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The 4 Types of Sunglasses That Guys Should Know

The shape and style of sunglasses that work for one person don't necessarily work for another. These are the types to know.


The 4 Types of Sunglasses That Guys Should Know

The shape and style of sunglasses that work for one person don't necessarily work for another. These are the types to know.

It’s hard to overstate how important a nice pair of sunglasses can be in making or breaking an outfit. Sure, sunglasses ostensibly have a function in keeping the sun out of our eyes, but there’s no denying that they play an important part in fashion as well. Because of this, finding the right pair, and investing in a sunglasses that will last, is key to getting the most out of your eyewear.

Because sunglasses are often the last thing one puts on before heading out the door, they should be able to blend easily into an array of outfits, while also not running the risk of being too boring. For me, I’ve found that a classic silhouette has more longevity in my wardrobe than something more trendy. Because of this, I often steer more toward styles that not only stand the test of time, but also look great for a variety of situations.

If you’re struggling to find that one perfect pair of sunglasses, you’ll likely find the story that fits your face among these four styles. It’s not exhaustive, of course–there’s a whole world of styles and specialty use sunglasses out there. However, these classic forms fit most casual, and formal, affairs.



Aviator sunglasses were originally developed in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb, the company that later spun off Ray-Ban, for pilots to protect their eyes while flying. This was in response to pilots experiencing headaches and altitude sickness caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky. The original design featured a large, teardrop-shaped lens that covered the range of the human eye to prevent as much light as possible from entering. Over time, aviators have transcended their military origins (like many fashion trends that originated with the military) to become a staple fashion accessory for both men and women, immortalized by celebrities and film icons throughout the 20th century.

  • Large, teardrop-shaped lenses
  • Thin metal frames
  • Double or single bridge frames
  • Mirrored, smoked, or polarized lenses


Introduced by Ray-Ban in 1952, Wayfarer sunglasses marked a revolutionary departure from the metal eyewear of the past. The design was radical for the time, featuring a plastic frame with a trapezoidal shape. The Wayfarers gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming a symbol of youth and rebellion thanks to appearances in movies and on celebrities like James Dean and Audrey Hepburn. Throughout the years, the Wayfarer has remained a steadfast favorite for those looking to have a retro style that still screams cool nearly half a century on.

  • Thick, rectangular frames
  • Slight upward tilt at frame corners
  • Typically acetate or plastic
  • Wide variety of colors and patterns


Clubmaster sunglasses were first introduced in the 1940s and 1950s, having been inspired by the browline-style eyeglasses that were popular at the time. Due to their complementary appeal for men and women, as well as a variety of face shapes, they are one of the most enduring styles out there. Having had a Renaissance in the 1980s, Clubmaster popularity has never really cooled off, especially with period shows like Mad Men, which exposed a new audience to their retro charm.

  • Thick browline frame
  • Thin or absent frame along bottom
  • Combination of metal and acetate frame
  • Vintage or retro look



Wraparound sunglasses became popular in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly among athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Their design is focused on functionality, offering maximum coverage and protection from sunlight, wind, and debris. The style is characterized by a single curved lens that wraps around the face, extending to the temples. While perhaps not the most stylish frame out there for day to day use, wraparounds remain popular for those who are more concerned with functionality than fashion.

  • Single curved lens that wraps around
  • Lightweight, durable materials
  • Rubber grips on temples and bridge
  • Excellent coverage and sun protection
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