The Men’s Sunglasses Matrix

Good looking options mapped by dress to casual & modern to retro.

At the center of the Sunglasses universe lies the Ray-Ban New Wayfarer.  If you had to buy one pair of sunglasses, and wear them for the rest of your life everywhere, the Ray-Ban New Wayfarer wouldn’t let you down.  They are as well balanced as it gets.  Chart below is broken up into four quadrants.  X axis reflects how modern or retro the overall styling is, while the Y axis shows to what level the sunglasses can be easily dressed up.  As always, there will be exceptions (i.e. Steve McQueen’s 3-piece suit in The Thomas Crown Affair with the Persol Foldables.)
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From top left, moving down, then over:
The Bottom Line

In general, the more plastic = more casual.  Also, the bigger the lenses the more casual they’ll look.  Wire frames tend to look more dressed up, as long as they’re proportional to your facial features (think rule of 3rds).  The more exaggerated a retro detail gets, like chunky key-hole or sweat bar details, and the harder they’ll be to wear.

Plenty of expensive shades on that list.  Feel free to add affordable alternatives you’ve had success with in the comments below.  Agreements?  Disagreements?  Additions?  All welcome in the comments…