Best Men's Sunglasses of All Time: Sunglasses Legends

Sunglasses were seen before as a means to protect your eyes from sunlight. A high-quality pair of sunglasses made all the difference when going outside, ensuring you had a stress-free trip.

As the years passed, though, sunglasses started to get used as a fashion statement. These items' functionality was already great, but we learned how to adapt them to our outfits, giving us a "plus" that transformed our style for the better.

There are hundreds of sunglasses you can get today, from classic-style models to modern ones with round frames. Other models offer a timeless style that will fit your outfits regardless of how varied they are.

On this page, we'll cover the best sunglasses that have made an impact in the fashion industry. These have been a staple for many men for decades, and today, you'll learn what makes each one unique.

The Rise of Sunglasses as Fashion Icons: Pretavoir

Sunglasses have been around for a couple of thousand years. The earliest recorded use of something resembling sunglasses was by the Inuit, who created "sun goggles" to protect their eyes.

These primitive goggles were made from carved driftwood, caribou antler, or walrus ivory. As you may have guessed, these didn't do such a great job.

It wasn't until the 18th century that the first instance of "modern sunglasses" was invented. James Ayscough experimented with blue/green-tinted glass to improve eyesight issues. Then, in the 20th century, people with syphilis were prescribed yellow/brown-tinted glasses for protection.

Sunglasses started to be used by famous movie stars around the 1920s. Ironically, most didn't use them for fashion; instead, they wanted them to hide their identity or eyes. From that point on, companies started to mass-produce sunglasses.

Polarized lenses, which are known for being more protective, were made by Bausch and Lomb, which also created the "Ray Ban" brand. The company made the first "Aviator" sunglasses back in 1936, and by 1937, they started to get sold to the general public.

Fast forward a few years, and we have plenty of celebrities wearing iconic sunglasses. This led to more variety in models, frames, and more.

Let's look at some of the most iconic and stylish sunglasses for men!

Aviator Sunglasses - Ray-Ban 3025

What propelled the classic aviator style to success was its usage in popular movies. The aviators were used by:

  • Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986)

  • Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future (1985)

  • Angelina Jolie in Mr & Mrs. Smith (2005)

  • Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953)

  • Daniel Craig in Skyfall (2012)

  • Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver (1995)

  • Freddy Mercury

The most iconic usage of these sunglasses was in Top Gun. It tells the story of the fighter pilot "Maverick." Not many people know that aviators were primarily used for protection by military personnel, so the movie made their appeal more evident.

Of course, seeing these sunglasses being worn by other celebrities like Freddy Mercury made them even more popular.

Pretavoir's aviators resemble the ones worn by Tom Cruise, and you can pick from nine different colors, including orange lenses. The gold frame and unique shade colors will make your outfits pop.

Oliver Peoples Gregory Peck Sun - OV5217S

The "Oliver Peoples" Gregory Peck sunglasses have an interesting design. They feature rounded frames made out of metal or plastic, and they do a great job of mixing classic styles with modern ones.

Of course, the "Gregory Peck" model comes because of the person who showed them to the mainstream world: Gregory Peck in 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird." It's a coming-of-age drama crime film, and the main character, Atticus Finch, uses these glasses throughout the movie.

Oliver Peoples sunglasses have been worn by many celebrities and influential people over the years, and that's because of how versatile they are. Some of these people include:

  • Harrison Ford in The Age of Adaline (2015)

  • Larry David

  • Mauricio Umansky

  • Harry Styles

  • Brad Pitt

What makes these sunglasses unique is how mainstream they are among the general public. They've influenced many other models of glasses, so you may have seen similar ones after going out.

Pretavoir's OV5217S perfectly resembles the iconic model worn by Gregory Peck so many years ago.

Ray-Ban Wayfarer - 2140

The Ray-Ban Wayfarer is one of the most popular sunglasses on earth. They've been worn by top celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Kanye West, Bill Murray, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, and many more.

Some people argue that James Dean was responsible for making the Wayfarer style popular back in the 1950s alongside Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.

This unique model that often featured bold frames and colored lenses was almost discontinued in the 70s. However, a strategic product placement campaign made Wayfarers popular again, and they're still an icon in men's fashion today.

Ray-Ban Clubmaster - RB 3016

The Clubmasters are another model from Ray-Ban, and they're known for having a unique combination of modernity and classic styles. You can wear them either casually or formally.

Even though its design looks subtle, it's luxurious enough to make a few heads turn. Many people find the Clubmaster sunglasses versatile enough, which is great for those who want to stick with one type of pair.

Most Clubmaster designs feature 3D-gold or silver frames and black temples, giving the sunglasses a subtle hint of elegance.

Clubmaster's popularity has been influenced by stars. They made their first iconic appearance in Audrey Hepburn's "Breakfast in Tiffany's." After that, they've been used by many, including Robert Pattinson, Selena Gomez, David Beckham, and more.

Persol Steve McQueen - PO0714SM

Finally, we have the Persol Steve McQueen. Similar to the Gregory Peck sunglasses, these were made popular after Steve McQueen, a renowned actor from the 60s-70s used them. He has appeared in plenty of popular movies, including:

  • The Great Escape (1963)

  • The Magnificent Seven (1960)

  • Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

  • Papillon (1973)

More specifically, Steve was seen wearing Persol sunglasses in Thomas Crown Affair, as well as in his private life. When Persol celebrated its 100 years of founding, it released a special edition of the sunglasses, which were named "Steve McQueen."

The Persol sunglasses from Pretavoir feature a full-rim, acetate frame. As for the shape, it resembles the one you see in classic aviators. Like the model worn by Steve, the 714SM also has the three-notch bridge design that makes these sunglasses so iconic.

Discover Our Collection Inspired by the Classics

At Banton Frameworks, we believe in putting a modern spin on mainstream sunglasses. This ensures you keep your style fresh without getting away from such iconic designs.

Learn more about our collection, which is inspired by these timeless designs!

Gregory Peck Sun - Linea G Hazelnut TRT

Looking for a modern spin on the Gregory Peck sunglasses? Look no further than the Linea G Hazelnut (Tortoise Sun).

The rounded shape of these sunglasses makes them ideal for those with square-, pear-, and heart-shaped faces. Also, they're made of acetate, one of the most flexible and lightweight materials you can find for sunglasses. Our model weighs roughly 36 grams.

Expect a gloss, hand-polished finish for the frame, ensuring it looks perfect from every angle. Also, you can choose from brown, gray, and green lenses. If you want, you can add an anti-glare and anti-scratch coating to them for more durability.

Ray-Ban Wayfarer - Linea L Graphite Gray

The Linea L Graphite Gray pays homage to the legendary Wayfarer style. They were made in Glasgow and are prescription-ready, so rest assured you can fit them without any problems.

Our team offers a pre-fit service for £25 off your total order, which is great if you want to get your sunglasses quickly.

Linea L sunglasses were traditionally hand riveted for a truly custom approach. Even though they heavily resemble the Wayfarers, they have a unique touch from our team that makes them even more modern and suitable for most occasions and outfits.

Since it has a black frame, you can play around with the lens color to make your sunglasses stand out. You get three different colors to choose from: Black, brown, and green.

Persol Steve McQueen - Linea AV Spiced Orange

Persols are one of the greatest options when it comes to fashionable men's eyewear, and we took the experience one step further with our Linea AV Spiced Orange.

If you're looking for something similar to what the legendary Steve McQueen wore, this might be the right option to consider. These are also amazing if you're looking for a resemblance to aviators.

Our Spiced Orange sunglasses are made from an acetate frame, a hand-polished finish, and reasonable space to fit your lenses. Furthermore, they feature anti-loosening German hinges and anti-warp metal temple cores, ensuring they stay in your face without any discomfort.

Customize your experience by choosing from four different lens colors. Also, you can add anti-glare and anti-scratch coating for added protection.

Ray-Ban Clubmaster - Linea J Midnight Vertigo

Take your outfit to the next level with our homage to the Clubmasters! Our Linea J Midnight Vertigo took the luxurious appeal of the Clubmasters and added a dual-tone gradient to the frame to make the glasses stand out.

These square sunglasses do a great job of keeping your style subtle yet unique regardless of the outfit you use with them. The Midnight Vertigo sunglasses feature all the special perks from the other models.

If you want to try your glasses before fitting the prescription, you can pick the "Lenses Later" option at checkout. We'll send demo lenses with the frame for you to try out the model. If you like it, we'll fit the lenses with your prescription.

Of course, if you don't want to take too long to use your sunglasses, you can pre-fit them with us for £25 off the total order.

How to Choose and Style These Iconic Sunglasses

Now that you know how these popular sunglasses revolutionized the world, it's time to get the perfect pair.

Learn how to choose and style your next sunglasses. Whether you get classic wayfarers or navigator sunglasses, these tips will help you decide.

Consider Your Face Shape, Skin Tone, and Personal Style

Did you know that your face shape influences how your sunglasses look? Here's an overview of which models could fit your face the best:

  • Round Shape - Rectangle, square, and shield-shaped glasses.

  • Square Shape - Aviators, round frames, and butterflies.

  • Oval Shape - This face shape suits most kinds of frames, so pick the one that covers your face from the eyebrows to the cheekbones.

  • Rectangle Shape - Wrap, square, shield, Wayfarer, and rectangle sunglasses.

  • Diamond Shape - Rimless and oval frames.

  • Heart Shape - Aviators, shield frames, butterflies, and rimless glasses.

As for the skin tone, you can pick the color of your frames/lenses depending on how warm/cool it is. Those with cooler skin tones, for example, will benefit from neutral colors like black or silver. Warmer tones, on the other hand, can go for other colors like brown, gold, or tortoiseshell.

Of course, don't forget about your taste. Your sunglasses should be an extension of your outfit and personality, so you must choose wisely.

There's plenty of customization available. In the case of the lenses, you can pick a polarized pair of sunglasses, grey lenses instead of orange ones, square lenses instead of round ones, or blue-light filters. There are many possibilities!

As for the frames, pick the ones that match both your face shape and goals. Make sure you always get durable frames.

Integrate Your Sunglasses with a Modern Wardrobe

These timeless sunglasses designs will fit most outfits, so picking the ideal one may get complicated.

Here are some tips on how you can incorporate these classic sunglasses styles with a modern wardrobe:

  • Aviators - You'll want to keep things casual with the aviators. Pick a T-shirt, jeans, and maybe a bomber jacket. These could also work with formal attire, but it will depend on the frame you get.

  • Oliver Peoples - These sunglasses are often associated with formal clothes. Semi-formal outfits also work in some cases, so you could try short-sleeved shirts and baggy pants.

  • Wayfarers - Wayfarers go with almost any kind of outfit, so there's nothing to worry about. We do recommend avoiding pairing them with business attire unless you're outside the office.

  • Clubmasters - Clubmasters work perfectly with formal clothes and country club outfits. These sunglasses have a "throwback vibe" that will make them fit many outfits, including business suits and blazers.

  • Persols - You can be "less formal" when using Persols. Even though they're perfect with formal attire, you can also pair them with flannel shirts and jeans. In this case, you get plenty of room for creativity.

Bottom Line

There you have it; the best men's sunglasses of all time.

You can pick among different styles of sunglasses today. Whether you're interested in shield sunglasses or other classic models, rest assured there's a good pair waiting for you.

All the iconic men's sunglasses mentioned on this page had a significant impact on both fashion and cultural history, so they served as the foundation for many of the popular trends you see today.

If you want to embrace the timeless style that these models offer, explore our collection of stylish sunglasses for men. Our most recent one pays homage to those legendary sunglasses by adding modern features and a few accessories that make the experience better.

What are your favorite classic styles? Let us know in a comment below! On the other hand, if you already have sunglasses from our collection, we'd love to hear your opinion about them.

Ltd edition eyewear. Released 6 times a year.