In case your A/C bill hasn’t told you yet, it’s summer time. Well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. And summer is the season of sunscreen and short sleeves and socks as little as possible, and…to wear sunglasses. Unfortunately, many men consider sunglasses to be more fashion accessories, and therefore optional, or even frivolous. But there are actually several health benefits to wearing sunglasses, particularly polarized lenses, when spending a day outside: they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and blue light, as well as protecting the skin around your eyes and preventing wrinkles and “crow’s feet.” Furthermore, they allow you to see better when outside, helping you to better operate a car, motorcycle, bicycle, boat, lawnmower, backhoe, grill, etc.
So, we at ManMade think they’re an essential, and while we’re advocates for stepping up from the $3.99 pair from the gas station, we don’t think you’ve got to drop a whole week’s worth of pay, either. So – five classic, masculine pairs of sunglasses, all under $100. Enjoy the sunshine!
#1) Rayban Wayfarer II: RB 2132 What you think of when you think of “sunglasses.” Their design in 1956 was a major break with the metal eyeglass-inspired designs of the past, and their radical new shape became a “a mid-century classic to rival Eames chairs and Cadillac tail fins.”
If you go to the fancy store at the mall, they’ll ask between $175 and $300 for a pair, but you can find them online for under $100. You’ll likely want the redesigned RB 2132 model, from 2001, which are slightly smaller and sit a little less angled on the face. Most men will want the 55-18-145mm size: you can find them right now at for only $76.50, including free shipping, from Amazon.
#2) American Optics Square Frame Avaiators The other thing you think of when thinking “sunglasses.” Originally designed for actual aviators in the military and commercial airlines, their very dark lenses typically let in only 20%. These are the sunglasses you’ve seen on The Beatles in the 60s, Queen and Led Zepplin in the 70s, the entire cast of Top Gun in the 80s, every action star in the 90s, and the Don Draper-style 1960s comeback of the late 00s. Pick them up at Amazon or any Army/Navy surplus store for only $50.
#3) Warby Parker Jasper Online goodniks Warby Parker, known for their willingness to ship you five pairs to try on for free and for their Toms-alike “buy a pair, give a pair” philosophy also do polarized sunglasses, and they do them well. They have a few Wayfarer alike Buddy Holly/Elvis Costello glasses, but our pick is the warmer, rounder Toppers. There smaller size (48mm) would look great on those will thinner or shorter faces, and there molded shapes balance the casual/dress look perfectly, going equally well with jeans or a suit. You can also try/buy Warby Parkers in many brick-and-mortar shops these days, so there’s no reason not to give philanthropy a shot. $95.00 at WarbyParker.com, including polarized lenses.
#4) Jamison Classic Retro Sunglasses A lighter, dressier pair to add once you’ve chosen either a Wayfarer or Aviator style for everyday wear. The warm brown is a good alternative to sleek black, and we appreciate the vintage-styling without looking overtly hip. $80 from Fossil.
#5) Banana Republic Corbin A longer, more rectagular option for a more contemporary urban look. These are more for the intentional sunglass wearer who’s willing to say, “Hey! Check it out. I’m wearing intentional sunglasses,” but they’re neither loud nor overly “designed.” Definitely more for dressing up than catching a fish, but we wouldn’t fault you for wearing them then either. If it works, it works. And they seem like they do. $78.00 at Banana Republic.
[Thanks to Jérôme Coppée for the top image. Licensed under Creative Commons]
This ManMade post was original published in May 2012.