Of all the contemporary men’s style essentials, it’s men’s sunglasses that haven’t changed much in the last fifty years. So it’s no surprise that the very frames your old man (and his dad) were rocking in their style prime are sitting just as sharply on your smug face – still.
But sunglasses – like fashion as a whole – aren’t immune to change and style trends. Which is why we’ve tapped the expertise of Joshua Matta – optician and founder of eyewear boutique ONEPOINTSEVENFOUR – for the must-know men’s sunglass trends for 2016.
Needing an eyewear upgrade? Click through the slideshow for 20 of the very best brands of men’s sunglasses and where to buy them.
#1 Model It
What sunglass models should men be investing in in 2016? While the classic wayfarer will always be relevant, the flower-power round lens and a squared version of the aviator frame, are the biggest sunglass models in 2016. Made cool by pop-rock icons decades ago, frames remain retro, says Matta.
“In SS16, we still see many of the retrospective shapes of the Sixties and Seventies. More specifically, the rounds and the square aviator are returning.”
Since Ray Ban first developed the aviator (which saw stylish men look like air adventurers in their own right) it was the Sixties (think Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr) that sent the pilot frame sky high, before Freddie Mercury rocked it even better in the Eighties. And then there was Top Gun.
The clincher? Top Gun. But the aviator suits most face shapes, so its versatility made it a men’s style essential. And, adopted by most major sunglass brands, the aviator’s been reworked in many fashions: from chunky celluloid acetate to mirrored styles in thin metal with varying finishes.
In 2016, the key style is less ‘teardrop’, more ‘square’. And with sturdier metal construction that sits weightier in the nose. From beach shorts to spring suits, it’s pretty difficult to get aviators wrong.
Round frames were á la mode in the Twenties and Thirties. Yet most designs were made from destructible plate glass and alloy metals; unlike today’s high-end materials – be it acetate, titanium or silver.
Searching for a hint of quirk to bring to your contemporary cool? Check out round frames. But take note: their roundness makes them best suited for leaner faces and men with strong jaw lines, not the baby-faced kind.
#2 Look To Colour In Men’s Sunglasses
Colour is the biggest change agent in the new year. From grungy greys to bright uni-palette styles, colour should be embraced.
“The hues of 2016 – for both frames and lenses – are where we are seeing the trends,” says Matta.
While neutrals and earthen tortoiseshell will always be in style, key tones for 2016 include “yellow, red and silver,” adds Matta.
Tinted lenses replace the dominance of opaque lenses and the mirrored, reflective neons of last season remain but as less prevalent. Finally, blue and grey lens tones look to bring a masculine freshness back to eyewear, especially with silver titanium frames – the high-quality metal and even animal horn in some cases, giving shades that much-love luxury finish.
#3 Mix It
Bolder style guys should go for clash: bright-coloured frames with even bolder coloured lenses.
“We also find splash of colour with the Thom Browne red and gold round shades,” says Matta. “And the Cutler and Gross aviator with electric blue titanium inlay.”
While the warmer and lighter nuances are more suited to off-duty looks, they also add a pop of colour to a smart, neutral outfit – for the office or a wedding.
And once the shades are removed, you’re still left with your dapper outfit: black or grey or navy tailoring, perfect for work days.
Ultimately streamline, the ‘Tuttolente’ or ‘all lens’ sunglass model is made from a single sheet of material. The polar opposite of the aforementioned vintage styles, the one-frame-one-lens eyewear is futuristic in it aesthetic and simple, for the avant-garde minimalist.
“The Tuttolente collection this season consists of six popular silhouettes, each of them updated with a minimal, one-piece construction,” says Matta.
“Each pair is crafted from a single sheet of Zeiss nylon lenses, making up both the frame and arms of each piece, while the use of metal hardware keeps each of the components together.”
The ‘D’ frame sunglass shape is one of the key silhouettes for this style due to its modern design. The sharp and edgy shape is carried off well by gents with rounder faces, the eyewear’s angular lines providing balance.
Tuttolente cuts a street-chic look when worn with sneakers, jeans and t-shirt. And it’s suited to tailored outfits too, but only if you’re going for an urban-meets-gentlemen look.
Sold on a certain style? Click through the slideshow for the 20 best brands of men’s sunglasses (and where to get them) in 2016.