Men’s eyeglasses: 10 trends in fashion, style
If you wear eyeglasses, making them work for you has never been easier. Technical improvements have added new levels of comfort and durability, but the sky is the limit when it comes to style.
View your specs as your finishing touch, your most important accessory. After all, your glasses are what people see first when they look into your eyes.
Here are 10 trends we’re seeing right now to complete your look and get you noticed in the best way:
1. Basic black (horn rims)
This is the eyewear style Jay-Z, Kit Harington and Colin Firth all favor: thick dark frames worn with black ensembles. It’s a look that says smart and confident.
2. Beige is back (unisex glasses)
Sometimes called “sand” or “honey” or “wheat,” shades of beige are popping up a lot in men’s designer eyewear, from brushed beige metals like the latest collection by Shaquille O’Neal to flesh-toned acetates.
The new Modo 6620 has a transparent beige acetate that reveals the sleek cut of stainless frames beneath. These unisex glasses come in several colors but if you go with beige, you’ll find the warm color with gold undertones flatters most complexions.
3. Tortoiseshell frames
Nobody has done more than Ryan Gosling to put tortoiseshell back on the hipster map. Gosling goes for a rounder lens in a narrow frame, with flecks of amber that highlight his sandy hair and the red tones in his beard.
Maybe Gosling was inspired by the pair Gregory Peck wore in "To Kill a Mockingbird" in 1962. Persol makes a version with a tortoiseshell acetate frame that looks remarkably like those — just the kind Gosling favors.
4. Feather-light glasses
Many men who wear specs all day are looking for comfort above all else. Technological advances offer new ways to take off the weight without sacrificing style or durability.
If you want modern lines and lots of color choices, Modo specializes in paper-thin acetate and frames that deliver visual punch without weighing you down.
If you prefer metal, Ray-Bans get high marks for comfort as well as compliments. The OVVO 2880 weighs in at a mere 0.6 ounce with frames of fused surgical steel and titanium tapering to almost wire at the bottom, available in graphite with a flash of tangerine inside the arms.
5. Clear frames
A subtle way to get shape and style without the distraction of color, clear frames offer a fresh spin on classic styles.
Oakley pairs clear frames with black arms for a subtle attention grabber that works well for evening and weekend.
The white transparent version of Ray-Ban’s popular Clubmaster gives you that bold 1950s brow-line frame and then erases it: there, not there.
Darker versions of this frame cut a vivid line across the browbone, dividing your face, but the clear frames have a more subtle effect, making this style accessible to round and square faces as well as oval.
SEE RELATED: A helpful guide to men’s glasses
6. Classic brow-line
Brow-line frames have taken off again, appearing in classic black and tortoiseshell as well as patterned metals and paler shades.
One of the eyewear styles British musician and trendsetter Zayn Malik is known for, brow-line glasses look great with dark hair and features.
First worn in the 1950s, brow-line frames cut a dark curved swath across the browbone, extended at the temples with just a thin, invisible wire holding the lens in place.
This look gives glasses that mid-century, masculine-intellectual edge. Think Arthur Miller.
7. Eco-friendly specs
Millennials are driving the trend for sustainable specs. ECO frames, in particular, are known for their innovative earth-friendly construction.
ECO frames are certified by the USDA, using recycled stainless steel for metal and 63% renewable vegetable castor seed oil for their plastic. What’s more, you can buy these knowing a tree is planted for every frame sold.
With playful colors and styles, ECO is just one brand appealing to millennials, 75% of whom will alter their buying habits with the environment in mind, according to Nielsen studies. In contrast, only 34% of baby boomers would switch brands to help save the planet.
8. Retro round frames
Round frames have a retro-cool, swing-era vibe.
Giorgio Armani takes the rimless round frames Glenn Miller famously wore and adds a gunmetal bridge and arms that fade to gray. Burberry gives them a slight cat’s eye angle.
If you want to go back even further and evoke the Jazz Age cool of 1920s Paris or Harlem, opt for simple gold wire frames with the bar on top and an option to turn them into vintage-style sunglasses.
Oakley gives those round frames an industrial-modern spin with black or pale gold titanium, hinged arms and a brushed-metal detail at the temples.
Flip the brow-line frame, cross it with retro rounds, and what do you get? A half-frame with the plastic on the bottom, no frame on the top — one bold line under each eye and across the nose.
One benefit of a half-round plastic frame is no visual obstruction when you peer over the top. Bottom rounds come in whimsical colors. If you have to wear readers, these will make you feel young instead of old.
9. Boxy wire frames
If you have a round face and features, the new boxy wire frames may suit you better. This style offers all the retro-bookish vibe with a more flattering geometry.
Take, for instance, the Ray-Ban Square: a perfect example of simple boxy wire frames. Offered in silver and gold, the almost symmetrically square lenses are softened by the slightest curves.
10. Whimsical arms
Even the neutral-colored classic eyewear styles are offering variations with a touch of crazy color on the arms. Musician J Balvin added tie-dye details to the arms of the one-lens cutout frames he designed for Guess.
A sophisticated but cheeky spin: The brow-line Burberry BE2273 has somber gray proportionate arms that morph to black and white stripes where the arm bends around the ear, then mustard with a tiny red stripe behind the ear.
If you prefer to keep your whimsy a bit of a secret, Ray-Ban offers 10 versions of its old-style horn rims with bold colors and patterns inside the arms.
How to pick the perfect pair of glasses
Are boxy wire frames where you’re leaning? Or would you prefer basic black horn rims? Check our article on the best eyeglasses for your face shape and then try on a pair — or a dozen — in-store or online.
Only you know what glasses are perfect for you, and you’ll know what's right when you see it.
Page updated February 2021