With summer now in full swing, it’s prime time to invest in a new pair of sunglasses. Whether they’re for an upcoming seaside jaunt or for strolling around your chosen metropolis, sunglasses are a warm weather essential. This season, you’re spoiled for choice: From oversized aviators hand-carved in England to delicate metal frames that will add a fine accent to your facial features, here are some of the very best to add to your collection.
Ahlem Grenelle Sunglasses
Launched in 2014 by the Paris-born, Los Angeles-based designer Ahlem Manai-Platt, Ahlem is one of the most exciting makers in the eyewear market today. She adheres to a strict vision of first-rate craftsmanship and pure, Bauhaus-inflected designs. The Grenelle model is a fine example of this: a round frame with squared-off details that catch the light beautifully, flanked by temples that have been bevelled on either side.
Loro Piana Open Aviator Sunglasses
Loro Piana is a master of relaxed elegance, and that’s particularly evident in these sunglasses. Aviator-shaped shades have been a classic for almost 90 years, since the US military introduced them to its airmen in 1935, and over the years they’ve been gently refined and elevated to the realm of discreet luxury. Handmade in Japan using titanium frames, this pair’s softly squared green lenses nod towards the style’s heritage. That said, they’ll be better suited on the beach than at 30,000 feet.
Jacques Marie Mage Taos Sunglasses
The late Dennis Hopper, who starred in and directed the seminal film Easy Rider in 1969, was remarkable not only for his acting abilities but for his innate sense of cool. So, when Jacques Marie Mage, the LA-based cult eyewear brand, honors him with a pair of frames, you can expect they’re going to be good. Made in Japan in limited quantities, the Taos (named for the New Mexico city where Hopper lived and was buried) has a 60s spirit and is carved by hand from thick 10mm acetate and features gold detailing on the fronts and temples.
Persol PO3292S Sunglasses
Persol’s PO3292S is one of the iconic eyewear brand’s most under the radar models. So, if you’re a fan of the brand and have already a few pairs, these should be next on your list. With a masculine profile, square frame and keyhole bridge, they’re slightly oversized and will therefore help you make a statement if that’s what you’re going for. Like all Persol frames, these are made in Italy and feature the brand’s signature silver arrow on the temples, which is inspired by the swords of ancient Chinese warriors.
Cartier Eyewear Première de Cartier Sunglasses
As you’d expect from the French jewelry maison, Cartier’s sophisticated eyewear is crafted with precious materials (which explains the steep price). The finely brushed metal frame is accented black enamel inlays (the same kind used for the brand’s signature panther jewels), gently elevating the classic, round-shaped sunglasses into a deeply luxe accessory. In other words, an extremely refined fashion flex.
Drake’s Jules Sunglasses
The British haberdasher tapped a small team of artisans in northern Italy to craft its latest eyewear range. Drake’s has given these timeless frames a somewhat eccentric personality thanks to the curvaceous shape and ombré blue lenses—just the thing for upping on the ante on your beach bum uniform.
Saint Laurent Square-Frame Tortoiseshell Sunglasses
Saint Laurent befittingly lends traditional D-frame shades a sleek and considered profile with slender acetate temples and fronts. Made in Italy using premium tortoiseshell acetate, they have a rounded nose bridge that’s comfortable for all face types and a drop-down brow line. Easy to wear and perennially stylish, they’ll look fresh this summer and for many more to come.
Julius Tart Optical AR Sunglasses
French retailer Beige Habilleur has a knack for uncovering lesser-known brands and manufacturers the world ought to know about, and Julius Tart Optical is one of them. The brand is a new vision of Tart Optical Enterprise, which was a prestigious eyewear firm in the 1950s. Here, we have the AR frame (of which Johnny Depp is known to be fond, made in Japan using thick cellulose acetate in a champagne-pink hue—a perfect, unexpected neutral for summer.
Kirk Originals x David Coggins The Optimist Sunglasses
Made in collaboration with noted menswear author David Coggins, these Kirk Originals frames celebrate Coggins’ love for fly fishing. The style is a classic aviator shape with enhanced proportions and details, such as an infilled bridge, enhanced top bar, a flared detail to the nose and faded brown polarized lenses. Sporty with just right dose of 70s swagger, they’ll make a rakish statement whether worn with a tee and trunks or a linen suit.
The Real McCoy’s for the Armoury USS Celluloid Frame
This season, classic menswear purveyor the Armoury has partnered with the Real McCoys to produce two frames made from celluloid, which was the material of choice before acetate came along in the 1970s. Today, it’s a relatively rare material to find a pair of celluloid shades, despite the fact that it’s considerably sturdier and yields a luxuriously glossy finish when polished. This pair references styles worn in the 1950s, updated with a striking combination of black celluloid and green lenses.