TOP MEN’S SUNGLASSES TRENDS FOR 2023
Men’s sunglasses prove that no matter how well you do something, you can always retool it slightly to make it different. You can take the boundaries and familiar shape of a frame and lenses to inject different colors, play with new coatings or surfaces, or enlarge the size just a bit. The adjustment, however, can do a 180 for the attitude. What initially gives off a classic cool vibe emerges as effervescent and playful. What reads as familiar suddenly seems brand new. And, in terms of shopping for yourself, what feels like it won’t work – commonly, round shapes and edges for similarly shaped faces – gets an uplift once all the corners are squared off. At least in the northern hemisphere, we’re seeing more sun-splashed days no matter what the actual temperature is outside. Whether you’re headed to a beach somewhere or just want to beat the glare as you go for a walk or drive, the following are on our radar for the spring/summer 2023 season.
We won’t call these oversized – that conjures up images of Paris Hilton-esque frames from the mid 2000s – but rather that men’s sunglasses are venturing away from the safer thin metal and medium-width acetate toward chunkier styles that resemble Kurt Cobain’s Christian Lacroix sunglasses back in the early 1990s. The effect amplifies the acetate construction no matter if you’re looking at something rounded, square, or even with a clubmaster horn-rimmed shape. Color plays a factor, too, either giving off an almost neon-light, you’ve-got-to-notice-me character or framing a pastel to bold-hued lens with a glass-like transparency or deliberate opaqueness.
The reality is, rounded frames, which maintain a strong presence in men’s eyewear, don’t look good on everyone. The club feels selective: Oval-shaped faces seem to never have an issue, while round frames soften angular, higher cheekbones and jaws. Yet, the style dubbed Lennon sunglasses due to the former Beatles member’s well-known frames also creates a widening effect for those with square- and round-shaped faces. Beyond this more pop culture-specific style, the same pattern emerges with aviators – more teardrop-shaped – and even clubmasters. The opposite occurs when you don a set of wayfarers, even with rounded edges. As more become attuned to what looks good on them, versus the “That looks good – let me buy it!” mentality, square frames aren’t just experiencing a resurgence. Instead, they’re almost cartoonish at this point – perhaps as a nod to, chronologically expected, hipster glasses from the 2000s. In turn, angles are everywhere, with thicker construction deliberately highlighting each sharp corner.
Colored Lenses and Frames
While a classic, well-constructed pair of sunglasses can last decades, the black, tortoise, or gun metal pickings become dull. We know what to expect, no matter the manufacturer or season. Starting roughly last year – and maybe in response to increasing travel as communities lifted pandemic restrictions – eyewear began to resemble a bag of Jolly Rancher candies – clear and artificially colorful. You’d spot see-through frames alongside blue or pink lenses, bold oranges framing golds, and black taking a back seat to a canary yellow that points the way toward your next vacation. Also, bold monochromes, similar to what we’re seeing in suiting, went the way of robin’s egg blues, greens, pinks, and oranges. To some extent, this is another 1990s trend revisited, nodding to obnoxious, coordinated boyband style. Likely in response to popularity, two subcategories have emerged. One, you’ll spot metallic colored sunglasses: Beyond gold, silver, and gun metal, various tints prove that any shade can resemble a glittering mirror reflecting its surroundings back at the world. Two, see-through acetate frames nod to a mix of ‘90s rave and psychedelic 1970s style.
Until recently, this trend was worn somewhat ironically, hinting at 1990s bro style. Or, it emerged strictly in active forms – like a trusty pair of Oakleys. Now, though, the surreal aspects of the ‘90s come through the frame – think silver tones, bug-eye lenses, and transparent crystal hues. Unlike athletic combinations, style-centric wraparounds run on the thinner side and play to the era’s rave and 1970s revival fashion through bright, playful colors alongside shimmering liquid-like metallics.
Men’s round sunglasses travel in two distinctive directions. One feels minimal – wire framed, gray or metal-lensed, and nothing more. Inject a bit of color, and suddenly, they resemble those sunglasses Woody Harrelson sported in Natural Born Killers. This trend continues as more of an edgy 1990s revival that’s far more practical yet just as period specific as those skinny Matrix sunglasses that are now suddenly everywhere. The second variety is more of a thicker, keyhole style with a pseudo-intellectual meets American Psycho character. The acetate sets the tone – generally rounded, except for a couple of corners around the temples – and tends to center around more classic rather than experimental colorways.
Despite the expansive spectrum of the 1990s, Y2K eyewear mimics a futuristic rave character, as if we’re all trapped in a 24/7 neon party that’s been spliced with an action film, like the Matrix or Blade. Most of the above elements merge in some form – the candy colors, the skinny, round, and wraparound forms – and feel ripe for whatever’s currently on the runways and in resort collections.