Like a preferred cut of steak, thermostat status, or fit of trouser, your go-to pair of sunglasses is a personal choice, one you’ve settled on following endless months, perhaps even years, of experimenting with various shapes, tints and brands.
We’d also make a wager that you’ve opted to invest in a heritage piece, perhaps a pair of Persols or Moscots, that’ll work in most sun-soaked destinations and occasions, from the bays of Portofino to the Dune of Pilat. Indeed, as backers of timeless, classic style, such a sartorial move is one we’re always inclined to applaud, the way in which we consistently wax lyrical about the virtues of a good pair of unembellished white sneakers, leather shoes and well-made weekend bags.
However, that’s not to say we aren’t opposed to changing up a look on the odd occasion, whether that’s adding a subtle hit of flair with a colourful pocket square, or adding a few summer-friendly pastel shades into our T-shirt department. Similarly, we’d argue, sunglasses are one of the easiest (and lowest risk) ways of experimenting with how you dress – an accessory to easily slip on and off, as and when the mood dictates.
So, if you feel like adding a new dimension to your summer ensemble, but need a little direction on where to look, here are the frames that have caught our eye this season.
To keep things on the safe side…
Although marketed as a tortoiseshell design, TBD Eyewear’s ‘Donegal’ errs more on the side of a blocky hazelnut-amber hue, with any darker spots or blotches of pattern minimised. As a result, the rich-toned shades seem to glow from within and are beautifully offset by the dark bottle-green lenses. Moreover, the shape sits somewhere between rounded and squared, an ambiguity that simply adds to the appeal.
Wear with: If you want full focus on the glasses, then tone down the rest of your outfit. A knitted polo, in shades of navy or grey, should do the trick.
TBD Eyewear Donegal - Classic Tortoise/Bottle Green
Add a splash of summer-sun colour...
So nice we featured it twice. The ‘Donegal’ lightweight acetate frames also come in a brighter, more vibrant shade of honey, all beautifully handcrafted in Italy. Again, the vivid colour is complemented by a darker lens, and although the aesthetic feels joyful, it’s sophisticated, too, as gimmicky shapes (stars, oversized, overstretched) are eschewed in favour of robust, clean, and pared-back lines.
Wear with: Double down on the bright palette and consider a mustard- or amber-coloured T-shirt; but to keep things on the right side of colourful, draw it all in with some dark-blue shorts.
TBD Eyewear Donegal - Honey/Bottle Green
For something more lightweight…
For those with more square-shaped faces, consider this rounded pair by London-based Monc Eyewear, perhaps the breeziest, most carefree item in this edit. Its light-apricot shade speaks of gentle, hazy sunlight found somewhere in southern Europe, the tint of the lens evokes images of the dark, cool water beneath a clifftop, and the streamlined shape simply underlines it as a lightweight, throw-on-throw-off accessory. Better still, they’re produced in small batches, and the maker sources its materials as close to home as possible.
Wear with: Something equally carefree – perhaps a sky-blue camp collar shirt – and make sure to carry it (and your other beach-day accessories) in a light canvas tote.
Monc Eyewear Kallio Sunglasses – Apricot
If you’re looking for a playful (yet versatile) frame…
The Príncipe sunglasses are as lively and fashionable as the colourful Lisbon neighbourhood after which they are named. That they have a translucency about them adds a futuristic feel, and because they’re not designed in a strong, bold, block colour means that they don’t attract too much attention, making them a subtle, wearable piece. Moreover, they’re given an additional playful twist as the thin bottom-half of the frame is counterbalanced by a heavy browline.
Wear with: For the full coastline look, pair these with some patterned swim shorts in an oceanic shade, and slip on a button-down afterwards for a sundowner.
Monc Príncipe Sunglasses – Matt Azure / Green
A pair with leading-man appeal…
If you’re leaning towards something with more of a traditionally masculine feel, try the 'Otis' on for size, a pair by Oscar Deen that takes its cues from vintage frames. This particular design brings to mind Steve McQueen’s shades in The Thomas Crown Affair, with its strong, straight arch and rounded lenses.
Wear with: A Hollywood-worthy suit that Mr Crown would approve of (but make sure they’re in heat-friendly materials, such as linen or seersucker).
Oscar Deen Otis - Havana
For an opulent flourish…
Finally, if you’re still deciding on a colour to add to your eyewear department, why not opt for the most regal option of all: champagne. This design, of course, takes its colour cues from the famous French fizz, but its shape, the 'crown panto', a rounded lens with high temples, also has its roots firmly in early-20th-century Gallic culture. Again, its transparent nature provides a youthful, playful appearance that helps tone down any over-the-top decadence, and the case in which it arrives is handmade from two pieces of recycled composite leather.
Wear with: Ralph Lauren boat shoes and a fine-knit draped over your shoulders, for whenever you’re sailing into Monaco.
Oscar Deen Pinto - Champagne
Need more advice for the coming months? When summer arrives, here are the grooming essentials you’ll need to nourish your sun-toned complexion…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.