Remember Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun?
What about John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers?
Mister White of Reservoir Dogs.
If you had to name one accessory they sported in these movies, what would it be?
One unforgettable detail…
That’s right – sunglasses!
You can instantly elevate any outfit by wearing a great pair of sunglasses.
The only catch?
You need to make sure the sunglasses suit you.
Whether you are keen on a pair of Aviators or Wayfarers, Wrap-Arounds or Buffalo Horn frames – the information below will help you pick the right choice of shades.
Before we get to the part where the perfect pair of sunglasses makes you look like a movie star – let’s talk about why you need to wear them in first place...
- Your eyes require protection from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays during the day.
- Sunglasses offer a defense against dirt and debris when you are riding a bicycle or out for a jog.
- They reduce eyestain and the formation of wrinkles caused by squinting in bright light.
- Worn at the appropriate time – sunglasses help you see better.
Now – let’s talk about the details you need to know before purchasing a pair of sunglasses.
1. Quality Sunglasses – Understanding The Parts
It is important to understand the terminology of sunglasses.
The various components that make up the anatomy of your sunglasses affect how they fit and look on your face.
- Top Bar: The bar that connects the top part of the lenses over the bridge. Not all glasses have one. The classic aviators usually have a distinctive top bar.
- Bridge: The area between the lenses of the sunglasses that goes over the nose and supports the weight of the frame. The bridge plays a significant role in determining the fit of your frame.
- Nosepads: Plastic pieces attached to the inside part of the frame. Nosepads may be the smallest visible component of your sunglasses – but they play a significant role n ensuring comfort and fit in holding your glasses in place. Almost all nose pads on sunglasses can be adjusted.
- Frame Rim: The frame holds the lenses and is the first thing you look for when selecting a pair because it determines your visual style.
- Temple: The arms of the sunglasses. The temple runs along the sides of your face and extends over your ears. It keeps the sunglasses securely in place.
- Temple Tip: The plastic or silicone covering that cover the ends of the temples. Also called an earpiece – they ensure comfort and relieve the pressure of the sunglasses resting on the top of your ears. They also keep sunglasses from falling off by holding them in place behind your ear.
- Hinge: These tiny mechanisms do a whole lot to ensure maximum comfort in the fit of your sunglasses. They connect the frame rim to the temples and open up the temples according to the width of your face or allow for the sunglasses to fold inwards when not in use.
- Joint: The part of the frame that connects the temple to the frame rim.
2. Classic Styles Of Men's Sunglasses
There are well over 50 different styles of sunglasses for men available on the market today.
The most popular types of men’s sunglasses styles are listed below.
- Aviator Sunglasses: Originally designed for the cockpit – this classic style from the 1930’s is characterized by a double bridge and a metal frame with teardrop shaped lenses. Aviators were a big hit with pilots because they offer unrestricted peripheral views.
- Wayfarers Sunglasses: An iconic shape introduced by Ray-Ban – this versatile and timeless style has been around since the 50’s. The trapezoidal, narrow shape has a rock ‘n’ roll charm to it.
- Round Frame Sunglasses: Considered a vintage look – circular lenses and frames are a trademark of musicians such as John Lennon, Elton John, and creatives the world over.
- Clubmaster Sunglasses: Another classic style, these retro frames have rounded lenses with plastic on top and a wire rim around the bottom.
- Wrap Around Sunglasses: This style is used most in sports and outdoor activities to protect the eyes from sunlight on the sides of the sunglasses. A classic twist on this style is a pair of Matsuda round frames with enclosed sides – made famous by Sarah Connor in the movie The Terminator.
3. How To Choose The Right Sunglasses For Your Face Shape
4. Frame Style Types
The choice of a frame style depends on the look you’re trying to achieve and how careful you are in handling your sunglasses:
- Full Frame: The lenses are completely surrounded by a metal or plastic frame. Preferably for a classic look and to accentuate your eyes.
- Half Frame: Only half the lens is covered by a frame. The rest is left open. More delicate than full frame glasses.
- Frameless: Also referred to as rimless – the lenses are attached to the temple without any encircling frame. Stylish but require delicate handling.
5. Frame Material Types
Selecting a frame material that suits your purpose is critical. It plays a huge role in the safety, comfort and functionality of your new glasses.
- Molded Plastic – Available in multiple colors, plastic frames are generally the cheapest frames available and the quality tends to be poor. Great for sports.
- Acetate – Compared to a standard plastic frame, acetate frames are stronger, lighter and more flexible. Available in a huge variety of textures and colors, they are made from renewable sources
- Metal – Metal frames are malleable, corrosion-resistant and adjustable.They tend to be less durable and more expensive than plastic frames. Perfect for those who are rough with their sunglasses.
- Natural Material: Buffalo Horn, Tortoise Shell and Wood – These frames are hand-made, organic, durable and tend to be expensive. Great alternatives for people with allergies and forsunglasses that have a vintage look.
6. How To Select The Right Lens Material
Lenses come in a variety of shapes based on the frame of the sunglasses. Square, round, rectangular and oval shaped lenses are common. The lenses on teardrop aviators and wrap-around sunglasses for sport have a non-distinctive shape.
Lenses are typically made of:
- Optical Glass – Optical Glass Lenses provide distortion-free vision. Optical glass is scratch resistant and extremely durable. They tend to be more expensive but the downside of glass is it spiders on impact.
- Plastic Lenses – Lighter and more shatter resistant than glass. A plastic lens is thicker and bulkier and requires an extra coating for scratch proof and UV protection.
- Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate is lightweight with a high level of optical clarity. It is up to 50 times more impact resistant than optical glass. The disadvantage is a lower level of scratch resistance.
- SR-91 Lens – Offers 100% broad spectrum UV protection and combines the superior optical quality of optical glass with the lightweight strength of polycarbonate. It has waterproof, scratch-resistant and anti-glare properties.
7. Select Lens Colors & Tint For Sunglasses
When sunglasses are made the lenses are treated with UV-absorbing chemicals which block UV light. These chemicals are colorless. Tinting the lenses with a color filters light in different ways. Some tints do a better job at blocking light than others.
Different lens colors provide an array of different looks and cause your eyes to react differently to varying light.
- Gray – Gray sunglass lenses are color-neutral and provide crisp contrast. Made to cut glare while reducing eyestrain, these lenses are suitable for driving.
- Yellow/Orange – These lenses provide excellent contrast and depth perception. They work well in low light conditions because of their ability to amplify available light. Ideal for skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports.
- Brown/Amber – Brown tints enhance the quality of light. They cut out neutral brown tones and give the wearer increased depth perception and high contrast. These lenses work best in cloudy to sunny conditions. Perfect for fishing, hunting, cycling and water sports.
- Green – Green tints filter some blue light and reduce glare. They transmit all colors equally, offering visual sharpness and high contrast. Shades of green also tend to reduce eyestrain in bright light. Green tints are suitable for precision sports such as baseball, tennis and golf.
- Purple/Red – Red tints increase contrast by blocking blue light. These tints have a reputation of being soothing to the eyes and more comfortable than others for long duration use. They also help with visibility while driving because they reduce glare.
- Blue – These lenses filter our white light and enhance color recognition while subtly reducing glare. Blue shades are worn mostly for aesthetic reasons. They are best used for activities on water and around snow.
8. Protect Your Eyes by Selecting The Right Lens Coating
Layers of coatings are added to lenses for extra protection from sunlight.
- Polarized Lenses – Polarized lenses protect your eyes from the glare caused by reflective light. Particularly suitable for water sports, cycling, and driving where there tends to be a high degree of reflective glare.
- Photochromic – These lenses adjust automatically to changing light intensities. They get darker on bright days and lighter in low light conditions.
- Gradient Lensens – Gradient lenses are tinted from the top down. The top of the lens is darkest. These lenses are suitable for driving because overhead sunlight is blocked while allowing light to pass through the bottom half of the lens.
- Mirrored or Flash Coating – This refers to a reflective film applied to the outside surfaces of some lenses that are highly desirable for people with high sensitivity to bright light. They reduce glare by reflecting much of the light that hits the lens surface.
9. How To Care For Your Sunglasses
When you find a pair of sunglasses – it is easy to become attached to them. Especially in the summer months – when you are likely to wear them everyday. Sunglass lenses become dirty and smudged with daily wear.
Here are some tips to help you keep them in good condition.
- A microfiber cloth has far more fibers than an ordinary cloth – which makes this synthetic polymer cloth idea for cleaning delicate surfaces. Use a soft microfiber cloth to clean the lens and frame of your sunglasses.
- Avoid using paper towels because the wood content in the paper will scratch the lenses. Breathing on the lens and using your shirt to clean it is a bad idea too. You’re just grinding dust and fibers into the lenses.
- Avoid using household detergents and soaps that have added lotions to clean your sunglasses. Glass cleaners are highly corrosive and can cause damage to your lenses. Clear dishwashing soap (like Dawn) works best.
- The best way to clean your sunglasses? Gently rub them with a lens cleaning cloth and a liquid cleaner specifically designed for eyewear lenses, or with a pre-moistened lens towelette.
- Always store your sunglasses in a sturdy case when you’re not using them.
- Check the screws on your sunglasses regularly. If they are loose – tighten them using a small screwdriver.
You will have to shop around before finding a pair that fits your requirements.
If you want your shades to be noticed – buy a classic pair of sunglasses that won't go out of style soon.