In Person: Brooks Brothers Sunglasses

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Brooks Brothers Metal Navigator (black) & Metal Aviator (brown) – $95.00

Available through Nordstrom which offers free shipping & free returns.  Pretty key when buying sunglasses online.

For those with the shortest of attention spans, here’s the condensed version of what you’ll read below:

Style: A
Construction: C

There’s not a lot of great looking options in the world of under $100 sunglasses.  There’s some, but most are only good looking.  Not great.  These are great, and they merge classic, timeless shapes with a few really well done unexpected details.  Such as…

The Golden Fleece logo in silver at the ends of the ear pieces.

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Tie stripe detail on the Metal Navigators

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Tortoise top bar on the Metal Aviators isn’t too bulky in the least

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The Golden Fleece also makes an appearance on the nose pads.

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A nice case never hurts either.

As far as how they’re made, they don’t have as solid of a feel to them as you’d expect.  A wire rimmed Ray-Ban, like say, the Caravan, feels noticeably better in your hands.  These are closer to Cole Haan when it comes to the weight and feel of the frames and lenses.  The nose pads, as slick as they are with the BB logo, also rattle around a bit.  Yes they’re made in China, no they’re not hunks of junk, but at the same time don’t expect them to be bulletproof.

And then there’s the size…  Or lack thereof.  Brooks Brothers is synonymous with classic, American Male style.  But these frames are so narrow that you’d think the majority of their clientele couldn’t wear them.  When compared to the standard 55mm Ray Ban New Wayfarer (center below), they’re noticeably on the trim side:

Shot taken from as directly above as possible.  Both were too small for my face, which the Ray-Bans fit perfectly.

If standard 55mm New Wayfarers fit your face great, and anything smaller would be too small, then these won’t work.  The width of the lenses are 55mm on each of the three pairs seen above, but on the two from Brooks Brothers the frames are so thin, or the lenses are positioned so close, that they’re best for smaller guys or those with narrow faces.

From outer edge to outer edge of the lenses (where the arms meet the lens), the black navigator was about 132 mm.  The brown tortoise aviator was a smaller 130mm.  The New Wayfarers were more like 135 – 136mm.  That makes a big difference, because if you’re showing a bunch of face skin poking out from around the sides of your sunglasses, it’ll look like your mug is swallowing a pair of specs too small for your face.

The Bottom Line:

They’re lookers that fit on the small side.  And $95 ain’t peanuts.  But for some, the style points might make up for the sorta “mneh” feel.  Be a little careful with them and they might become a favorite.  If you’re the type who beats up sunglasses and needs something ultra sturdy, these are probably going to be a mistake.