Out came the sun and dried up all my ego
March 27, 2012 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me find sunglasses that won't make me look like I'm trying really hard

I am an early-twenties male, and for the entirety of my short life, I have struggled to find sunglasses that I can feel confident in. I always feel like sunglasses make me look like I'm trying very hard to be cool. I know that a large part of this is in my head, but I believe that a part of this is also the fault of the 90s (and possibly the Matrix Trilogy).

Does anyone have recommendations for sunglasses which won't me look like a tool? For me, that means no aviators, no plastic hipster frames, nothing too dark or too reflective. Maybe something unusual/unique/interesting, but also nothing too outlandish (bright colors are a no-no for me, and no sun-monocles or anything like that).

Is there an entire genre or brand of sunglasses that I have just never heard of that might fit this description? Did you see a pair once in a thrift shop that you can describe to me? A store that might have something like this? Help my eyes survive the summer!
posted by taltalim to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I stole a pair similar to these from my brother and I like them a lot. They cover my whole field of vision without making me look like a jersey shore impersonator. They are also low-key and work well with business casual dress for work but at $20 I don't worry about wear and tear.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:29 PM on March 27, 2012

My philosophy of sunglasses is "nothing that looks like it belongs in the Matrix" and "nothing that looks like it belongs on Guy Fieri". Anything sporty reads "tool" to me much more, so I think that leaves the classics. It doesn't get any more classic than Aviators and Wayfarers. Not sure why you ruled those out. Think Don Draper or Blues Brothers, not Olsen sister. If they fit your face, they'll look good.
posted by supercres at 3:04 PM on March 27, 2012 [16 favorites]

Echoing Supercres. Go with classic aviators (not too reflective, of course - more of an amber/brown lens) or wayfarers.
posted by amaire at 3:09 PM on March 27, 2012

This might be a tough one for internet advice, as different styles suit different face shapes. It sounds like you know what you want, really-- or rather, have a good idea of what you don't want, and that's actually a good starting place for buying sunglasses.

A mall shop or an independent sunglasses store will have people who are trained (or mostly trained) to find you a pair that suits your face, so you may want to go that route. I will say this, though-- for many years I went the brand name route with Burberry and Prada, and the pair that I didn't lose I got bored with after a year.

A valid alternative, though, is something my husband introduced me to-- what we call "gas station sunglasses". These typically max out at about $20 and have the advantage that you can go to a gas station where you've never been before, try them on all you want and not care who sees, and if you don't like any, just move on to the next gas station until you find some you like. That way, when you sit on them or your puppy gets a hold of them or you just plain aren't into them anymore, you can easily justify replacing them. Plus every road trip means new options! And very much agreeing with supercres and amaire- don't rule out Aviators. They're pretty sexy.
posted by mireille at 3:14 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I get where you're coming from. I think i'ts more about the lenses than the shape, actually. As mentioned above, aviators can be classic, but not if they're totally dark and really reflective. Compare this to this or this.

I have also found, personally, that the best sunglasses are faint enough that you can see decently indoors, but they still do a good job of protecting you from the sun. They don't hide your face, so they look less outlandish and you don't look like a wannabe movie star.

I think sunglasses get noticed much less than you think they do. Just find something proportional to your face size--nothing giant if you have a tiny head, nothing tiny if you're huge. Avoid crazy shapes like beady John Lennon circles or Poetry-Slam rectangles.

Then wear with confidence--people notice and care way less than you think. If friends mention them, it's only because they know what you usually wear and see that it's something different. After a while it will be forgotten.
posted by brenton at 3:28 PM on March 27, 2012

Not a guy but over many years I've noticed that Ray-Bans always seem to hit the mark -- not too trendy, fine looking sunglasses.
posted by bearwife at 3:37 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've always struggled with finding sunglasses that look effortless too. I've settled on thick-framed aviators as a style that doesn't make me look too douchey or hipster.
posted by erstwhile at 3:46 PM on March 27, 2012

I always liked Ray-Ban Clubmaster. Very classy, understated look, but my Welsh head is shaped like an Irish potato so I can't pull it off, sadly. I ended up having to go with a different style with a wider frame. Good luck!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:57 PM on March 27, 2012

Thanks for this. You just reminded me to search through my old amazon orders and get another pair of these bad boys. $4.97! You can't beat that. Buy them, you'll look awesome.
posted by zephyr_words at 3:59 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

i too have trouble finding sunglasses, mostly because i have very specific needs re: making art outside and getting good color balance, and not having the frames in my field of vision (mostly i wear old-man blue blockers)...with style being not such an issue for me. however, i did manage to find glasses with both good form and function...but at a price.
on a recent trip to vegas i stumbled upon the sunglasses at the Porsche design store...while a lot of them are quite matrixy, they mostly just oozed understated cool. i found one pair that still haunts my dreams...all the practical requirements i need (plus optical multicoating!) without making me look like i just had cataract surgery. all for only $300 :-[ (i think i do have to go back and get them...grar!)
posted by sexyrobot at 4:14 PM on March 27, 2012

Don't let hipsters or jocks or Neo affect what you think about a particular style, especially if you love it and it looks great on you. Honestly, aviators and Wayfarers are very classic, and they're common enough that nobody will think you're trying particularly hard if you wear them. If you're dead set against those, Oakley is a pretty unpretentious brand with a wide variety of styles, while Silhouette sunglasses are super minimalist. On the higher end of things, you can't go wrong with European brands like Mykita or ic! berlin, which are often carried in indie eyewear boutiques. They are exceptionally well made, tasteful, and just ever so slightly different from American eyewear brands.
posted by peripathetic at 4:21 PM on March 27, 2012

Go classic and wear them without irony. Randolph Engineering.
posted by vers at 4:39 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Funny you should mention looking like a tool. I've made a habit of getting sunglasses from places that sell tools. There are an amazing number of frame styles; they tend to be cheap so you can get five or six pairs and pick the pair most appropriate to what you're doing/wearing; they let in less glare due to side shielding (thanks ANSI Z87.1 compliance) and they're priced more like a consumable and less like a durable good.

Yes, some of them are trying a little too hard. And some of them are exactly the post cataract surgery look the sexyrobot describes, but couple pair of those is great for whenever you don't really care how you look and want to keep the sun out of your eyes - and if they fall off your face and you run over them with the riding mower (or whatever) they were $1.65.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:03 PM on March 27, 2012

Wayfarers (and knockoffs--you can get perfectly good ones at Target) are good for almost anyone--they are classic and don't look like you're affecting a style. They are currently trendy, but if you get a pair with black or tortoise frames (love tortoise), you'll look great.
posted by elizeh at 7:14 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing Wayfarers. But if you think they're a bit hipsterish at the moment, you could try the more subdued "New Wayfarer."
posted by mullacc at 12:12 AM on March 28, 2012

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