The Right Frames For You
Whether jetting off for a spring break in the Med or tackling Alpine pistes for a spot of late-season skiing, sunglasses are an indispensable part of any modern gent’s style regimen and can quickly become one of your signature pieces.
Today we take a look at five key sunglass styles to consider for spring/summer 2014 – there’s one to suit every type of man, from the traditionalist to the modernist…
Mr Classic: The Wayfarer
Since their introduction by Ray-Ban in 1956, no other style of sunglasses has inspired the field of eyewear design more than the iconic Wayfarer.
Copied, reinvented and emulated, this acetate-framed silhouette was considered truly innovative in the 1950s, not only due to its breakaway from traditional round lenses, but also through its use of new materials; previously, most sunglasses had been crafted from alloy metals.
The creation of U.S. optical visionary Raymond Stegeman, the Wayfarer – with its square, angular tortoiseshell frames and dark lenses – was developed in response to the modernist movement sweeping through architecture and interior design during the fifties.
Standing the test of time, the Wayfarer remains as popular today as ever – these are one pair of sunnies that you’ll never want to be without.
Aside from the original Ray-Ban design, numerous optical brands offer high-spec interpretations of the Wayfarer shape.
Crafted using technical plastics, laser-cut woods and high-performance lenses, these modern designs will last for decades if properly cared for, making them the perfect for the Mr Classics of this world.
Some brands worth consideration include: Sheriff & Cherry, Shwood and Bailey Nelson.
- Ray-ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Sheriff&cherry Rainbow G11 Sunglasses
- Shwood Canby Walnut Pendleton Basketmaker Sunglasses
- Aj Morgan Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Shwood Canby Sunglasses
- Sheriff&cherry G11 Blue Sunglasses
- Carrera 6000/l Wayfarer Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Original Wayfarer Sunglasses
Mr Vintage: Round Frame Sunglasses
With the current focus on heritage within menswear, it should come as no surprise that eyewear is also feeling the design influence of yesteryear.
Round frame styles hark back to the early days of sun opticals, when the most logical (and easiest) shape to fashion for sunglasses was circular.
Round frames were the de rigueur shape in the twenties and thirties – it was during these decades that sunglasses became more widespread, with advancements in technology and production methods making eyewear more accessible and desirable.
While early designs were made from flimsy plate glass, Bakelite and alloy metals, today’s sturdy styles are crafted from high-grade materials, combining the best of fashion and function.
Guaranteed to lend a hint of quirky vintage cool to any look, round frames are best suited to gents with strong jaw lines, as circular lenses tend to have a softening effect.
A couple of suggestions for exceptional round frame sunnies include Eye Respect’s perfectly balanced DC style and Ace & Tate’s honey-tone Pierce sunglasses.
- Dc Crystal & Tort Sunglasses
- Thom Browne Round-frame Acetate And Metal Sunglasses
- Dries Van Noten Sunglasses Copper Round Sunglasses 191028
- Pierce Honey
- Giorgio Armani Frames Of Life Round-frame Sunglasses
- Oliver Spencer Sid Round-frame Tortoiseshell Sunglasses
- Illesteva Leonard Half/half Round-frame Acetate Sunglasses
- Illesteva Milan Acetate And Metal Round-frame Sunglasses
- Dries Van Noten Sunglasses Tortoiseshell D-frame Sunglasses 191034
Mr Retro: Aviator Sunglasses
First developed in the 1930s to protect pilots’ eyes from glaring sunlight while flying at altitude, aviator sunglasses are as iconic as the classic Wayfarer.
Another design credited to Ray-Ban, the style’s thin metal frames and large tear drop-shaped lenses were designed to cover the entire eye socket area, preventing as much light as possible from entering the eye.
Aviators first rose to prominence in 1942, when General Douglas MacArthur was photographed landing on a beach in the Philippines during a military expedition against the Japanese.
The style became an overnight success in the 1960s, when Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of the Beatles were seen sporting them, with popularity burgeoning further in the 1980s thanks to Queen’s Freddie Mercury.
An undeniably masculine, retro style, the aviator has been reincarnated and reworked in many guises, with chunky celluloid acetate and mirrored styles on offer today.
Extremely versatile, the aviator suits most face-shapes and has the masterful ability to go with almost anything. From casual summer wear to spring suiting, it’s pretty difficult to put a foot wrong in a pair of aviators.
Aside from original purveyors Ray-Ban, some other brands worth seeking out for aviator-inspired designs include: Linda Farrow, Carrera and L.G.R.
- Cutler And Gross Aviator-style Sunglasses 144766
- Carrera 82 Aviator Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Aviator Sunglasses
- Carrera 56 Aviator Sunglasses
- L.g.r Massawa Acetate Aviator Sunglasses
- Linda Farrow X Kris Van Assche Kva21 Black Classic Aviator Sunglasses
- Persol Gunmetal Aviator Sunglasses
- Linda Farrow Aviator Sunglasses 142398
- L.g.r Massawa Acetate Aviator Sunglasses
Mr Contemporary: D-Frame Sunglasses
Eyewear designers are now employing the use of digital platforms to create contemporary, precision designs using ingenious new materials such as thermo-set polyamide, which is lighter than traditional acetate and titanium yet exceptionally strong and flexible.
The ‘D’ frame shape is one of the key silhouettes of modern sunglass design, and is being produced in a wide range of variations and materials for SS14.
Identified by their square/rectangular, sometimes oversized shape, D-frames have an undeniably futuristic feel and stand out from traditional eyewear styles.
Chunky statement D-frames are carried off well by gents with rounder faces, as the shape’s angular lines provide balance.
For D-frame sunglasses, luxury optical label RetroSuperFuture is a great port of call – this uber-cool brand offers an artful selection of modernist styles, including a superb range of D-frames to suit any Mr Contemporary.
Other brands worth a look are Mykita and Han Kjøbenhavn.
- Wallace – Brown
- Oliver Peoples Bernardo Rectangular Frame Matte-acetate Sunglasses
- Han Kjøbenhavn Union Horn
- Lina Farrow Kris Van Assche 44
- Retrosuperfuture Black Flat Top Francis Acetate Sunglasses
- Saint Laurent Bold Frame Sunglasses 182050
- Mykita Wyatt Rectangular-frame Metal Sunglasses
- Giorgio Armani Havana Frames Of Life Sunglasses
- Cutler And Gross Square-frame Tortoiseshell Acetate Sunglasses
Mr Sporty: The Wrap-Around
Wrap-around frames, with their curved, sweeping shape, are favoured by sportsman due to the superb eye coverage they provide during active pursuits.
Making their debut in the 1960s, wrap-arounds are distinguished by their semi-circular lenses that sit close to the face, with the purpose of preventing fine particles and dirt from entering the eye, while also providing an unbroken field of vision.
These protective goggle-like qualities make them the default eyewear for sports such as skiing, where protection from flying snow/ice and clear vision are essential.
Crafted from lightweight, high-performance polyamides and metal alloys, and often fitted with glare-deflecting mirrored lenses, wrap-arounds serve both a practical and aesthetic role in the skier’s repertoire.
The brand that firmly planted the wrap-around silhouette on the eyewear map was Oakley. Founded in 1970s California, the label offers a wide range of specialist eyewear for the modern sportsman.
Other reputable brands producing wrap-arounds include Persol and Cébé.
- Asos Wrap Around Sunglasses With Colour Mirror Lens
- Oakley Straight Jacket Wraparound Sunglasses
- Oakley Bottle Rocket Half-frame Sunglasses
- Asos Wrap Around Sunglasses
- Ray-ban Polarized Wraparound Sunglasses
- Oakley Wiretap
We’ve all bought flimsy £5 versions off eBay, but in the long run, a pair of classic, quality sunglasses are a worthwhile investment.
Not only will a timeless, well-made design serve you well for decades, the high-spec clarity the lenses provide will also improve your vision and ensure the precious health of your eyes.
What are your favourite style of sunglasses and why? Feel free to air your thoughts in the comments section below…