Reader Question

Reader Question: Help Me Find Sunglasses?

stay stylish, don't squint

How to pick out new sunglasses

Oh man. Reader mailbag time. Who’s excited? I am. I’ve also had three coffees this morning, and it’s only 11am! Yay iced coffees!!!!! Where were we? Oh right, reader mailbag.

This week, an SG devotee is looking for a nice pair of sunglasses for his big manly face. Reader Clay writes:

I am great with sunglasses; I never drop them, scratch them, or lose them, so I usually spare no expense when buying a new pair. Also, I wear them constantly, so needless to say, I value a great pair of shades more than any other accessory (although I don’t like thinking about them as an accessory).  I usually like what I might call “borderline flashy” sunglasses. Not like The Situation-flashy, because I am a young attorney and that’s usually frowned upon by the elders in my profession, but definitely shades that are kind of the centerpiece of what I have going on.

I have read your column in the past where you have referred to how much you like a pair of Wayfarers on a guy, so I know you are a big fan of those; however, I feel confident in saying, even without an expert opinion, that Wayfarers DO NOT look good on me.  I am a bigger than average guy (6’2, 225), so I have a little wider face and bigger cheeks than someone who should be wearing Wayfarer’s, in my opinion. That being said, can you recommend a pair of sunglasses that you think look good on a guy?

I’m sorry, are you saying you want me to go window shopping for an expensive-ass pair of sunglasses for you? Well, call me the Big Bopper, because you kno-o-o-o-w-w-w what I like.

What? So, um, anyways…sunglasses! I totally agree that your shades act as so much more than an accessory – or maybe I just have a problem with the term “accessory.” For a guy putting some intention into his outfit (like I think everyone should!), every piece counts. From the bit players like shoes, belts and shades, to the starring role status of shirts and pants. And you can tell when a guy considers accessories as an afterthought, versus when they’re thought about as part of an entire outfit.

It’s a great start that you know what *doesn’t* work on you – while I do love them, Wayfarers aren’t for everyone. The last thing you want is a “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” situation happening on your face. If frames are too small, they’re too small; no shame in that. For example, my mom has a huge head (she wears a bigger hat size than my dad!) so also is not a great candidate for Wayfarers if that makes you feel any better (though it may have just made her feel worse. Sorry Mom! your head’s not that big, don’t worry).

I think I just am more used to Wayfarers because there’s a preponderance of small-ish guys who are the perfect candidates for Wayfarers wandering my neighborhood at all times. Knowing you’re taller and more solidly built, though, let’s go for some sunglasses with a little more heft. I’ve picked out a few here, all available from Nordstrom, that I think you might like. Happy sunning!

Lacoste Plastic Aviators, $98

Sure, Wayfarers look good on a lot of people, but Aviators are even more universal. The latest iteration of this classic style comes in cool plastic frames. Super chic, kind of porn producer-y, but in a good way as long as you’re not pairing them with gold chains.

Ermenegildo Zegna Navigators, $325

An update on Aviators is a “Navigator” style. (Next up will be “GPS backseat driver” style, perhaps?) The basic structure is the same, but the glasses are a little wider set with more squar-ish angles. These are great “man’s man” sunglasses – masculine without feeling fashion-y.

Ray Bans, $145

Okay, hear me out. These are bold, yes, but I believe in you. These Ray Bans are not for wallflowers, but you, Clay – you are not a wallflower. A throwback to a Mad Men era, you can look totally modern in these shades so long as you’re not pairing them with a fedora and the morning paper tucked under your arm as you make your way into the city from the suburbs. Wearing them will make people describe you in terms like “snappy” and “classic” and “dashing.” If you’re looking for a little sizzle without going into The Situation-territory, these are a great option.

Also, the “elders” at your law firm will love them. They’ll probably invite you out to steak dinners and golf games and all the other stereotypical lawyerly leisure activities I see on television.

Persol, $360

I’ve talked about these Persol sunglasses here before, so refer back for my sunglass slobbering. All that needs to be said is, if they were cool enough for Steve McQueen, they’re definitely cool enough for you.