Clockwise from top right:
1) American Optical Original Pilots with Bayonet Temples and Polarized Lens. These are the sunglasses that your trad daddy grandfather wore if he was in the service. American Optical and competitor Randolph Engineering both have had the contract for the US Military. The “bayonet” temples are streamlined in a way to allow for easy access for Air Force pilots when they have their flight helmets on. I wear these as my daily drivers, both casually and formally. And they’re extremely affordable with being around $50 on Amazon or eBay.
Worn by alpha guys like astronauts and Don Draper. Interesting note, Jon Hamm is wearing Randolph Engineering, but according to the time period, the military issued American Optical glasses. Go figure.
I like the American Optical version better since there is practically no difference between it and the Randolphs, except it’s….oh about $100 cheaper. Both made in USA, both having a tradgasmic history, both timeless. I love the gold frames because they look classy as hell with our kind of wardrobe. Gold frames, gold buttons on a blue blazer, and a gold accented tank watch. It’s the small details, man
2) Persol 2803 Polarized. What I love about Persol is that it is relatively undiscovered, yet incredibly vogue. You’ve undoubtedly seen our heros Steve McQueen and James Bond in their Persols.
What I like about the Italian company (“per il sole” meaning “for the sun”) is that they stay true to their product with their top quality and bold aesthetics. And they feel no need to attention-whore the frames with gaudy logos like what less-than-favorite Ray-Ban and the others have done. You can tell a Persol frame by the silver supreme arrow, used to distinguish Persol frames as a functional and decorative detail for over 50 years. No need to splash PERSOL on the sides of your frames when you have a birthright of international recognition and elegance. I wear my Persols usually for special occasion, but they work well for daily use too.
3) Ray Ban 3267. This isn’t even fair to advertise, because I found these sunglasses on the beach. Paid nothing for them 🙂 I wear them occasionally, but like I hinted above, I’m not a fan of how Ray Ban has over exposed themselves. I still like the classy frames such as the Clubmaster, but they should only be worn by guys who are in their wiser years, and not by Hollywood trend abusers. I’ll invest in a pair when I’m thinking about retirement, but until then, keep away from the ultra-vintage frames. Ironic, because you’d think I’d praise that kind of mentality on this kind of fashion blog. There’s just a big difference between looking smart and nouveau, and looking ironic as an Urban Outfitters hipster.
From my Sewanee post. Golf hat, croakies, and wayfarers on graduation day. Just so wrong.
Bowtie, clubmasters, and greying whiskers. Beautiful. (forget the geek watch for a moment)
4) I advise athletic frames, however non-tradly they are, because you are a 20-something on the move and enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, or whatever physical activity pleases you. I have my Bolle Anaconda, but if I had to do it all over again then I’d go with my fratbrah intuition and buy some Costa Del Mars with its famous rainbow colored lenses. Costas are synonymous with boating culture, so they’re obviously a favorite amongst the Guy Harvey-wearing “Salt Life” southern states crew. Even though I don’t boat or fish myself, I’d use the Del Mars for their intended purpose as a good pair of polarized sports shades. Course there isn’t wrong with the surfer fave Oakley either. Just they’re not as cultivated by the fratdaddies in the south as Del Mars.
Get it braeh braaeeeeh
Just do us all a favor and keep your athletic shades worn for athletic events. I cringe at the above for example- one of the many things I don’t enjoy about frat culture. Wear your Aviators or Persols with your cotton button downs and save your plastic frames for your synthetic gym attire. Got that, Dwight?
What about croakies? If you’re still young then it’s an option. Otherwise, don’t look like a fool and opt to store your shades in your chest pocket instead hanging off your neck like your deflated middle aged ego.
Edit 10/3/14: My newest sunglasses, the Persol 714 “SM” (Steve McQueen) Limited Edition. Editorial posting found here.