Top sunglasses trends for men 2020
From retro hipster to sporty chic, the latest men’s sunglasses offer endless options for a guy to block the sun and express himself at the same time. Whether you’re dressed for work or play, a good pair of shades can be the ultimate finishing touch.
If there’s one primary theme running through men’s sunglasses right now, it’s nostalgia. From the classic WWII aviator to the trippy ’70s, designers are finding endless ways to re-spin 20th-century cool.
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1. Colorful sunglass lens tints
Color is getting increasingly playful in men’s sunglasses, especially sports shades.
When you’re having fun in the sun, you can throw caution to the wind and go for vivid hues. Those tints serve a function, after all.
Dark turquoise enhances contrast in intense light without distortion, and yellow lenses optimize object definition. Both are popular with pilots, boaters, hunters and skiers.
But you sporty types also need shades that will stand up to wind, sand and salt water while providing crystal-clear clarity.
Prepare to pay a little more for prescription sunglasses with A-1 durability and optics. Maui Jim recently added vivid blue and green lenses to their polarized rectangular sunglasses, convincing even long-term wearers to pick up a new pair.
Costa’s 580 lenses, in particular, are known for clarity, durability on water and shore, and resistance to fog.
2. Classic aviators
The aviator is back in a big way in every imaginable form, color and material.
Originally invented to replace goggles for WWII fliers, the original aviator had lighter-weight polarized lenses and a double or triple bridge known as the ″bullet hole.”
You can go full-on retro fighter pilot with a classic aviator, like Good Vibrations with the familiar smoky teardrop lens in silver wire frames.
3. Funky aviator
Or you can tap into the funkier variations on the aviator theme.
Enzo and Miami Vice add that top bar to their retro round hipster shades to inject some macho into the hipster nerdiness.
Giorgio Armani offers a lux version of this look, with a floating inner rim in contrasting metal and the option of yellow lenses.
For a more angular geometry, the Sun Eight has the flat lens and top bar of vintage aviators but with an out-of-the-box hexagonal shape that will get you noticed. So will Prada’s elongated triangular cat-eye shades, an aviator spotted on trend-setting Colombian reggaetón musician J. Balvin.
SEE RELATED: Are Prada sunglasses and other brand-name shades worth the investment? 4. Sporty horizontal wraparound
A look made famous by Peter Fonda, the Harley-riding rebel of the 1969 indie classic “Easy Rider,” the face-hugging curve of elongated oval lenses are still the perfect shades for cruising on an open road.
For full-on vintage cool, try the Ray-Ban Olympian with signature gold wire frame and elongated top bar. Or go with darker frames that just hint at your inner Hell’s Angel.
If you’re going for a more polished finish, the Ray-Ban Predator will give you the smoldering panache of the “Men in Black,” perfect for battling aliens without wrinkling your perfectly tailored suit.
SEE RELATED: The history and allure of vintage sunglasses
Should magnetic clip-ons even be called clip-ons? The best clip-ons are perfectly integrated with the eyewear frame.
Unlike the clunky versions that literally clip onto or flip up from readers, magnetic clip-ons offer a sleek way to transform prescription eyewear into sun blockers.
Takumi makes a streamlined rectangular version with magnetic clip-on lenses custom designed to pick up the accents in the funky arms. Once transformed into sunglasses, no one will ever guess they’re prescription.
6. Retro round sunglasses
No doubt, men’s shades are trending rounder and smaller, not a look every guy can pull off.
One way to zero in on the style that rounds you out is to ask yourself: Which era do you wish you were born into? If it’s mid-century Greenwich Village, look for the style favored by Elijah Wood and Ryan Gosling.
Both these guys are masters of the coffeehouse hipster street style. Honey-gold frames with contrasting green or smoky blue-gray lenses draw attention to the roundness of the lens.
Persol has them in tortoiseshell with green or slate blue lenses. Giorgio Armani has a funkier retro round with yellow or brown lenses in brushed metal frames rimmed with a contrasting color.
7. ’70s round lenses
If you see yourself more as a laid-back, slightly eccentric British rocker, c. 1970s, you may prefer the small round wire frames John Lennon made famous.
If you don’t require magnification for reading, the Grasp is almost a perfect replica of those.
8. Wraparound single lens sunglasses
If U2 is more your style, the wraparound single lens Bono has favored since the ’90s is back as well.
9. Pilot shades
Pilot shades like the colorful ones Zendaya designed for Tommy Hilfiger are hot again.
Dolce & Gabbana gives the pilot a geometric edge with the familiar teardrop lenses in black frames with vivid orange detailing.
If you want to go full-out Terminator, opt for the current version of the Gargoyles Arnold Schwarzenegger wore in that film. The Shifter comes with a clip-on version of this uni-lens so you can go from clear to smoky in the same metallic frame.
10. Mirror coatings
Mirrored coatings are making a comeback and not just for guys who want to hide from the paparazzi.
Dolce & Gabbana are among the designers offering the option of mirror coatings. Mirror coatings deflect light and halt the scattering of UV rays within the lens. Make sure they’re scratch resistant because cheap coatings don’t last long.
Some opticians are getting creative, at customer request, adding mirror coatings in different intensities and colors. In addition to an added layer of protection from glare, mirror coatings — from lavender to rose gold to black — add a bit of funk to otherwise ordinary shades. It’s all up to you.
Ready to shop for sunglasses?
Summer is peak season for sunglasses, but shades protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays year-round. Why not save your sight in style?
GET SUNGLASSES TO SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE. Find an optical store near you and start shopping.
Page published in September 2019
Page updated in October 2021