6 Pairs of Affordable Sunglasses We'll Be Wearing This Summer
Summer is looking bright.
I’m not a man of myriad accessories: watch, wedding ring, out the door. But on a beaming spring day, nothing cuts the glare and ties together an outfit quite like a pair of shades. And spring is here.
Sunglasses are one of the few accessories that strike the perfect balance between form and function. They block the UV from damaging your eyes AND they just look so damn cool, whether perched on your nose or hung from the second button of your henley.
If you’re one of those guys who thinks Ok, but I never look good in sunglasses, don’t fret: They come in countless styles, shapes and color combinations. Maybe you just haven’t found the right pair, and despite what those Esquire editors would have you believe, you don’t have to drop $300 to get a decent pair of shades. Here are a few picks worth checking out this spring.
Carfia Round Polarized, $23
These round specs from Carfia are not only made from flexible acetate (which is a nylon-based plastic that’s less prone to breakage than standard plastic), they’re also polarized. Polarized lenses reduce glare from reflective surfaces, giving you better clarity of vision and making those radiant days a little easier on the eyes. Until recently, polarized lenses were reserved for high-end sunglasses, but as the technology has become more efficient, polarization has opened up to a wider budget range.
This pair has an emblem reminiscent of Persol (but without the Persol price tag) and a tortoise shell pattern around only the bottom half of the frame gives them a high-end designer feel. The tortoise shell gives the specs a dose of classic (because tortoise shell never goes out of style) and a 365 day warranty makes these budget shades a low-risk summer buy.
Le Specs No Biggie, $59
The bitchin’ thing about a clear frame is that it literally matches everything. The No Biggie clear sunglasses from Le Specs look just as sharp with a long-sleeve t-shirt and shorts as they do with a blazer and a pair of chinos (and will look perfect with all those summer events rocking garden casual).
Because the frames aren’t completely round and aren’t completely square, they’ll pair well with rectangular or ovular facial structures. The clear frame brings a fresh modernity to your spring look, and at $59, you don’t need to baby them.
MVMT Hyde, $63
MVMT was founded in 2013 with the goal of making fashionable and affordable accessories: watches, sunglasses, jewelry, you get the idea. In 2018 the company was bought by Movado. Being financially backed by a company as profitable as Movado means MVMT is able to keep their prices reasonable and keep their products high quality.
The Hyde by MVMT has a metal-core frame and a classic round shape (which will lend itself to ovular or triangular facial structures). The pattern is tortoise but with shades of black and gray instead of tans and browns, giving a more subtle in-the-details style. And they don’t just look damn good; they’re polarized as well.
Ray-Ban Rb4306 Hexagonal, $144
You can’t create a list of fresh sunglasses without throwing in a pair of Ray-Bans. At $144, these aren’t exactly cheap (though they’re pretty reasonable for Ray-Bans). These hexagonal sunglasses add angles to an otherwise traditional shape. The Havana and dark brown combination is an old-school tortoise that will complement just about any skin tone (let alone any outfit).
These frames are a little are the larger side, but don’t let that intimidate you. Sometimes a larger frame makes a bold statement.
Carfia Polarized Sunglasses, $22
If you’re like me, you’re chomping at the bit for the release of No Time to Die because you watch the newest Bond movies closely to see the latest trends and smokin’ slick suits (you also imagine yourself as Bond in all the fight scenes. No? Just me?). Anyway, Bond is rockin’ some sleek onyx Barton Perreira frames in No Time to Die, but we’re not too keen on the $440 price tag.
This pair from Carfia has the same shape details, deep black color (in an acetate that won’t fade over time), and subtle silver accents on the front and side to give them a little pop. These are easily the most versatile sunglasses on the list simply by virtue of the fact that they’re all black. Wear them with a t-shirt and shorts or wear them with a suit to a summer wedding (hoping people can have summer weddings this year).
Our budget alt for the No Time to Die sunglasses James Bond’s New Sunglasses in “No Time to Die” + Affordable Alternatives
AJ Morgan Castro Round, $13
We’ve written about these sunglasses from A.J. Morgan a few times, and this won’t be the last. Tortoise frame, metal arms and bridge. Oh, and they’re $13. It’s hard to beat a pair of sunglasses that offer classic but contemporary style with a spring hinge at this price point. If you’re the kind of guy who uses, abuses, and loses his sunglasses often, these are the cheap shades for you. And if your partner decides to confiscate them (like my wife who somehow now owns all of my sunglasses and my hoodies), just get yourself another pair. Looking for a similar style with higher quality? Check out the Persol Panto.