gist of things: If you have a rounder face shape, you want to offset that with something more angular. If you have a squarer, angular face shape, offset that with something rounder.
They shouldn’t be a Luxottica brand. Luxottica is the world’s largest eyewear manufacturer and they make most of the brands you’re familiar with like Ray-Ban, Persol and Oakley. This behemoth has scooped up some of my favorite brands in the past and done a disservice to their quality. Honestly, it’s not the end of the world. Their products are still, fine. But it would behoove you to explore some other options before defaulting to a Luxottica brand.
That’s really it. Now it’s time to find a pair you love from a brand you respect. Which, is actually the hard part.
The Best Brands For Sunglasses
Just like other accessories, sunglasses are very easy to make if you don’t have much of a commitment to quality. This has led to market saturation of cheap, read-to-snap sunglasses that are being peddled by “influencers”, Instagram ads, and purchased blog reviews. I’m fine with cheap sunglasses if they’re actually inexpensive, but some of these shades are being marked up incredibly high because it’s hard for consumers to know the difference.
To point you in the right direction, I wanted to give you a rundown of some of the niche eyewear brands I like.
Cutler & Gross
Founded in 1969, this brand makes some great looking, slightly eccentric frames, that get a lot of love in the fashion world. Starting in the mid three-hundreds.
A relatively newer brand founded in 2011, Garrett Leight is encapsulated California cool. These frames are pretty popular in Hollywood circles. I particularly like the slimmer frame designs here. Starting in the low three-hundreds.
Randolph opened up in 1973 with a focus on quality engineering. Made in the USA, Randolph’s hand-made frames involve a patented 200 step process. I first heard about these guys when I was searching for the frames Don Draper wore in Mad Men. Starting at around two-hundred.
The Bespoke Dudes Eyewear
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of the name, but they take their commitment to quality seriously. Rooted in Italian heritage, these hand-made frames are surprisingly affordable. Starting in the mid one-hundreds.
There are lots of other brands out there that make great sunglasses, but these are a sampling of the ones I like. Other notable brands are SALT, Moscot, David Kind, and Maui Jim (although their styling could be better). If you’re going Luxottica, I still like Oliver Peoples and Persol quite a bit and Ray-Ban is still a go-to option for many men.
Explore the brands, use the tips to find your perfect shades, and pull the trigger on a pair that will keep your outfit looking stylish.
As always, if you need assistance finding your perfect pair, you’ve got some help.
ps. I was recently quoted in New York Magazines “The Strategist”, discussing brands under $200. There are some other suggestions there that might help your search for the perfect pair of men’s sunglasses.